Dust Devil in Northeast Iowa

One of our KWWL viewers, Morgan LaRue, caught a photo of a dust devil just before 2 o’clock Sunday afternoon near Chickasaw, on the Chickasaw/Bremer County border.  Here is her description of what happened:

amberdust devilYes, it does look ominous, but these tend to occur in open spaces and rarely cause any damage.  Morgan tells us that the dust devil let up as it crossed the roadways, but then picked back up again in another field.

How did this happen?  We’ve had a very warm weekend, with temperatures in the upper 70s to lower 80s.  As we know, darker surfaces absorb more heat, so as the sun shined on the bare soil, the soil heated up quicker than the surrounding environment (just above the surface).  So, the air was forced to rise and swirls of wind picked up the dirt and caused the rotating column of dust you see in the picture above.

These are different from tornadoes, as tornadoes come from a funnel clouds, and are far more violent.  While this particular dust devil caused no damage or injury and many dust devils that occur generally don’t, that hasn’t been the case with others.




Posted under Miscellaneous, Photo

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on April 17, 2016

Daylight Saving Time

It’s time to “spring forward” one hour as we head into the spring and summer months.

Daylight_Saving_Standard_Digital_ClockOfficially, Daylight Saving Time occurs at 2 AM central time on Sunday, March 3rd.  So, before you head to bed you’ll want to set those clocks ahead one hour so you aren’t late to any planned activities Sunday morning.

Daylight Saving Time is also a good time to change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon-monoxide detectors.  If you own an NOAA Weather Radio, it’s recommended you also change the batteries as we will soon be entering the severe weather season.


So how did Daylight Saving Time begin?  It was introduced to the United States in 1918 as a way to save energy during the summer months, by having more daylight in the early evening hours.  It became more uniform in 1966 under the US Uniform Time Act of 1966.  Today, Daylight Saving Time begins on the second Sunday in March at 2 AM, and currently ends (changing the clocks back one hour) on the first Sunday in November at 2 AM.

Prior to 2007, Daylight Saving Time ran a bit shorter by a few weeks.  DST was changed due to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, where Congress extended Daylight Saving Time to help conserve even more energy.  Studies have shown that the extension has helped save energy by fractions of a percent.  Click here for more information.

Side note: The official start of spring is 7 days away.  It begins March 19th at 11:31 PM.

Days Until Spring






Posted under Miscellaneous

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on March 12, 2016

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ECMWF Has Gotten an Upgrade


Weather forecasting is always improving. There are constant upgrades to model guidance. The most recent upgrade is with the ECMWF model. Click on the image to get all the details.



Posted under Miscellaneous

This post was written by Schnack on March 10, 2016

Snow Tracking through Midwest

Snow is tracking through the Midwest this morning and bringing light to moderate snow from the Canadian border into Missouri. It is expected to bring moderate to heavy snow to areas south of the Great Lakes.

It looks pretty cool on the infrared satellite photo:

IR sat Valentines Day 2016

and you can see where the circulation is on the radar, too.

Radar Valentines Day 2016

This will continue to bring anywhere from 2 to 6 inches of fluffy snow to the KWWL viewing area throughout the day today. Winds will be gusty, too, and will blow that fluffy stuff around pretty easily. Give yourself extra time to reach your destination today in case of snow-covered roads and reduced visibilities.


Posted under Clouds, Miscellaneous, Winter Weather

This post was written by Eileen Loan on February 14, 2016

1 Minute Satellite

This is GOES-14 SRSOR imagery. It is a minute by minute update and when put in a loop it shows so much detail on what is going on. The visible image can only be used during the day. Once the sun sets, there is no longer any light to see the clouds/earth. The image below was captured this afternoon before sunset. You can see there were already some holes in the cloud cover.


If you want to see the updated loop, during the daylight hours, click here.



Posted under Miscellaneous

This post was written by Schnack on February 10, 2016

National Weatherperson’s Day

If you haven’t heard already, February 5th is National Weather Person’s Day.

john_jeffriesThis “holiday” is to commemorate the birth of John Jeffries in 1744.  Jeffries is said to be one of the first people to take weather observations beginning in 1774.  Twice daily, National Weather Service offices across the United States send up a weather balloon with a radiosonde that measure different weather parameters at different layers in the atmosphere.  Jeffries took the first weather balloon observation in 1784.

From the National Weather Service: “National Weatherperson’s Day was created to recognize the men and women who collectively provide Americans with the very best weather, water, and climate forecasts and warning services of any nation in the world.”

All of us with the KWWL Storm Track 7 weather team appreciate you tuning in for your eastern Iowa forecasts each and every day.



Posted under Miscellaneous, Weather History

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on February 5, 2016

Gulf of Mexico Moisture Source

At this point I don’t need to tell you that this storm has a lot of moisture in it. The moisture source is coming directly from the Gulf of Mexico. The two charts below show different weather parameters showing a very juicy storm. 2


The chart above is of Precipitable Water (PWAT). The values we are dealing with are more typical during the summer. The chart below shows climatology of PWAT at Davenport. The date is on the bottom and the PWAT values are on the left side. The dot on the right side shows you the value Sunday evening. Yes, it is way higher than normal for this time of year and way above the record for this date.


The chart below is the Davenport National Weather Service sounding. It shows a saturated atmosphere all the way. Temperature is represented by the red line and the green line is the dew point. When they are close together, like they are in the chart below, the atmosphere is saturated. The bottom of the chart is the surface.



Posted under Miscellaneous

This post was written by Schnack on December 13, 2015

Relentless Rain in the Northwest

Take a look at this satellite loop from the last seven days. You will see storm after storm after storm pounding the northwest US with heavy rain and snow.


The map below shows the rain estimate from the last 7 days. Some locations are up over 20″ of rain and the higher elevations are measuring the snow in feet.



Here is the snow depth as of Wednesday.




Posted under Miscellaneous

This post was written by Schnack on December 9, 2015

Mudslide in California Last Week

Click in the image below to see some up-close images of the wild mudslide in California last week.



Posted under Miscellaneous

This post was written by Schnack on October 19, 2015

Tuesday Evening

Here are a few screen captures from our Storm Track 7 Live Weather Network cameras. These were all taken about 20 minutes after sunset as the clouds were slowly clearing.
Weather Bug DBQ TH Hawkeye Comm. College Waterloo Cam Weather Bug TechWorks Temp


Posted under Miscellaneous

This post was written by Schnack on September 8, 2015