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

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