© 2019 Terry Swails

I'VE GOT WHITE GOLD ON MY MIND...

September 3, 2017

It's September and why do I feel so fired up? Maybe it's because I can semi-seriously start thinking about winter. Some of you laugh but nobody was yucking up September 26, 1942 when 1/2" of snow floated down on Cedar Rapids (the earliest measurable snow on record)! OK, it's rare but it counts...it can snow in September!

Most likely accumulating snows will hold off until November but most years at least a trace of the gold is measured in October.

 

One October snow that stands out in my mind took place the 25th and 26th of 1997. A major winter storm moved into western Iowa just before midnight on October 25th and spread across about the southeastern two thirds of the state on the 26th. Two bands of heavy snow developed, one extending from Council Bluffs northeast through Boone and the other extending from northern Ringgold County northeast to around Cedar Rapids. The heaviest snowfall accumulations included 11.3 inches at Knoxville and an amazing 13.0 inches southwest of Mineola in Pottawattamie County.

 

Electricity was lost to tens of thousands of homes and businesses in central and southern Iowa as snow laden trees fell onto power lines. This was the most significant heavy snow so early in the season in Iowa since the storm of October 16-17, 1898. On the morning of the 27th temperatures plummeted, with the aid of the fresh snow pack on the ground, bottoming out at 9 F at Atlantic and Guthrie Center which was the coldest Iowa temperature recorded so early in the season since 1972. While this system produced nearly all of the snow that fell during the month of October 1997, it was still enough to make it the third-snowiest October on record in Iowa only behind those of 1898 and 1925.

 

 

Another big early winter storm I clearly remember struck late on November 29th through December 1st, 1985 producing heavy snow across much of the state of Iowa. A wide swath from southwest to northeast received 8 or more inches with many stations from around Guthrie Center east northeast to Waukon and Dubuque recording a foot or more of snow. In northeastern Iowa Decorah, Dorchester, and Waukon all set their single-day snowfall records with Dorchester reporting a remarkable 18.0 inches of snow in just 24 hours ending on the morning of the 2nd. Other reported three-day snowfall amounts included 13.5 inches at Charles City and Waterloo, 14.0 inches at Independence and Waukon, 14.8 inches at Decorah, 16.0 inches at Tripoli, 16.5 inches at Oelwein, 17.0 inches at Fayette, 18.6 inches at Dubuque, and 19.0 inches at Elkader and Iowa Falls. Winds gusted to 40 to 50 mph by December 1st, combining with bitterly cold air to produce wind chills of -40 to -60 and resulting in blowing and drifting of snow that brought travel to a standstill across much of Iowa.

 

Here's a picture of the above storm causing havoc in Green Bay as the Packers took on Tampa Bay.

 

For the month as a whole November 1974 was really big in the Quad Cities with 15.6" of snow, that's more than we had in Cedar Rapids all of last winter.

 

I've highlighted the snowiest months October through April for a few cities in my local area below

 

Well, it's early and nobody knows what lies ahead. However, just looking at the past I have hope for the future that the flakes will fly fast and furious early this year! Roll weather...TS

 

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