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

Iowa’s Largest November Tornado Outbreaks

When you think of November, your mind does not really think about tornadoes.  However, they do happen  here in Iowa. In fact, just last year there were five tornadoes on the 28th.

Veterans Day 2017 marks the two year anniversary of the largest tornado outbreak during the month of November for Iowa.   November 12th marks the 12 year anniversary of the second largest November tornado outbreak for Iowa.

A strong area of low pressure in Kansas on the morning of 11/11/15 moved northeast into Iowa, which lead to 19 tornadoes across the state.  (Tornado map courtesy of Tornado History Project)

One of those tornadoes tracked through portions of Keokuk and Iowa counties.  It was an EF-1 that caused damage to several out buildings and trees.  Click here for more information.

The second largest tornado outbreak in Iowa history for the month of November occurred on 11/12/2005.  12 tornadoes tracked through the state, as low pressure and a cold front moved through.

While none of the 12 tornadoes tracked through the KWWL viewing area, there was a strong F-3 tornado that killed one person in the town of Stratford.  Read more about the severe weather event from the National Weather Service in Des Moines.



Posted under Severe Weather, Weather History

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on November 11, 2017

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Record Low Iowa Barometric Pressure

The lowest recorded barometric pressure for the state of Iowa occurred on November 10, 1998, where a very strong storm passed through the state.  The lowest pressure of 28.54 inches of Mercury, or 966 millibars, was recorded at Estherville and Spencer in the northwestern part of the state.

Every weather station in the state reported at least 50 to 60 mph wind gusts.  The highest wind gust from this intense storm system was 93 mph in La Crosse, WI.  Waterloo had a 68 mph wind gust, while Ottumwa had a 67 mph wind gust, and Mason City at 66 mph.

You can read the list of wind reports by clicking here.

Here’s the upper air chart from that day (500 mb) showing the strong storm tracking through the northern plains and Midwest.


Posted under Weather History, Windy

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on November 10, 2017


Iowa Tornado Outbreak – Nov. 9, 1975

The third largest November tornado outbreak in Iowa history occurred on November 9, 1975, when nine tornadoes touched down across the state.  Click here for some of the storm reports from that day, courtesy of NOAA.

That day, there were five EF-1 tornadoes, three EF-2 tornadoes, and one EF-3 tornado.  The EF-3 tornado caused quite a bit of damage in Black Hawk County.

Seven people were injured across the state.  Fortunately, there were no fatalities reported.

This is the storm that caused the UNI Dome to collapse.  Here’s the storm report from Cedar Falls.

Here’s a look at the surface weather map from that morning in 1975.

An area of low pressure in Oklahoma rode along a stationary front that was draped over southeast Iowa and produced tornadoes that afternoon and evening.


Posted under Severe Weather, Weather History

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

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October 2017 Review

We’ve wrapped up October 2017 but where do we stand, weather-wise? These are a few stats from the Big Four of eastern Iowa:

It was a warm October but also very wet for parts of the area. A few areas saw a trace of snow in the last week of the month.




Posted under Stats, Weather History

This post was written by Rachael Peart on November 1, 2017

Halloween Extreme Weather

While it will be chilly this Halloween, it will not be a record cold holiday.  Here are some weather extremes from the “Big 4” through the years.  Have a safe and happy Halloween!  Eat all the candy you want.




Posted under Climate, Holiday, Weather History

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

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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

Strong Fall Storms

November is a month known for large storms across Midwest and Great Lakes area. Many producing widespread strong winds. It is not November yet, but we are getting closer to that time of year. A large storm in the Great Lakes today had a central pressure as low as the storm that sunk the SS Edmund Fitzgerald. On November 10, 1975 the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior. An approaching low pressure system caused winds to increase and thus prompted wind related warnings. Strong winds faster than 50 mph produced large waves that day.  There were some wave heights near 30 feet reported

The daily map from that date looked like this. Notice the low pressure over Lake Superior with a central pressure of 984 mb.

November 10, 1975

Now jump ahead to today. The map looks very similar, even to the minimum pressure of 984 mb.

October 24, 2017

A buoy reported wave heights a little higher than 25 feet today in Lake Superior, just north of Munising, Michigan.

The chart below shows the wave heights reported in blue and the forecast wave heights in red. The storm strengthened Monday night and Tuesday and resulted in the rapid increase in wave heights.

Wave heights October 24, 2017

For more information on the Edmund Fitzgerald, visit the Marquette, Michigan’s NWS page here.


Posted under Weather History, Weather Links, Weather Trivia, Windy

This post was written by Rachael Peart on October 24, 2017

Iowa’s First Photographed Tornado – 118 Years Ago

The first tornado to ever be caught on camera in the state of Iowa was captured on May 30, 1899.  It was taken in Kingsley around 7:30 in the evening. There were five tornadoes across the state that day.


Posted under Photo, Severe Weather, Weather History

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on May 30, 2017

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