Record Snow Depth

The highest official snow depth recorded in Iowa was 42″. It was reported in Sioux Center February 20-22, 1936.


Posted under Weather History

This post was written by Schnack on February 21, 2018

Snowy February, So Far

You don’t need us to tell you that the month has been off to a wintry start.  In Waterloo, we’ve seen at least a trace of snow over the last 10 days (Feb. 2-11). However, we’ve only had 7 of those days with measurable snow (more than a 0.1″).

Looking back at records for the most consecutive days with measurable snow for Waterloo, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, we found some interesting facts.  Cedar Rapids has had 9 consecutive days with measurable snow this month, which is the all time record.  Dubuque also had 9 days, which is the longest streak, ever, at the airport.  Waterloo was the 4th longest streak, and Iowa City (based on the data we could find) did not make the top 10.

We certainly have been playing catch-up in the snowfall department this season.  With the recent snow, we are within a couple inches above and below average across the “Big 4.”  We’re also ahead in most areas this year, compared to last winter (which was a down year, to the date, as well).


Posted under Weather History, Winter Weather

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on February 11, 2018

Flashback: Groundhog Day Blizzard

Today marks the 7 year anniversary of the 2011 Groundhog Day Blizzard, which brought a foot or more of snow to portions of eastern Iowa, as well as gusty winds 40-50 mph.  Blizzard Warnings extended from Michigan to Oklahoma.

Here’s a look at the snowfall across the region:

The heaviest band of snow fell in portions of Missouri, far eastern Iowa, and northern Illinois.  The wind caused snow drifts of 2 to 5 feet, with some drifts as high as 10 feet.  The storm caused major travel issues, closing many roads.

Here are the surface weather maps from February 1st, and February 2nd.  Low pressure strengthened in Texas and tracked northeast through Illinois, into Indiana and Ohio.  The heaviest snow fell on the northwest side of this system.

February 1st, 6 AM weather map

February 2nd 6 AM weather map


Click here for a nice write up of the event from the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities.

Here are some pictures from the Quad Cities (Meteorologist Kyle Kiel took them)


Posted under Weather History, Winter Weather

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on February 2, 2018


Iowa Tornadoes to Heavy Snow in Less Than 2 Days (1967)

Living in Iowa, we get all sorts of weather, any time of the year.  In late January 1967, parts of the state had severe weather one day, and then heavy snow less than two days later.

On January 24 1967, a strong cold front brought several tornadoes to Iowa, Missouri, Illinois and Wisconsin.

One of the stronger tornadoes was an F3, which tracked near Ft. Madison in extreme southeast Iowa.  The tornado destroyed two homes and killed one person, and injuring 6 others.  An F4 tornado tracked from Schuyer and Scotland counties in Missouri, to Davis County in southern Iowa.  The twister destroyed 5 farms, with heavy damage to 20 other.  There were 2 injuries.

In all, 11 tornadoes tracked through the four states, killing 7 people.

In less than 36 hours, a winter storm affected the southern part of Iowa, bringing freezing rain, heavy snow and blizzard conditions to some of the same areas that were impacted by tornadoes.

Talk about a wild ride of weather.  Visit the National Weather Service page for more information.


Posted under Severe Weather, Weather History, Winter Weather

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on January 24, 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

Coldest January Air in Years

The New Year began on an especially cold note. In fact, last week saw some of the coldest air eastern Iowa has seen in years. Waterloo saw a low temperature of -21° three times in the first week of 2018. Monday morning, Tuesday morning and Saturday morning all cooled to the lowest temperature the airport had recorded in January since 2014.

Click the images below to enlarge.



In Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, the first week of 2018 brought the coldest January air since 2009.

Cedar Rapids:

Iowa City:

Subzero temperatures are likely again this weekend.


Posted under Weather History, Winter Weather

This post was written by Rachael Peart on January 8, 2018

First Voiced Radio Forecast

On January 3, 1921, the University of Wisconsin-Madison broadcast a weather forecast by voice on the radio station 9XM (now known as WHA). This would mark the first time that a voiced forecast had been transmitted on radio in United States history. Previous forecasts were transmitted through Morse Code.

Here is the national forecast map for Monday January 3, 1921:

The forecast high in Madison that day was 28° under clear skies and a south wind. Dubuque had a forecast high of 28° and precip possible at night for eastern Iowa.

For more weather history, visit the National Weather Service’s page here.


Posted under Weather History

This post was written by Rachael Peart on January 3, 2018

New Year’s Cold Hard Facts

It’s cold.  Brutally cold.  There’s really not much else to say about the weather this weekend.  Record lows will be broken New Year’s Eve morning.

Highs New Year’s Day will be in the single digits above and below zero, with wind chills -15 to -25 throughout the day.

It’s not incredibly uncommon to have below zero temperatures when you wake up New Year’s Day morning.  Here’s a look back at other years with below zero temperatures New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day.  (Cedar Rapids and Iowa City are not “official” data)



Cedar Rapids

Iowa City



Posted under Holiday, Temperatures, Weather History, Winter Weather

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on December 31, 2017

Looking Back: First Measurable Snowfall of Season in Last Decade

Dubuque received its first measurable snowfall of the season at the Dubuque Regional Airport last night (0.10″).  “Measurable” snow refers to any amount of snow that is above a tenth of an inch.  Most of us have seen a couple rounds of light snow that only amounted to a trace.  This tenth of an inch is the latest Dubuque has had its first measurable snow in the last 10 years.

Waterloo has not had a measurable snowfall this season.  As you can see in the graphic below, today (December 9th) is the latest the city has gone without its first measurable snow, and that will continue.  (Only a trace overnight, and flurries this morning)


Posted under Precipitation Totals, Weather History

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on December 9, 2017

2016 November 28th Tornadoes

It has been one year since multiple tornadoes touched down in Iowa on a late November afternoon. A cold front tracked through Iowa on November 28, 2016 and fired off a few tornadoes in central and eastern Iowa.  Here are the storm reports from last year:

EF-0 tornadoes were confirmed by the National Weather Service. To read more on those confirmed tornadoes, click here (scroll to the bottom of the page for info on November tornadoes).

November tornadoes are not unlikely, but much less common than in the warmer months. Since 2015, there have been several tornadoes that have touched down in Iowa in November.

November tornadoes in Iowa for 2015 and 2016.

With quiet weather expected through the rest of the week, it looks like the streak of November tornadoes will end with a very quiet month for 2017.

For additional analyses and information on the tornadoes one year ago, click here.


Posted under Severe Weather, Weather History

This post was written by Rachael Peart on November 28, 2017