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STEVE'S "WILD" WORLD OF WEATHER....

THE LONGEST RUNNING WEATHER SERVICE: Hindrich's first observatory on Church and Clinton Streets in Iowa City On October 1, 1875, the Iowa Weather Service began taking weather observations. It was organized by Professor Gustavus Hinrichs at the University of Iowa with 60 initial observers. Functions of this agency are largely maintained by the State Climatological Office. Iowa has the oldest continuously operating state weather program in the nation. Professor Hinrichs is also the one who coined the term "derecho". First plotted map of derecho crossing Iowa 1877 Gustavis Hindrichs A LATE SEASON HEAT WAVE: On October 5-6, 1963, unseasonably hot weather across the western two-thirds of the stat

A BUMP BEFORE THE OLD DIPSY DOO...

Tuesday was another day of cool condition around my part of the central Midwest. Clouds were strung out from north to south around the back side of an upper air low spinning through Illinois. That kept temperatures in the low 60s and for good measure a few pop corn showers played around with little in the way of impact. Energy diving south in the NW flow aloft will continue to deepen a trough the next 72 hours that encompasses much of the central and eastern U.S. Here's the 500mb flow Friday. In the short term forecast (the next 5 days) temperatures are expected to grow even colder as spokes of energy deepen the amount of cool air within the overall pattern. The 5 day departures Wednesday t

COOL IS THE NEW RULE....

That front that came through the Midwest Sunday is re-aligning the jet and that is already leading us into a much cooler weather pattern that lasts into the coming weekend. The cool air also brought some much need rain to parts of the area. Unfortunately not everybody got in on the act. Here's some of the totals reported by the NWS in the Quad Cities. You can see it was the southeast half of the region that enjoyed the higher totals. Northwest of a line from Omaha to Waterloo not much more than sprinkles were found. Monday a pocket of cold air (what's known as an upper air low) was spinning southward generating enough instability for a few more showers. You can detect the energy centered ove

FIRST FROST POSSIBLE LATER THIS WEEK...

Cooler air has now settled in as a cold front moved across the Midwest Sunday. Here were the temperatures around 6 pm Sunday: The new week will be very fall-like. Temperatures will be near and below normal in general. Monday starts: On the backside of Sunday's front some wrap around moisture may lead to scattered showers breaking out throughout the day Monday: There will be more sunshine Tuesday and Wednesday and temperatures will be in the 60s both days: A cold front will move through Thursday and usher in another bout of cool, fall air for the weekend. There is a slim chance for some rain with this front: The cooler air will lead to the potential for frost -- the first of the season -- on

A FALL CHILL ON THE WAY....

A fall chill is on the way as we head into the new week. First we have a cold front to get through. Ahead of the front temperatures got into the 70s and 80s Saturday. However it did not get as warm as anticipated due to the very thick smoke in overhead. The smoke was leading to a red tint to the sun the entire day and did hold back temperatures some. Regardless, a cold front will move through Sunday and bring the chance for rain. Rain will begin in Iowa in the late morning Sunday and continue to the south through the night. That will begin to usher in some cooler air. Temperatures go from the 70s and 80s of Saturday to 60s Sunday and Monday. Here's the temperatures for Sunday: And Monday: Th

NEAR RECORD HEAT SATURDAY...

If you've been following along lately you know we're in for some pretty good temperature swings in the next few days. To give you an idea what's on the table the GFS has us going from a high of 83 Saturday to la low of 32 next Saturday and Sunday. Nothing like a 51 degree swing. (personally I think it could be even greater with Saturday's high closer to the upper 80s. The EURO is showing a similar situation just not as cold on the lows. The model does have a warm bias at that range and I suspect it will end up colder than 41 by at least 5 degrees. That brings a 50 degree spread into play for it as well. Here's some noteworthy news. Saturday, the potential exists for some areas to near or eve

WHAT GOES UP, MUST GO DOWN...WAY DOWN!

Short term the weather is fairly straight forward across the central Midwest with the key theme being a return to summerlike temperatures, albeit a brief flirtation. Before the warmth arrives a fly in the ointment is a disturbance that streaks across the region Thursday bringing the threat of some scattered showers. Here's what it looks like on the satellite Wednesday night. Models are in general agreement that the best moisture and forcing remains to the north and that being the case any rain that falls is likely to be light and confined to the area near and north of HWY 30, especially north of HWY 20 where the potential for slightly higher totals exist. It won't be much. The EURO shows thi

STEVE'S "WILD" WORLD OF WEATHER, SQUIRRELS WORKING OVERTIME...

When I'm wondering about weather folklore and historical events this is the man I go to. With more than 50 years of statistical and observational research, he's the dude! When it comes to lunar cycles, woolly bear caterpillars, insects, bugs, and animals, he tracks them, records them, and establishes ties to weather patterns. He's a knowledgeable and interesting man. His name is Steve Gottschalk by way of Lowden, Iowa. I'm grateful to him for lending his unique perspective to the site. Steve's "wild" world of weather can be found regularly right here on TSwails.com. Take it away Steve! A SEPTEMBER SEVERE WEATHER OUTBREAK: On Sept. 26, 1959 a squall line ahead of a cold front spawned severe t

TWAS A MARVALOUS START TO FALL...

The first day of fall left nothing to be desired across the central Midwest. Sunshine and mild temperatures ruled, picture perfect as the saying goes. While we still have some more of this on our plate, starting next week the the weather menu gets less tasty. Here's what Tuesday's beautiful day looked like from the perspective of the GOES 16 satellite. The coming pattern change (as typically is the case) will be initiated by a re-alignment of the storm track. We go from this at 500mb Wednesday. To this a week later. That's a decidedly different look with significant implications. Below you can see how mild we are before the change with temperature departures that are well above normal. After

AND THEN IT WAS FALL

We all were taught at a tender age that the Earth makes a complete revolution around the sun once every 365 days, following an orbit that is elliptical in shape. This means that the distance between the Earth and Sun, which is 93 million miles on average, varies throughout the year. During the first week in January, the Earth is about 1.6 million miles closer to the sun. This is referred to as the perihelion. The aphelion, or the point at which the Earth is about 1.6 million miles farther away from the sun, occurs during the first week in July. So why is it hottest when the sun is the farthest way it gets from our planet? Simply put, it's all a matter of tilt. Our seasons are caused by the

A CALM WEEK AHEAD....

This year the weather seems to go from being super busy to super quiet. This week is going to be another quiet one. While we were able to catch up on rain we're looking at little to nothing over the next five days. This is the expected precipitation through Friday: During this time the weather is going to be nice and comfortable. Temperatures will be warmer, especially compared to the cool, fall-like weekend we just had. We start to warm up some Monday afternoon -- temperatures will be pretty close to "normal" for this time of year: Then it gets a little warmer Tuesday: Temperatures will generally stay in this mid 70s to low 80s range through the rest of the week. Plenty of sunshine and low

HISTORIC HURRICANE SEASON....

While the weather is quiet in these parts I thought I'd talk about the tropics. Now, most of the time these systems don't impact the Midwest. However, occasionally we can get the remnants of these systems or we can get the high moisture levels in our area. Earlier this year Tropical Depression Cristobal made it all the way to the Upper Midwest and dumped heavy tropical rains. That was months ago. Now, around the peak of hurricane season, we have to start using the Greek alphabet. Here are the current storms: You can see Wilfred in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean. Subtropical Storm Alpha already weakened, but Tropical Storm Beta is now threatening the Texas Gulf Coast. This is only the second

LATE SUMMER CHILL, NOT FOR LONG...

The Midwest weather pattern was dominated by high pressure and fresh fall air Friday afternoon. Under a mix of sun and clouds highs struggled to get past the mid 60s in many areas. Dubuque only reached a high of 62. These were late day readings. The majority of my region was running 10-12 degrees below normal at that time. Below you can see the big 1031mb high that will be parked over the region Friday night. That will induce strong radiational cooling as it enables mostly clear skies and light winds within a dry air mass.The days have also been getting shorter for 3 months and that is beginning to take its toll. The 3k NAM has this for lows Saturday morning. The first few hours of the day w

HOW DRY I AM...NOT!

A couple weeks ago many of you were pleading for rain. And for good reason, a long dry August had really burned things up. Well, you know the saying, be careful what you wish for. The rains came in a big way. Here's what we've had so far this September. A swath in EC Iowa and WC Illinois showing 6-10 inches! That puts September amounts in my area 3 to 4 times above what's normal. By the way there was that little thing called a drought that had popped up. At least in my area you see in the graphic on the left that all that remains of that as of September 15th is a small patch of abnormally dry conditions in my southern counties. The map on the right shows conditions September 1st when many ar

STEVE'S "WILD" WORLD OF WEATHER...

When I'm wondering about weather folklore and historical events this is the man I go to. With more than 50 years of statistical and observational research, he's the dude! When it comes to lunar cycles, woolly bear caterpillars, insects, bugs, and animals, he tracks them, records them, and establishes ties to weather patterns. He's a knowledgeable and interesting man. His name is Steve Gottschalk by way of Lowden, Iowa. I'm grateful to him for lending his unique perspective to the site. Steve's "wild" world of weather can be found regularly right here on TSwails.com. Take it away Steve! IOWA'S DEADLIEST SEPTEMBER TORNADO: On September 21, 1894, a late season outbreak of violent tornadoes swep

RIDING HIGH THIS WEEKEND...

All things considered the weather around the central Midwest was pretty choice Wednesday as highs in many areas were back in the 80s. The month though has been a roller coaster with a high in Cedar Rapids of 91 the 6th followed by a 52 the 9th. Season change! After a dry first week the 6th through the 12th was a wet period with some later reports (beyond the graphic) showing as much as 9 inches of rain in and around the Quad Cities. A real drought busting event that was needed, especially since if came over a prolonged period of time and was able to soak in with little in the way of flooding issues. Wednesday on the late day satellite you can again see evidence of the western fires with smok

BE A PART OF MY NEW BOOK...

Before we get into the weather, I'm going to let you in on a special project I've been working on. I'm writing a brand new book on the August 10th Derecho which historically, could very well be the worst storm in Iowa Weather history. One of the key elements in telling the story will be pictures. I need good ones from all around Iowa. Not only can you help me, you can get your name, image, and community in the upcoming book. To be clear, it NEEDS to be a captivating picture and it needs to be tied to the August 10th event. I don't need a split tree or some branches in a pile. I'm talking significant damage or something that is emotionally compelling. It has to meet the book worthy test to ma

RIDE SALLY, RIDE...

With 7 tropical systems in the Atlantic being monitored, and only 3 names left reserved for the Atlantic Hurricane season, we are likely going to run out of predefined storm names to use. The remaining unused storm names are Teddy, Vicky and Wilfred. Once those names have been assigned to a storm, the NHC will make additional names taken from the Greek alphabet. IE Alpha, Beta, etc. The only time this has been done was during the historic 2005 hurricane season, which ended up with 28 named storms. Could 2020 be the 2nd time this is done? I think that's inevitable given at least 2 storms currently in the Atlantic right now that are pending names, and the hurricane season still has another 2.5

RAGING WILDFIRES OUT WEST, TROPICAL TROUBLE DOWN SOUTH...

You may have noticed already (or will soon see) the hazy skies in the Midwest. That may linger over the next few days... it's smoke from the wildfires unfortunately raging out in the western U.S. Here's an image from the National Weather Service in Omaha: The smoke is caught in the jet stream and is sitting over much of the U.S. right now. Our milky skies are nothing compared to some of the scenes out west. And check out this statistic from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Five of the top 20 largest wildfires in the state's history have occurred in 2020: Unfortunately there won't be much precipitation to help the west coast battle these historic wildfires this week.

HERE COMES THE SUN, FINALLY...

It started raining 7 days ago, last Saturday night, and it felt like it would never end. Rain was on and off, heavy at times, and seriously added up in eastern Iowa and western Illinois. Here's a look at the rainfall totals per the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities: These are areas that see around or less than an inch of rain for the ENTIRE month of August. So impressive to say the least, but it's time to turn the faucet off. Unfortunately the heavy rain didn't hit the areas experiencing the worst of the drought in western Iowa, so hopefully they can get more rain soon. For now though high pressure will settle in and lead to a pretty calm week across the Upper Midwest: That will le

© 2020 Terry Swails