Now That is a Lot of Snow



Posted under Weather History

This post was written by Schnack on November 30, 2013

Early October Blizzard

This is a before and after photo on Main St. in Sturgis, SD. The blizzard brought a few feet of snow in a couple days.

Oct 8 Blizzard


Posted under Weather History

This post was written by Schnack on October 8, 2013

Earliest Snow of the Season

In September 24-26, 1942, a storm system brought rain and snow to Iowa.  This would also be the earliest snow for many locations. All of the snow reports for eastern Iowa were after midnight making the official earliest first snow September 26, 1942.
Waterloo: Trace
Dubuque: Trace
Cedar Rapids: 0.5″

The images below are the monthly reports that are filled out with the daily weather conditions. The first image is the official NWS site at Waterloo.
Click images to enlarge.

Sep 26 Snow ALO

The image below is from the river gauge site in Waterloo.

Sep 26 ALO River Report

The image below is for Cedar Rapids.

Sep 26 Snow CID

The image below is for Dubuque. This Dubuque report was at LD11 not at the Dubuque Airport.

Sep 26 DBQ Snow


The National Weather Service in Des Moines posted this in their weather history section about the storm.

On This Day in Iowa Weather History

September 25

1942: A powerful storm system brought a remarkable early snowfall to most of Iowa. Although the snow melted as it fell across most of the state many stations reported their earliest trace of snowfall on record, and in north central Iowa slightly cooler temperatures near the surface allowed the snow to accumulate to as much as 4.0 inches at Allison, Forest City, and Mason City. In portions of eastern Iowa the snow fell so rapidly that it accumulated faster than it could melt resulting in a brief 4.0 inch accumulation at Millerton. At many of the locations where measurable accumulations did occur the wet, heavy snow stuck to wires and trees that were still in full leaf. Many branches and trees were reported down around Centerville, Forest City, Mason City, and Millerton and telephone and electric services were disrupted around Estherville and Mason City. Two men from Calmar were killed on Highway 9 near Cresco when a tree fell in front of their truck. At Des Moines a trace of snow was reported at the airport on the 25th and 0.3 inches of snow was measured at the city office downtown, making this the earliest measurable snowfall on record in the city of Des Moines. In fact 1881, 1942, and 1985 are the only three years in which snow has ever been recorded at Des Moines in the month of September.

The National Weather Service in La Crosse posted this in their weather history section:

September 26 1942 Winona, MN (25, coldest September temperature). Also on this date, Caledonia, MN (5″) and Fayette, IA (1″), and La Crosse, WI (0.2″) had their earliest measurable snowfall. Snow fell in early morning, mostly melting as it fell.

Click on the image below for a more detailed look at this winter storm.

Sep 26 Snow Map


Posted under NOAA, Weather History, Winter Weather

This post was written by Schnack on September 26, 2013

This Day In Weather History…September 16

today-in-weather-historyFROM THE NWS
: Severe thunderstorms produced an F3 tornado that traveled across central Iowa from near Baxter through Grinnell killing 6 people and injuring 45 others. This was the last tornado to kill at least six people in Iowa until the Parkersburg storm of 2008. Many of the injuries and 4 of the fatalities occurred south of Grinnell at the Interstate 80 exit at Highway 146 where several businesses and vehicles were struck. The storms also produced large hail with stones as large as 3 inches in diameter falling around Waterloo and Cedar Falls.

1881: The earliest Iowa snowfall on record affected most of the western half of the state during the morning hours. September of 1881 was a wet month generally across the upper Midwest, and on the 15th a low pressure system moved northward over Chicago then turned west and stalled over Iowa on the 16th drawing unseasonably cool air into the state. As a result rain fell all day on the 15th then began to mix with snow at times across about the northwestern two thirds of Iowa on the morning of September 16th. At Sibley and Sac City the snow did not accumulate but observers indicated that “snow fell all day” and at Algona an estimated 4 inches of snow fell between about 8 and 11 am with another observer there noting that tree branches were broken by the weight of the snow, which all melted by noon. At Des Moines the Weather Bureau observer noted “few flakes of snow was observed 1.15 pm.” Snow was also reported at Sibley and Smithland in northwestern Iowa, at McGregor in the northeast, and in the south and southwest was observed as “quite heavy” at Creston while several inches of snowfall were noted between Des Moines and Atlantic and 4 to 6 inches were estimated between Stuart and Avoca in Pottawattamie County. This incredible storm marks the earliest date of the fall on which any snow has ever been reliably recorded in Iowa.


Posted under Weather History

This post was written by Schnack on September 16, 2013

June 10

TodayinWeatherHistoryFrom NWS
: Record flooding continued in northeastern Iowa with all-time record crests occurring on the West Fork Cedar River at Finchford, the Cedar River at Janesville, and the Shell Rock River at Shell Rock where the flow rate was nearly double the previous record. The three rivers merge shortly after passing these locations, so all three record crests arrived at about the same time sending an incredible volume of water down the Cedar River toward Waterloo and Cedar Rapids.

1933: Very hot weather sent the temperature soaring up to 109 F at Denison, setting the all-time state record for June. Other reported high temperatures included 107 F at Sioux City, 106 F at Guthrie Center and Pocahontas, 105 F at Carroll, and 102 F at Des Moines where the month would finish as the warmest June on record with an average temperature of 79.8 F.

1928: A very late freeze occurred at Decorah where the low temperature was 32 F. Other lows that morning included 34 F at Mason City, 36 F at Rock Rapids, and 38 F at Boone and Cedar Rapids. Frost was reported at scattered locations around the state.

1913: A strong cold front moved across Iowa on June 7th and ushered in several days and nights of unseasonably cool weather. Low temperatures on the morning of the 10th included 35 F at Alton, Earlham, Elkader, Fayette, and Washta and 33 F at Mason City. Frost was reported at several locations around the state but was light enough and of short enough duration that damage to crops and vegetation was minimal.

1905: Thunderstorms produced torrential rainfall across portions of southeastern Iowa on the night of June 9-10. The heaviest rain fell in Van Buren County where Stockport measured 10.63 inches, Keosauqua 11.23 inches, and Bonaparte 12.10 inches with about 11 inches of that total falling in less than eight hours. At least 89 county bridges were swept away in the ensuing flooding with widespread significant crop damage and soil erosion occurring throughout the area. One man was killed while trying to rescue his cattle during a flash flood.

1902: Severe thunderstorms struck areas of central and southeastern Iowa during the afternoon and evening hours. Near and just south of Marshalltown in Timber Creek Township observers reported that “hailstones as large as a man’s fist fell, covering the ground to the depth of eight inches. The stones went through the roofs of houses. Chickens and stock were killed, bark stripped from trees, nothing green left and the farmers completely ruined.” Significant straight line wind damage was reported further southeast at Ottumwa, Sigourney, and Mount Pleasant as the evening progressed. At Sigourney the canvas of a large circus tent was blown off and hundreds of people were left exposed to the elements. Between 50 and 60 people were “struck by poles and caught under the heavy canvas” with several seriously injured. At Mount Pleasant significant damage was done to the Henry County fairgrounds and there were widespread reports of houses unroofed, outbuildings flattened, and trees and telegraph and electric lines brought down across the area.

 This Day in National/World Weather History …
 10 June 1752 → Benjamin Franklin conducted his famous kite experiment when he flew a kite in the middle of a thunderstorm to determine the nature of lightning (though there is considerable debate on how the experiment was actually carried out). It is important to note that you should not try this at home — on average lightning kills dozens of people each year.
 10 June 1872 → When the precursor to the National Weather Service was signed into law on February 9, 1870, only the Gulf Coast, Atlantic Coast, and Great Lakes were included under its jurisdiction. Beginning today meteorological responsibilities were increased to cover the entire United States.
 10 June 1923 → Montana’s deadliest tornado, an F1, killed two men when a tree fell on them near Rivulet. The damage path was 12 miles long, though some portion of that may have been from straight-line winds.
 10 June 1938 → Clyde, TX suffered the effects of what was likely an F5 tornado. Several homes completely vanished. One family tried to escape the tornado by car, and inadvertently drove right into it when the twister made a sudden unexpected turn. Four of the six occupants of the car were killed. The two survivors were found half a mile away from the rest of the bodies.
 10 June 1957 → A dust devil at North Yarmouth, ME lifted a 800 pound chicken shelter into the air and carried it 25 feet. It landed upright with only slight damage.

Posted under Weather History

This post was written by Schnack on June 10, 2013

June 9

TodayinWeatherHistoryFrom NWS
: Record flooding continued across Iowa with all-time record crests occurring on the South Skunk River at Ames, the Upper Iowa River at Decorah and Dorchester, the Cedar River at Charles City, the Iowa River at Rowan, the Des Moines River at Stratford, and the Wapsipinicon River at Ionia where the flow rate was nearly double the previous record set in the historic floods of 1993. The Charles City Suspension Bridge, built in 1906 and included on the National Register of Historic Sites, was destroyed by the flood on June 8th.

1913: A strong cold front moved across Iowa on June 7th and ushered in several days and nights of unseasonably cool weather, with the coldest temperatures generally occurring on the morning of the 9th when low temperatures included 36 F at Baxter, Independence, and Toledo, 35 F at Decorah, 34 F at Humboldt and Mason City, and 33 F at Elkader. Frost was reported at several locations around the state but was light enough and of short enough duration that damage to crops and vegetation was minimal.

1880: Several tornadoes struck southwestern Iowa. One of the tornadoes produced F4 damage, killing 20 people and injuring 35 others mostly in and around Macedonia in Pottawattamie County. Several more were killed by another tornado in Cass County.


Posted under Weather History

This post was written by Schnack on June 9, 2013

June 8

TodayinWeatherHistoryFrom NWS
: A strong cold front moved across Iowa on June 7th and ushered in several days and nights of unseasonably cool weather. Low temperatures on the morning of the 8th included 37 F at Chariton, Denison, Elkader, Grinnell, and Independence, 36 F at Washta, and 34 F at Alma. Frost was reported at several locations around the state but was light enough and of short enough duration that damage to crops and vegetation was minimal.


Posted under Weather History

This post was written by Schnack on June 8, 2013

June 7

TodayinWeatherHistoryFrom NWS
: Severe thunderstorms in western and northwestern Iowa produced large hail causing severe damage to car dealerships in Carroll and Estherville, as well as wind gusts to 65 mph which lifted boats from their moorings at Arnolds Park. Several tornadoes also touched down in northwestern Iowa including one which struck Sibley, damaging a house and a high school bus barn.

1984: A significant severe weather outbreak occurred with at least 21 tornadoes touching down in Iowa, mostly in northwestern, southern, and southeastern portions of the state. One tornado produced a nearly continuous damage track for 127 miles over a three hour span, moving from northern Missouri into Iowa just southeast of Lamoni and continuing northeast before finally lifting near Sigourney. This tornado killed 2 people and injured 63 others on its track, with the most intense damage occurring in Mahaska and Keokuk counties where the small towns of Wright and Delta were devastated. The storm weakened in the evening then reintensified after sunset and produced another series of tornadoes in southern Wisconsin later that night, including an F5 that struck the town of Barneveld just before midnight killing 36 people and injuring nearly 200. In Iowa a total of 3 fatalities and 91 injuries were attributed to tornadoes on this day.

1953: Severe thunderstorms produced several tornadoes across northwestern, central, and eastern Iowa. One storm produced a series of tornadoes over a path about 100 miles long from Adair County, east northeast through Polk County just a few miles south of the Des Moines airport, and all the way into southwestern Linn County. At the Des Moines airport a wind gust to 85 mph was measured as the tornado passed nearby.

1901: A very late frost was observed at several stations across northern Iowa including Alta and Fayette. Reported low temperatures included 35 F at Carroll, Clear Lake, Northwood, and Ogden, 34 F at Alta and Forest City, 33 F at Sheldon, Sioux Center, and Spirit Lake, 32 F at Plover and Sibley, and 30 F at Larrabee.

 This Day in Local Weather History …
 7 June 1948 → An F4 tornado, moving to the southeast, moved along the edge of Henryville, IN. The storm’s one fatality was a child who was killed when a two-story hilltop home was swept away.
 7 June 1980 → An F1 tornado was reported in Harrison County, IN. Also, two tornadoes of F1 strength were reported in Orange County.
 7 June 1985 → An F0 tornado touched down momentarily in Lincoln County two miles south of Hustonville. Three tobacco barns were destroyed and two farm houses were damaged.
 7 June 1990 → Over five inches of rain fell on Crawford County causing streams to rush out of their banks. Whiskey Run at Marengo rose to its second highest level on record of 12.4 feet. At English, after several devastating floods over the years, this flood was the last straw. Citizens voted to move the entire town to higher ground about a mile away. The floodplain was condemned and 70 homes, 30 businesses, and several county buildings (about 75% of the town) were torn down or moved. It was the 2nd largest town relocation in U.S. history.

Posted under Weather History

This post was written by Schnack on June 7, 2013

June 6

TodayinWeatherHistoryFrom NWS
: Several rounds of severe weather pummeled northern, central, and western Iowa throughout the day. The first storms moved from Pottawattamie County eastward to Madison County in the morning producing very large hail up to the size of softballs and wind gusts as high as 80 mph. The hail shredded crops, broke windows, and damaged cars and buildings and the strong winds injured 7 people in Lake Anita State Park when several campers were blown over. The second round of storms moved from Dallas County through Polk County and southeast to Mahaska County around midday and into early afternoon, producing a weak tornado that touched down just east of the Drake University campus in Des Moines and moved east northeast for about a mile, crossing the Des Moines River near the 2nd Avenue bridge. These storms also dropped golf ball sized hail in Dallas Center, Grimes, and northern Des Moines. A third cluster of severe thunderstorms moved from Pocahontas County east to Grundy County in the mid to late afternoon, producing a wide swath of large hail up to baseball size that destroyed crops, damaged cars and buildings, and stripped trees.

 This Day in National/World Weather History …
 6 June 1968 → Thirty-five meteorologists from across Canada went to tour the new Alberta Hail Studies Center in Penhold, Alberta. Later that day, hail pelted the building and produced winterlike scenes in fields west of the area.
 6 June 1979 → Eight hundred people were killed in Bihar, India in the world’s worst train disaster when cyclone blew a train from a railroad track and into a river.

Posted under Weather History

This post was written by Schnack on June 6, 2013

June 5

TodayinWeatherHistoryFrom NWS
: June was a month of exceptional rainfall and record flooding in many parts of Iowa. After widespread moderate to heavy rain across the state on the 1st, very heavy rain fell in some portions on the state from the 4th-5th with the heaviest rain in Madison and Warren counties where 5.66 inches of rain was recorded at Indianola, 5.25 inches at Winterset, and 5.00 inches at Van Meter. Elsewhere Glenwood reported 5.31 inches of rain, Emerson 4.38 inches, and Chariton 4.25 inches. The heavy rain caused significant flooding across much of the state that was then worsened by additional heavy rains later in the month.

1859: Unseasonably cold weather produced widespread frosts on June 4th and 5th across a belt from southern Minnesota and Iowa through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania up into New York and Toronto, resulting in considerable damage to crops and vegetation across the region. The coldest weather and most widespread damage seems to have occurred on the 5th of June, when a report from the Secretary of Agriculture indicates that snow fell during the daytime across much of New York and that “the ground was white” in some western areas of that state, while “scattering flakes also fell in parts of Ohio.” Remarkably, a series of even more destructive frosts affected the same swath of the country during the first week of September, and in Iowa and southern Minnesota several crops were nearly a total failure.

 This Day in National/World Weather History …
 5 June 1805 → A family of tornadoes tracked from southeast Missouri across southern Illinois, and may have moved into Indiana. The family crossed the Mississippi River about 20 miles south of St. Louis. Fish were “scattered all over the prairie” on the Illinois side of the river. Some pine tree tops, not native to that area of Illinois, were believed to have been blown in from at least 50 miles away. The damage path was 3/4 of a mile wide.
 5 June 1905 → An estimated F5 tornado moved through Tuscola and Sanilac counties in the thumb of Michigan. The tornado moved from Colling to McGregor. The worst of the damage was near Shabbona where at least three farms were destroyed. Five deaths and 40 injuries resulted from the tornado.
 5 June 1908 → An tornado moved due north near Carleton, NE, inflicting F5 damage on area farms. Five members of the Shively family were killed as their farm vanished.
 5 June 1916 → A tornado struck the town of Warren, AR killing 83 persons. There were 125 deaths that day in a tornado outbreak across Missouri and Arkansas.
 5 June 2001 → Though Tropical Storm Allison barely reached tropical storm status, the very slow movement of the storm along the Texas coast resulted in incredible amounts of rain. Over 40 inches of rain fell near Houston, and two feet of rain drenched southern Louisiana. It was the U.S.’s costliest tropical storm to date.

Posted under Weather History

This post was written by Schnack on June 5, 2013