Excessive Heat Watch and 100° Heat

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat watch for most of the area. Heat indices (the combination of the air temperature and the dew point) are expected to exceed 100°, and could be as high as 110°. The watch begins for some western counties on Wednesday and the rest of the area on Thursday. The entire watch will end on Saturday.

Excessive Heat Watch MW


Actual air temperatures will top out in the mid 90s, which isn’t too far off from what we’ve seen in the past couple of years. However, the National Weather Service hasn’t issued an excessive heat watch since July 2011.


Though it will feel like 100+° during the afternoon on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, air temperatures have not been that warm since 2013. The chart below shows the last time the temperature was 100° or warmer:

City Date Temperature
Waterloo 7/25/12 104°
Dubuque 8/30/13 100°
Cedar Rapids 7/25/12 101°
Iowa City 9/8/13 105°

Cooler air (with highs in the 80s) is expected to track in on Sunday.


Posted under Uncategorized, Weather History

This post was written by Rachael Peart on July 19, 2016

A Look Back: “Charles City Tornado”

May 15th marks the 48th anniversary of what Iowans know as the “Charles City Tornado.”  This tornado was part of a major outbreak across the Midwest between May 15th and 16th, 1968.  In Iowa, the tornadoes caused 18 deaths and more than 600 injuries.  (Read more about this event, picture included, from the National Weather Service in La Crosse, WI)

May 15 Charles City Tornado

The morning of May 15th started off with several reports of 2.5″ to 3.0″ size hail (tennis ball and baseball size) across many locations in eastern Iowa.  The atmosphere had time to recover, and by the afternoon several tornadoes struck the eastern part of the state; Two F5 tornadoes (winds 261+ mph) struck, along with two F1 tornadoes (73-112 mph), and one F2 (113-157 mph).

The first F5 tornado tracked through tracked from near Hansell in Butler Co., through Chickasaw, Floyd, Franklin and Hardin counties.  The F5 tornado tracked right through the heart of Charles City in Floyd County.  More than 350 homes and businesses were destroyed  in the city.  The tornado was on the ground for 65 miles in total, and destroyed about 2,000 homes total.  In Charles City alone that afternoon, there were 15 deaths and 450 injuries.

Oelwein and Maynard also took a direct hit from a second F5 tornado that Wednesday afternoon.  The tornado destroyed near 1,000 homes, and killed five people before falling apart near Randalia.

Below is the surface map from the morning of May 15th.  You can see a low pressure system located in Nebraska, with a stationary boundary draped across the state of Iowa, and a cold front extending from Nebraska down through Mexico.

charles city_______________________________________________________________________________

May 15, 1998 was also a violent day in Iowa for severe weather.  A severe weather outbreak resulted in at least 43 of Iowa’s 99 counties, and produced 13 tornadoes.  One of those tornadoes struck Washington, Iowa, packing winds 158 mph to 206 mph.  While there were no deaths reported, 47 people were injured from that tornado.




Posted under Severe Weather, Weather History

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on May 15, 2016

Mother’s Day Severe Weather 28 Years Ago

After a few light rain showers early Mother’s Day morning, we had a very nice day with a partly cloudy to mostly sunny sky and temperatures in the 70s.  On Mother’s Day in 1988 (which happened to also be May 8th), there was a tornado outbreak in parts of Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois.

May 8th 1988


Fortunately, there were no deaths during the severe weather outbreak.  The severe thunderstorms in eastern Iowa produced large hail and damaging wind.

Below is the surface map from that morning.  You can see low pressure and a trailing cold front to the west, which served as the “trigger” for these storms and tornadoes to develop.

may 8, 1988


Posted under Weather History

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on May 8, 2016

Big Iowa Snowstorm: April 29, 1956

It’s been rain and severe weather across the state of Iowa over the last week, but that wasn’t the case in 1956.  Parts of the state were dealing with a snowstorm that dumped heavy snow.  Here is the surface weather map from April 29, 1956.  You can see the low pressure in Missouri, with northwest Iowa being on that northwest side of the storm.


This is the latest date more than 10″ of snow has fallen in the state of Iowa.



Posted under Weather History, Winter Weather

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on April 29, 2016

Iowa Blizzard April 8-10, 1973

Yes, we are talking about a blizzard in April, 43 years ago.  It happened April 8th through 10th, and it set all-time snow storm total records for Belle Plaine and Dubuque.  Belle Plaine received 19.2″, while Dubuque measured 19.2″ over the three day period.

April 8-10


A strong, 992 mb low pressure system developed and track through the state, creating 65 mph winds and very heavy snowfall.  Here is a look at the surface map from the height of the storm on April 9, 1973.  The high winds and heavy snow created low visibility, and at times produced 16 foot snow drifts.

snow april 8-10To read a bit more of some of the other snowfall totals across the state, and to see some pictures from the event, check out this blog post from the National Weather Service in Des Moines.


Posted under Weather History, Winter Weather

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on April 10, 2016

Winter Storm/Severe Weather Alerts at the Same Time

Here is a map showing the number of days, since October 1, 2005, that a state has had a Winter Storm and/or Blizzard Warning with a Tornado Watch at the same time in parts of the state.

tornado watch winter stormNotice Iowa has had 3 days with this happening.  One of those days was this last Wednesday, March 23rd when northern Iowa had Winter Storm Warnings in place at the same time southwest Iowa had a Tornado Watch.

This happens mostly in Colorado and Texas.



Posted under Severe Weather, Weather History, Winter Weather

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on March 25, 2016

A Look Back at Another March Snow Storm

March 18-19, 2005

As we wait for the potential of a snow storm, here is a look back at different storm with heavy snow in almost the same area currently in the forecast. The map below shows some locations across northeast Iowa near a foot of snow. Notice how quickly the snow amounts drop off as you move south.




Here is a list of some of the snow reports in Iowa.



The map below shows the position of the storm on the morning of the 18th.



Click here for more information about this storm.



Posted under NOAA, Weather History, Winter Weather

This post was written by Schnack on March 22, 2016

Most Snow From a Storm on Record in Iowa

From the NWS Des Moines:

On This Date in Weather History…

March 10-14, 1951: A major winter storm began on March 10th with freezing rain in southern and western Iowa, then quickly switched over to nearly statewide snow that continued uninterrupted for an incredible 90 hours in some sections and intermittently for more than 100 hours in a few locations. Remarkable storm total snowfall accumulations resulted, including 27.2 inches at Iowa City which is the highest storm total snowfall on record anywhere in the state. Of the Iowa City total 21.1 inches fell in just two days on the 11th-12th. The storm brought all travel and transportation to a halt across most of Iowa, closed schools and businesses, and took out communications at times. A state of emergency was declared in some cities including Cedar Rapids where 19.9 inches of snow fell, with 11.1 inches of that total falling on the 12th. At New Hampton 18.0 inches of snow was reported on the 12th alone while Elkader reported 16.0 inches and Osage 13.0 inches. Storm total accumulations included 21.0 inches at Davenport and Marshalltown, 20.0 inches at Oskaloosa, 18.0 inches at Grinnell, 16.5 inches at Fort Dodge, 16.2 inches at Burlington, 16.0 inches at Castana, 15.5 inches at Dubuque, 15.0 inches at Ames, 13.9 inches at Algona, and 13.3 inches at Des Moines. The statewide average snowfall of 14.3 inches from March 10-14 makes this easily the heaviest snow storm on record in Iowa, nearly 4 inches above the second-heaviest storm which occurred on January 2-4, 1971.


Posted under Weather History

This post was written by Schnack on March 10, 2016

Record Warm Saturday

Yes, it is still February.  High temperatures across eastern Iowa on Saturday were in the upper 50s to middle 60s with lots of sunshine and breezy southerly winds.  Parts of southwestern Iowa reached the 70s!

DMA High Today3D

Record highs were broken in Waterloo and Cedar Rapids, but fell a little short in Dubuque and Iowa City.  Record or not, still a beautiful February day.

Record Highs vs Actual

What a difference a year makes.  On February 27th, 2015..record lows were being broken.  A record low was recorded in Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and Dubuque last year.  High temperatures were only in the single digits.

Feb 27

Sunday and Monday will be mild, but not record-breaking.  Temperatures return closer to normal by Tuesday.





Posted under Records, Weather History

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on February 27, 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