50s in January

Normal highs for late January run in the mid to upper 20s. It is normal for temperatures to get a little warmer than normal at any time of the year. January high temperatures near and above 50°, however, are less likely. We have seen multiple “January thaws” so far this month but this past weekend was exceptionally warm.

Waterloo actually tied a record high temperature on Saturday, January 20th:

Out of the Big Four in our area, Waterloo was the only to hit 50° this past weekend. January temperatures have not been this warm in five years. In the past decade, only two other years have had highs reach or surpass 50°.

Click the photos below to enlarge. These charts show how many January days warmed to at least 50° through Sunday evening (January 21, 2018).



Cedar Rapids:

Iowa City:

It was almost five years to the date since Waterloo recorded a January high in the 50s. The high on January 19, 2013 was an even 50°…the same as the high on January 20, 2018. Cedar Rapids, Dubuque and Iowa City saw their last 50° January high near the end of the month in 2013.

Dubuque 01/29/13 high: 55°
Cedar Rapids 01/29/13 high: 58°
Iowa City 01/29/13 high: 59°

Sunshine broke through clouds in southeastern Iowa today. Temperatures there climbed into the 50s by midday.

Temperatures may near 50° later this week.


Posted under Climate, Records, Temperatures

This post was written by Rachael Peart on January 22, 2018

Finally Above Freezing

We’ll call it our second “January thaw.”  Temperatures are finally above freezing, after a little more than 170 hours below 32° — that’s just a little more than 7 days.  On January 11th, a very strong cold front plowed through eastern Iowa early in the morning, taking temperatures in the 40s at midnight, to the teens and single digits by the evening hours.

The graphs below are plotting the temperatures roughly every hour from January 11th through the 18th.  Temperatures are forecast to remain above freezing, for highs, through the weekend and even early on Monday.  Temperatures are forecast to fall below freezing later Monday morning (but not as dramatic of a drop as January 11th).

Waterloo temperature graph January 11th-18th



Dubuque temperature graph January 11th-18th



Cedar Rapids temperature graph January 11th-18th


Iowa City temperature graph January 11th-18th


Posted under Miscellaneous, Temperatures

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on January 18, 2018

Record Cold Temperatures

On January 16, 2009, the Waterloo airport set a record. The temperature dropped to a frigid -34°F. That marks the coldest temperature ever recorded at that location.

Manchester, Coggon and 1 mi NE of Decorah all saw a low of -40° that same day.

More reports from that frigid January day can be found on an previous blog post by clicking here.

Just a day earlier, the Cedar Rapids airport saw its coldest temperature on record. The Eastern Iowa Airport cooled to -29° on January 15, 2009.


The all-time record low for Iowa City is -32° on February 13, 1905. Even further back is the all-time record low for Dubuque on January 7, 1887 at -32°.


Posted under Temperatures, Weather History

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

Halfway There

We are officially halfway through meteorological winter. Typically, this marks the coldest three months of the calendar year – December, January and February.

We are also just about halfway through the month of January. The first half of January is commonly the coldest period of the year. Soon, normal highs begin to increase slowly. Average highs this time of year are in the mid to upper 20s.

January has defended its title of “coldest month of the year” pretty steadily up to this point. So far, there have only been a handful of days that warmed to or above average. In the four images below, the dotted pink line represents the normal high temperature for that date while the dotted blue line shows the normal low temperature. The red bars symbolize high temperatures and the dark blue bars illustrate the low temperatures.



Cedar Rapids:

Iowa City:

Warmer temperatures track in later this week.

As far as winter precipitation goes, here are the numbers for January 2018 and meteorological winter 2017-2018 (so far):

Waterloo January snow: 2.0″
Waterloo Dec 1 – Jan 15 snow: 9.7″
Average snow Dec 1 – Jan 15: 13.6″

Dubuque January snow: 3.4″
Dubuque Dec 1 – Jan 15 snow: 9.1″
Average snow Dec 1 – Jan 15: 16.6″

Cedar Rapids January snow: 2.6″
Cedar Rapids Dec 1 – Jan 15 snow: 10.3″
Average snow Dec 1 – Jan 15: 12.6″

Iowa City January snow: 1.2″
Iowa City Dec 1 – Jan 15 snow: 7.3″
Average snow Dec 1 – Jan 15: 12.7″

So far this season, our snow totals stand below normal for this point in the season. Dry and drought conditions are actually present in parts of eastern Iowa.

Wintry mix is possible this upcoming weekend.


Posted under Chat, Climate, Temperatures, Winter Weather

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

Cold Weekend Ahead with Accumulating Snow Late Sunday

A WIND CHILL ADVISORY is in effect for our northwestern counties through Saturday morning, as wind chills drop from -15° to -25°.  Elsewhere, they will be -10° or colder.

Saturday will be mostly sunny once again, but temperatures remain cold with highs from 6 to 15 degrees.

Sunday start out dry, with brief sunshine early.  As the day goes on, cloud will become thicker, and temperatures will warm into the teens, close to 20°.  This is as an Alberta Clipper tracks into the Midwest, and brings a quick hit of snow late Sunday afternoon into early Monday morning.  This will be a very fluffy snow, so it will be easy to shovel, and it will add up quick.  Generally, we will see one to three inches across eastern Iowa.

Northeast Iowa has the best potential to see three inches.  There could be locally higher amounts as well.  As always, this is a couple days out so this forecast could change.  Stay with KWWL for updates.  In the meantime, here’s the probabilities of one and two inches of snow across eastern Iowa from the Weather Prediction Center.


Posted under Forecast Discussion, Temperatures, Winter Weather

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on January 12, 2018

Big Change

A front pushed through the area today with an abrupt change in temperatures this morning. We were in the 40s most of the night and then this morning the bottom fell out. Temperatures dropped fast and everything that was wet over night froze just as fast. Here is a look at the hour temperatures in Waterloo.

We also had a mixture of rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow. Not a lot of anyone one time, but enough to make everything slippery. Here is a look at the snow reports across Iowa.

Here is another look at a map of snow reports.


The clouds cleared for a short time in the central part of the state. As the sun was setting this evening a few people were able to view sundogs. This photo was taken in Grundy County.



Posted under Precipitation Totals, Temperatures

This post was written by Schnack on January 11, 2018

Mild January Temperature Trend

The mildest air of our “January thaw” comes Wednesday. Highs reach the low to mid 40s across eastern Iowa. Temperatures like that are 10-20° above normal for mid-January.

Highs in the 40s are not unheard of in January. Over the past 10 years, the Big Four have each seen their fair share of days reaching 40°+. There have only been a couple of years when January temperatures failed to reach 40°.

Click the photos below to enlarge:



Cedar Rapids:

Iowa City:


Cooler air tracks in Thursday and Friday, ending our “thaw”…at least for now. The Climate Prediction Center is tracking potentially above normal temperatures beginning again in the middle of next week. Normal highs for mid-January run in the upper 20s.


Posted under Temperatures

This post was written by Rachael Peart on January 9, 2018

Weekend Temperature Swings

Saturday was BITTERLY COLD, with low temperatures in the teens and 20s below zero.  We made a quick turnaround on Sunday.

Here are the spread in temperatures from Dubuque, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.

Saturday Low   Sunday High

Dubuque:                         -11°                           29°                     

Cedar Rapids:                -17°                           32°      

Iowa City:                        -11°                           34°


Posted under Temperatures, Winter Weather

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on January 7, 2018

Warm Enough to Melt Snow

Snowfall depth across eastern Iowa is in the 1 to 5 inch range. Some of this may melt Sunday into early next week with warmer than average temperatures! We are talking lower 30s.


Posted under Temperatures, Winter Weather

This post was written by Schnack on January 5, 2018

Half and Half

Half of North America is warmer than normal while the other half is colder than normal today.


The 500 mb map shows the big trof of in the east with the big storm and cold. While the ridge builds into Canada and Alaska with warm air. The high temperature in Barrow, Alaska (far northern part of the state) was 10. The high in Waterloo today was 7.

Here is some information about the storm on the east coast.


Posted under Temperatures

This post was written by Schnack on January 4, 2018