June Outlook

May has been a warm month across the area. The rain amounts vary widely.

Town: May total (departure from normal)
Waterloo 3.02″ (-1.51″)
Dubuque 5.45″ (+1.26″)
Cedar Rapids 4.55″ (+0.40″)
Iowa City 3.77″ (-0.44″)
Decorah 8.23″ (NA)

The map below shows the amount of rain departure from normal for May.

It looks like our temperatures are likely more above normal through a good part of the month. There is nothing that indicates either above or below normal precipitation for June.


Posted under Long Range Outlook, NOAA

This post was written by Schnack on May 31, 2018

24 Hour Rain Totals

Here are the 24-Hour rain totals as of 10AM Wednesday, May 30, 2018:

Waterloo 0.44
Dubuque 0.01
Cedar Rapids 0.34
Iowa City 0.66
Ainsworth 7.4 N 0.08
Anamosa 1.9 SE 0.89
Anamosa 2.5 SSW 0.77
Asbury 0.09
Belleview LD 12 0.20
Brighton 0.29
Cascade 0.41
Cedar Rapids 2.7NE 0.65
Central City 6.7 W 0.43
Charles city COOP 0.09
Coggon 1.05
Coralville 1.3 SE 0.63
Decorah 7.9 ENE 0.44
Dubuque #3 0.02
Dubuque 1.4 WSW 0.05
Dubuque L&D 11 0.08
Dysart 0.12
Edgewood 0.84
Elkader 6mi SSW 0.67
Elma 0.23
Ely 1.04
Fairfax 1.0 NW 0.15
Fayette COOP 0.53
Fort Atkinson 0.25
Garwin 0.07
Grinnell 3 SW Trace
Grundy Center 0.04
Guttenberg Dam 10 0.42
Hampton 0.30
Independence 0.11
Ionia 2 W 0.27
IONIA 2W, IA 0.27
Iowa City 0.80
Iowa City 8 NE 1.17
Kalona 7.3 NNW 0.21
Kesley, IA 0.21
Lansing 4 SE 0.47
Lowden 0.34
Manchester 0.58
Manchester #2 0.62
Maquoketa 4 W 0.17
Marengo 2.6 SSW 0.01
Marengo 3.6 N 0.19
Marion 1.7 NNW 0.83
Monona COOP 0.49
Monticello COOP 0.83
Nashua 2 SW 0.21
New Hampton 0.3 NNW 0.21
New Hampton COOP 0.35
Nora Springs 0.22
North Liberty 0.6 NW 0.49
Osage 0.06
Peosta 2.9 E 0.06
Quasqueton 0.5 W 0.34
Rickardsville 0.2 W 0.07
Sigourney, IA 0.24
Solon 0.3 ESE 1.31
St Ansgar 0.34
Strawberry Point 1.12
Tiffin 2 SW 0.27
Toledo 3 N 0.05
Traer 0.37
Tripoli 0.07
Volga 1 NE 1.08
Washington Trace
Washington 5.8 W 0.03
Waucoma 3.2 S 0.11
Waukon 4 SW 0.40
Wellman Trace

Posted under Precipitation Totals

This post was written by Rachael Peart on May 30, 2018

Ending our Stretch of 90+

After today, cooler air tracks into eastern Iowa. But, not before this heat wave goes down in the history books. Daily record highs were broken across the Big Four over the Memorial Day weekend.

This was the longest stretch of 90°+ during the month of May in Waterloo since 1934. Dust Bowl, anyone? Also known as the “Dirty Thirties”, several rounds of drought plagued the United States during the 1930s.

In 1934, the Waterloo area saw four days of 90°+ that May, like we did in May 2018.

Dubuque saw two days in a row of 90°+ this month while Cedar Rapids and Iowa City both also saw four days of 90°+ for May 2018.

Normal highs this time of year run in the 70s. Cooler air is on the way starting midweek.


Posted under Climate, Heat, Temperatures

This post was written by Rachael Peart on May 29, 2018

Record Heat

No doubt about it, it’s been an unusually warm Memorial Day weekend across eastern Iowa.  Here are the high temperatures from across the area:

Waterloo, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City all broke records.  Some of those records were more than 100 years old!

These temperatures are unusual for May, but to put this into perspective, it hasn’t been this warm in our neck of the woods since 2012 and 2013.  Last time temperatures were this warm:

Waterloo: September 10, 2013 97°
Dubuque: July 25, 2012 101°
Cedar Rapids: September 10, 2013 97°
Iowa City: September 10, 2013 99°

The heat is not going to let up as we head into the Memorial Day holiday itself, with more record heat likely.  Fortunately, the humidity levels won’t be terrible.  If this were toward the middle of summer where we had corn at its peak, this would be more unbearable for us.


Posted under Heat, Records, Temperatures

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on May 27, 2018

Eastern Iowa Tornadoes – May 25, 2008

May 25, 2008 was an active day for severe weather across eastern Iowa, with six tornadoes being confirmed across the KWWL viewing area.  Of note was the EF-5 tornado impacting Parkersburg, New Hartford and Dunkerton with estimated peak wind speeds up to 205 mph(to watch our special report “Tornado Turnaround”, click here), and the EF-3 tornado near Fairbank and Hazleton, with peak wind speeds up to 160 mph.

There was also an EF-1 tornado south of Lamont in Buchanan County, as well as an EF-1 south of Petersburg in Dubuque County.  Another EF-1 touched down near Interstate 80 in western Iowa County, fortunately not impacting many people.  And finally, an EF-0 was reported north of North Liberty.  To read the full assessments from the NWS Quad Cities, click here.

  1.  The tornado touched down 2 miles south of Aplington, before growing to 3/4 of a mile wide as it moved to the south side of Parkersburg.  300 homes and businesses were destroyed.  Seven people were killed, with many others injured.  From there, the tornado went down Highway 57 and tore through the northern part of New Hartford, where it killed two people, and damaged and destroyed many homes.  The Sinclair Elevator and the Oak Hill Cemetery took a direct hit.  Read the full assessment from NWS Des Moines here.
  2. The EF-2 tornado in Buchanan County touched down near Fairbank.  The tornado was 0.7 miles wide and was on the ground for 32.4 miles.  Three homes were destroyed, with many others damaged, along with several downed trees and power lines.  On the south side of Hazleton, many mobile homes were destroyed.  Three people were injured
  3. EF-1 tornado south of Lemont was about 100 yards wide with an estimated peak wind speed of 90 mph, and was on the ground for 2 miles.  There were many outbuildings and trees that were damaged.  No injuries or deaths were reported.
  4. An EF-1 was confirmed south of Petersburg in Delaware county.  The tornado was 250 yards wide with estimated wind speeds of 90 mph, and was on the ground for 7.75 miles.  Trees and outbuildings were damaged, along with more than 1,000 trees destroyed in New Wine Park.  No injuries/deaths were reported.
  5. An EF-0 was reported north of North Liberty in Johnson County. Estimated wind speeds were 85 mph, and it was 100 yards wide with a path of 0.1 miles.  Many trees were uprooted, and several homes were damaged.
  6. And EF-1 tornado was reported near Interstate 80 in Iowa County.  Estimated wind speeds were 90 mph, and it was 250 yard wide and was on the ground for 6 miles.  No injuries or fatalities were reported.  A grain bin near Victor was blown over, and a tree fell on a mobile home.  Many machine sheds were also damaged.

Here is a full list of the storm reports, mesoscale discussion, watches and outlooks for the nation that day.


The Enhanced Fujita scale is used to estimate wind speed based on the damage from the tornado.  They are not measured wind speeds.



Posted under Severe Weather, Weather History

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on May 25, 2018

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Heat Index near 95°

The high temperatures will warm the next few days reaching the mid to upper 80s. The humidity level also increases as dew points get into the upper 60s. Combine these two and you get the heat index as high as 95 Friday and Saturday. This is our first round of heat and humidity this year. Use caution in the heat. On average, it is the number one weather related killer.


Posted under Heat

This post was written by Schnack on May 22, 2018

Rainfall- 24-hour totals through 9 AM Monday

TOWN 24 HR RAIN TOTAL Through 9 AM Thur
Waterloo (Airport) 0.70
Dubuque (Airport) 0.12
Cedar Rapids (Airport) 0.30
Iowa City (Airport) 0.27
Ainsworth 0.08
Allison 0.21
Anamosa 1.9 SE 0.17
Anamosa 2.5 mi SSW 0.17
Asbury 0.08
Belle Plaine 1.00
Belleview LD 12 0.15
Brighton 0.07
Cascade 0.08
Cedar Falls 0.6 N 0.70
Cedar Falls 1.4 SSE 0.69
Cedar Rapids 2.7 NE 0.35
Center Junction 2.6 W 0.78
Center Point 0.6 NNW 0.57
Central City 6.7 W 0.30
Charles City COOP 0.09
Coggon 0.11
Conrad 0.25
Coralville 1.3 SE 0.15
Cresco COOP Trace
Decorah 4.9 SE 0.03
Decorah 7.9 mi ENE 0.01
Dorchester 3 S 0.10
Dysart 0.53
Elkader 6 mi SSW 0.26
Ely 0.29
Fairfax 4.0 NW 0.39
Fayette COOP 0.43
Garwin 0.48
Gilbertville 1.0 NW 0.44
Grinnell 0.76
Grinnell 3SW 0.79
Grundy Center 0.72
Guttenberg Dam 10 0.30
Hampton 0.05
Hopkinton 5.4 WSW 0.17
Independence 0.90
Ionia 2 mi W 0.10
Iowa City 0.23
Iowa Falls 0.36
Kalona 7.3 NNW 0.10
Kesley 0.19
Lowden 0.06
Manchester 0.18
Manchester #2 0.21
Maquoketa 4 W 0.14
Marengo 2.6 SSW 0.42
Marengo 3.6 N 0.50
Marion 1.7 mi NNW 0.16
Monona COOP 0.15
Monticello COOP 0.26
Nashua 2 SW 0.07
New Hampton COOP 0.32
New Hampton 0.3 mi NNW 0.13
New Hampton 0.4 mi SW 0.13
Nora Springs 0.07
North English 0.38
North Liberty 0.6 NW 0.45
Osage 0.06
Parkersburg 0.40
Parnell 0.1 WNW 0.16
Rickardsville 0.2 W 0.15
Robins 0.4 SSE 0.21
Sigourney 1.1 W 0.11
Solon 0.3 mi ESE 0.16
St. Ansgar Trace
Strawberry Point 0.73
Toledo 3 mi N 0.88
Traer 0.77
Tripoli 0.56
Urbana 1.37
Vinton 0.88
Volga 1 mi NE 0.19
Washington 0.06
Washington 5.8 W 0.05
Waterloo 1.9 SSE 0.71
Waucoma 0.10
Wellman 0.12
Williamsburg 0.28

Posted under Precipitation Totals

This post was written by Eileen Loan on May 21, 2018

Tornado Warnings

May and June are the peak months for severe weather in Iowa. More than 50% of the tornadoes occur in these two months.

So far this month all of the action, when it comes to tornado warnings, has been across the southern part of the state. The map below shows all of the tornado warnings this year.

I am going to take this one step further. The map below shows when the last tornado warnings were issued across Iowa, per county. The dark blue areas show the last tornado warning in 2002. The very small white areas have not had a tornado warning from 2002 until now. The circled area in Winneshiek County has not had a tornado warning since 2002.

Sticking with Winneshiek County, here is a look at all of the tornadoes in the county since accurate records have been kept beginning in 1950 through 2016. Notice where the dark blue area is on the map above is the same location of an F3 tornado. It was July 19, 1994 when the F3 tornado traveled 23 miles and was 150 yards wide. Even though there has not been a warning lately, it doesn’t mean severe weather, a tornado, has not impacted the area.



Posted under Severe Weather

This post was written by Schnack on May 16, 2018

F Scale vs EF Scale

This month we are highlighting some memorable weather events in eastern Iowa. Namely, we are remembering May tornadoes that made a lasting impact in some of our communities. However, what do you know of the way tornadoes are rated?

Half a century ago this month, an F5 tornado tracked through Charles City. It was one of two F5 tornadoes that day in eastern Iowa. The other tracked through the Oelwein and Maynard areas.

A little more recently – actually 10 years ago this month – an EF5 tornado tracked through Parkersburg, New Hartford and the surrounding areas.

The difference between these two rankings – F5 and EF5 – is time.

The EF, or Enhanced Fujita scale, went into operation in 2007. This is the scale currently used by meteorologists. Previously, the F, or Fujita scale, was used to rank tornado damage intensity. Click here to find the parameters used for the F and EF scale.

Regardless of which scale was used, the three tornadoes listed above were among the strongest and most destructive in Iowa history. Even EF0 or EF1 tornadoes can cause extensive damage. In 2017, an EF1 struck McGregor in Clayton County. You can read more on that tornado here. In fact, most of the tornadoes in 2017 were ranked EF0 or EF1. For more information on the 2017 tornado climatology, click here.


Posted under Severe Weather, Weather History

This post was written by Rachael Peart on May 16, 2018

National Highs and Lows

Most nights I post the national high and low temperature. Here is a look at where all of the highs are lows were through April.

Here is the breakdown per month where they national highs and lows were.


Posted under NOAA

This post was written by Schnack on May 14, 2018