First Real-Time Computer Hurricane Forecast

On August 13, 1958, the first computer model forecast for a tropical system was issued.

University of Chicago scientists ran a forecast for Tropical Storm Becky. The storm had formed a few days prior.

Becky’s actual track

This computer model was not used in the official forecast for Tropical Storm Becky. Scientists tried computer models for three more storms that season, with 17 total forecasts issued in 1958.

For more information, click here.

For more information on the 1958 hurricane season, click here.


Posted under Tropics, Weather History

This post was written by Rachael Peart on August 14, 2018

2018 Tropical Atlantic Storm Names

Atlantic hurricane season officially begins June 1. Here are the World Meteorological Organization’s list of names for tropical systems in the north Atlantic:

These names are issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The lists of names are rotated on a six year cycle. Most of the names that will be used this year for tropical systems were also used in 2012.

Seaside Heights, NJ, November 12,2012–The iconic roller coaster that had been part of the Seaside Heights boardwalk for over 70 years sits in the Atlantic Ocean after Hurricane Sandy pushed the roller coaster into the ocean. Photo by Patsy Lynch/FEMA

One notable name that is not on this list but was in 2012 is “Sandy”. WMO retired this name in 2013 after it caused significant damage and resulted in deaths. “Sara” takes its place for the 2018 season.

Meteorologists at Colorado State University forecast 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes (category 3+ on the Saffir-Simpson scale) this season. A typical season features 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

Be sure to keep an eye on the tropical forecast if you plan to travel this year.


Posted under Tropics

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

Hurricane Harvey Stats

Here are some wild numbers as a result of historic Hurricane Harvey in southeast Texas.




Posted under Tropics

This post was written by Schnack on January 30, 2018

2017 Forecast to be in Top Three Warmest Years on Record

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) predicts that 2017 will rank in the warmest years on record. This year may rank second or third.

Temperature average Jan-Oct 2017

2017 was not an El Nino year. Therefore, the WMO anticipates it will be the warmest year without the impact of El Nino on record.

2017 is represented by the far right grey line

We’ve seen multiple devastating hurricanes and other weather events during 2017. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria all reached major hurricane strength. NOAA forecast an above average hurricane season earlier this year.

NOAA’s 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Prediction (May 2017)

It seemed as if there was a point when there was a new hurricane or tropical system in the Atlantic. That’s because 2017 has seen six major hurricanes, 10 hurricanes and 17 named storms (as of November 7, 2017).

2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Data (does not include information on “Rina”)

This year also featured devastating droughts, floods and fires. 2016 holds the title of warmest year on record.

For the full report from WMO outlining their findings, click here.


Posted under Heat, Temperatures, Tropics

This post was written by Rachael Peart on November 8, 2017


A newly named storm…Tropical Storm Rina is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and forecast to track north.

At 11:00 PM AST , the center of Tropical Storm Rina was
located near latitude 30.4 North, longitude 49.9 West. Rina is
moving toward the north near 7 mph,  and a general
northward motion with an increase in forward speed is expected to
continue through Wednesday, followed by a north-northeastward
motion on Wednesday night.

We are getting close to the end of the list of names for 2017.



Posted under Tropics

This post was written by Schnack on November 6, 2017

Hurricane Sandy – Five Years Later

On this date in 2012, Sandy made landfall in New Jersey.

Seaside Heights, NJ after Sandy in 2012

Sandy made its first landfall in Jamaica on October 24 as a category 1 hurricane. This made it the first hurricane since 1988 to make landfall on the Caribbean island. The storm then tracked over warm waters between Jamaica and Cuba, causing it to gain strength.

Sandy made another landfall over Cuba, which did weaken the hurricane as it moved over the island nation. It lost hurricane strength on the 26th of October but regained the status the next day.

On the evening of October 29, then post-tropical Sandy made landfall northeast of Atlantic City near Brigantine, New Jersey. The storm lost some of its tropical characteristics before landfall on the United States mainland but still had winds estimated to 80mph and pressure of 945 mb.

New York City Subway System after Sandy

Effects from this storm were felt into northern New England after landfall. However, during it’s lifetime, every state from Florida to Maine felt some sort of effects (either wind, rain, storm surge, etc). Even snow fell as a result of Sandy in the Appalachian Mountains.

For the entire write-up from the National Hurricane Center on Sandy, click here.

The New York, NY weather service office’s write-up on Sandy can be found by clicking here.


Posted under Tropics, Weather History

This post was written by Rachael Peart on October 29, 2017

Warm Weather…For Now

It was another warm fall day with high temperatures in the 70s. Normal highs this time of year are near 60.  We have a few more days with high temperatures in the 70s and then it turns cooler next week.

Here is a list of how many days Waterloo had a high temperature of 70 degrees or warmer from Oct 1-17 in the last 10 years.



We will be ahead of a cold front Friday and Saturday. A gusty south wind pushes high temperatures in the 70s again. The front if forecast to cross the state Saturday and bring with it a chance of showers/storms. The storm chances ends Saturday night once the front moves east of Iowa. Rain amounts forecast are 0.50″ to 1.00″. Amounts near 1″ will be with any storms, if they develop.  The map below shows the forecast position of the cold front Saturday morning.


The weather is quiet in tropics and nothing is forecast to develop in a couple of days.




National High and Low Temperature Wednesday, October 18, 2017

102 at Ocotillo Wells, CA

14 at Bodie State Park, CA
14 at Lake George, CO


Posted under Fall Colors, Photo, Tropics

This post was written by Schnack on October 18, 2017

Heavy Rain Possible Saturday


After most of the day with a cloudy sky, our western counties saw some sunshine before it set this evening. Here is a look at the sun as it was setting in Cedar Falls. The sky is clear in the western counties of the KWWL viewing area, but most locations are still cloudy. We stay dry tonight under a partly to mostly cloudy sky.



The latest Drought Monitor was released this morning. Due to rain in the last week the conditions are improving. We still need some rain across parts of southern Iowa. The forecast does include southern Iowa with rain and in some locations 2″ are possible. Light rain is forecast Friday afternoon and night. The heavier rain is likely Saturday with thunderstorms. The rain comes to an end Saturday night with sunshine returning Sunday. It will also be much cooler and with a gusty northwest wind at times to 30+ mph.

The map below shows the risk for flash flooding Saturday.

Rain from last Tuesday was not included in Drought Monitor update below. The map is analyzed from rain reports as of 7 AM on Tuesday and then released Thursday morning, every week.

Storms are in the forecast Saturday. There is a slight risk for severe storms from southern Iowa southwest toward Wichita, Kansas. The primary threat would be large hail and high winds during the mid to late afternoon. Any severe storms in eastern Iowa would south and west of Cedar Rapids.




The latest 8-14 day temperature outlook has Iowa with a likely chance of above normal temperatures from Oct 20-26. That takes us to about the end of the month and no cold air.



Ophelia is the 10th hurricane in the Atlantic season…so far.



The Department of the Interior posted this photo, on Twitter, of Mount Moran in the Grand Teton National Park.

National High and Low Temperature Thursday, October 12, 2017

94 at Needles, CA
94 at Augusta, GA

9 at Lakeview, OR


Posted under Drought, Fall Colors, Tropics

This post was written by Schnack on October 12, 2017

Sunshine Monday turns to rain Tuesday


October is known for warm days and cool nights as the days keep getting shorter and shorter. The leaves are changing from green to the beautiful mixture of reds, yellows and oranges. Hopefully no storms with a lot of wind move through the area and knock down the leaves prematurely.  Craig Wenthe sent me this photo of the changing leaves.


We had a wide range of temperatures across Iowa earlier this afternoon. It felt more like winter in northwest Iowa with temperatures in the 30s, a gusty wind, and some rain. At the same time, it was more like summer in southeast Iowa with temperatures in the low 80s.



Wind gusts today were roughly from 15-30 mph from the north. It remains breezy tonight with a north wind. The wind comes from the northeast direction Tuesday. Here are the highest wind gusts from Monday:

31 mph Waterloo
22 mph Dubuque
21 mph Cedar Rapids
17 mph Iowa City


Not too far to our north, cold weather settles in tonight and brings the growing season to an end. Frost Advisories and Freeze Warnings are in effect as temperatures drop into the 20s and low 30s. On average, eastern Iowa would have already had the first frost. The first frost is typically during the end of September and the beginning of October. So far is has not been that cold yet in most locations.



We are tracking a storm, located along the Oklahoma and Kansas state line this evening. It is forecast to track across Missouri and Illinois Tuesday. The result be clouds increasing tonight with a few light showers by sunrise Tuesday. Light showers in the morning become heavier in the afternoon and evening. Clouds, rain and a northeast wind combine to keep temperatures only in the 50s for afternoon highs. The rain will gradually taper off after midnight Tuesday night. Heavier rain amounts are expected to be across our southern counties.



The tropics have been active this year. The tropics are quiet right now. The only storm out there is way out in the Atlantic Ocean. It is Tropical Storm Ophelia. The forecast is to keep Ophelia in the open waters of the Atlantic.



National High and Low Temperature Monday, October 9, 2017
98 at Laredo, TX
1 at Bodie State Park Bridgeport, CA


Posted under Fall Colors, Sports, Temperatures, Tropics, Windy

This post was written by Schnack on October 9, 2017

Radar Down

Hurricane Maria passed through Puerto Rico causing significant wind and flooding damage across much of the island. Winds in excess of 100 mph destroyed the National Weather Service Radar at San Juan, Puerto Rico. The radar is expected to be down for at least a few months. Hopefully there will not be any storms in this area anytime soon. Here is a look at what the radar looks like after the hurricane.

Here is a where the radar is positioned on the island.

A closer shot of the location.


Here is a map to show how much rain fall on the island.




Posted under NOAA, Precipitation Totals, Tropics

This post was written by Schnack on September 25, 2017