October 29, 1925

On this date in 1925: Unseasonably bitter cold weather set in after a pair of early winter storms. The temperature plummeted all the way down to -15 F at Inwood setting the all-time Iowa October record. At Waterloo, the month would finish as the coldest October on record with an average temperature of only 40.5 F. The map attached is from October 29, 1925 and shows a large area of high pressure across the middle of the country.


Posted under Weather History

This post was written by Schnack on October 29, 2015

1st Photographed Tornado in Iowa

On May 30, 1899  the first photographed tornado in Iowa taken.
May 30 1899 Tornado

Click here for a detailed account on what happened that day.


Posted under Severe Weather, Weather History

This post was written by Schnack on May 31, 2015

Tornadoes in January…in Iowa

From the NWS:

On This Day in Iowa Weather History

January 24

1967: An unprecedented January tornado outbreak struck eastern and southeastern Iowa and portions of Missouri, Illinois, and Wisconsin. There were at least 13 tornadoes in Iowa with many of these producing significant F2 or F3 damage. Two tornadoes struck Lee County resulting in 10 injuries, and one of those tornadoes produced F3 damage and killed a young child just west of Fort Madison. Another tornado produced F4 damage just across the border in northeastern Missouri before entering Davis County. A cold front moved through the state later that night and on the 26th snow fell across about the southern half of Iowa with snowfall amounts ranging up to 13.5 inches at Burlington, less than two days after tornadoes had touched down in the same area. To put the extremely unusual nature of this outbreak into perspective, this is the only date in January on which a tornado has ever been recorded in Iowa and only one has ever been recorded in February.


Posted under Severe Weather, Weather History

This post was written by Schnack on January 24, 2015

Severe Weather Update 8:00 PM

The Storm Prediction Center updated the severe weather outlook and keeps a slight risk of severe storms possible across eastern Iowa. The chance of severe weather is low and the primary threat if a storm becomes severe would be large hail.2


Posted under Weather History

This post was written by Schnack on May 8, 2014

Rain/T-Storm Chances Increase

Forecast Bar

UPDATED at 4:30 PM

Tonight: Increasing clouds. Low: 35-41. Wind: E 5-10 mph. 

Wednesday: Mostly cloudy and windy with a 40% chance of showers/storms. High: 51-60. Wind: SE 15-25 mph.

Wednesday Night: Mostly cloudy and windy with a 50% chance of showers/storms. Low: 43-46. Wind: SE 15-25 mph

Thursday: Mostly cloudy with a 70% chance of showers/storms. High: low 60s.

Friday: Mostly cloudy and windy (W 15-25 mph). High: low 60s.

Saturday: Partly cloudy. High: upper 50s.

Sunday: Mostly cloudy and windy (E 15-30 mph) with a 40% chance of showers. High: near 50.

Monday: Mostly cloudy and windy (E 10-20 mph) with a 20% chance of showers. High: near 50.

Tuesday: Mostly cloudy and windy (N 15-25 mph) with a 20% chance of showers. High: near 50.

Weather Extra Bar

On this day in 1980, Waterloo and Fort Dodge reached 100 degrees. This is the earliest date in Iowa to reach 100 degrees. What makes this more interesting is just 8 days earlier (on the 14th) 6” of snow fell across eastern and southeast Iowa.

Tonight…The sky will be mostly clear through the evening. There are two space station flyovers this evening:

Time: 8:28 PM
Duration: 4 min
Path: NW to ESE

Time: 10:03 PM
Duration: 2 min
Path: W to SW

Clouds will increase from the west tonight as the wind diminishes.
Apr 22 Vis Sat

Wednesday/Wednesday Night… Scattered showers and an isolated storm or two are possible Wednesday with the best chance in the afternoon and overnight.

Thursday…Low pressure will track across Iowa with showers and thunderstorms. As I type this it doesn’t look appear severe weather will be a concern. Don’t worry we will still be tracking the storm as it moves east to see if there are any changes to the severe weather risk. Here is the rain potential for Wednesday and Thursday.

Apr 22 Rain

Friday/Saturday…These days will be dry and a bit windy…especially Friday.

Sunday-Tuesday…Low pressure will develop across the middle of the country and bring a chance of showers to eastern Iowa. We will be on the north side of the low and experience a gusty east wind during these days. In addition to the windy conditions, it will be colder. High temperatures will struggle to reach 50 degrees.


Posted under Forecast Discussion, Weather History

This post was written by Schnack on April 22, 2014

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