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CONSIDER THE VALUE continues to be a leader in catching and forecasting the trends of our extreme weather pattern the past few weeks. It takes a great deal of commitment, passion, and knowledge to stay on top of the swings. Now that I'm no longer in television, this is my job and that's the reason I'm asking for a voluntary subscription fee of $12 dollars a year, one dollar a month to keep TSwails going. Together we can create one of the best, most unique, and reliable weather sites in the Midwest. Your contribution of 3 cents a day, allows me to stay free of the corporate world and pour my energy into doing what I do best, forecasting the weather! We hope you see the value and hard work that goes into the site everyday. Your support in any way is sincerely appreciated. Thanks and roll weather. To donate click on the secure green box below.


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 every week right

here on Take it away Steve!


A powerful winter storm swept across the state from Dec. 3-5, 1924 bringing heavy precipitation in the form of rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow. In the s.e. portions of the state it was rain with heavy snows of up to a foot reported in the n.w. sections.

The heavy ice accumulations occurred in a band from Mills and Monona counties northeast to Dubuque and Winnebago counties. The band of heaviest ice accumulations was in a swath 2 counties wide from Pottawattamie and Harrison counties up to Delaware and Fayette counties. In some of these areas the tree branches and wires received a coating of ice up to 2" thick resulting in an unprecedented number of telephone poles snapped off. severe damage was also delivered to fruit and shade trees amounting to the total destruction of many.

A complete survey estimated some 27.000 telephone poles were ruined with over 200,000 miles of single telephone wires that were put out of service. It took over 1,000 men to repair the damage done to the telephone systems at a cost of over $750,000. Many of the telephone lines were still badly crippled at the end of the month. In Black Hawk county alone over 5,000 poles were down and several other counties reported more than 2,000 poles down.

The damage to fruit trees ranged from slight in some areas to as high as 42% in others.


Using the Old Cherokee's (Jerry Carr) snowfall formula, which I think is the most accurate, we should have a total of 29 snowfalls this season. We have had 4 "cat tracking" (0.25" or more) snowfalls here so far leaving a total of 25 more.


I have done a little research using the last 30 years worth of snowfall data and have found that when we receive measurable snow on Dec.1st there is a 70% chance that we will have normal to above normal snowfall during the month. We had 0.2" here on the 1st.


Doing my various calculations I think this is what the weather will be like on these dates in December.

4th - variable temps. and windy.

6th - windy and warmer.

12-13th - colder, rain/snow and windy.

18th - variable temps., rain/snow and windy.

20th - variable temps. and windy.

26th - variable temps., rain/snow and windy.

Some other minor dates to watch for some unsettled weather - 8th, 10th, 28th and 31st. As usual I asked for a 24 hour leeway with the dates. For those of you that keep track of my predictions, I was correct with my precipitation forecast -92% of the time, wind - 83% of the time and temps. - 70% of the time for the month of November.

If you enjoy reading my blogs you may want to check out my column Let's Talk Weather in Our Iowa magazine. It has weather folklore and weather history.

That's all for now. On the "wild" side of weather, I'm Steve Gottschalk

*Here's an invitation for you to become a graduate of Weather School at TSwails University. Get the details on the program and your "degree" below. is offering a very special and unique opportunity for you to learn first-hand the ins and outs of weather forecasting with one of the best meteorologists in the country along with his team of expert meteorologists.

That’s right… You want to forecast right along with Terry Swails, well now you can. He’s teaching weather with TSwails newest program called WEATHER SCHOOL. The opening bell rings this January and you can be a member of the very first graduating class. The one-day forecasting seminar for weather enthusiasts will be held at his home in January. It’s not your typical run-of-the-mill school. There will be no tests, but Terry, Rebecca, and Nick will cram your head with so much knowledge, it’ll be spinning like a tornado before the day is over

You want to know the essential online sites to use for models, radar, and the basic weather tools? DONE! You want to understand the structure of models and the role they play? DONE! You want to be able to construct forecasts from the ground up? DONE!

WEATHER SCHOOL will be presented in a seminar-type format where you'll have the ability to ask questions and dig deep. You’ll get the scoop on data acquisition, model analysis, severe weather, and actual forecasting from the big dog himself, T. Swails. With 43 years of experience and an uncanny ability to break the science down, you’ll open the door to forecasting like never before.

Along with the head master T. Swails himself, meteorologists Rebecca Kopelman and Nick Stewart of KGAN TV will be there to lend their knowledge and experience to the discussion. It will be fun, informative, and factual! This is the day for you to see, feel, and experience what it’s like to be in the hot seat of a meteorologist.

The seminar will be held January 25th and will last from noon until 5:00pm. We have limited seating and the cost is $ 99 dollars per person. A catered lunch will be provided. Again..not a lot of seats so reservations with a pre-payment are required. Sorry, no refunds. If there’s enough interest, a second session will be added in early February. To register or get additional information send an email to

GIVE THE GIFT OF WEATHER. This might be the perfect gift for that hard to buy for person this Christmas. Along with a WEATHER SCHOOL admittance voucher, TSwails will send a special holiday greeting to your weather enthusiast if you give the gift of weather with the TSwails touch!



Purpose: To help weather enthusiasts understand the basics of forecasting and apply the knowledge and techniques learned to construct personal forecasts.


The essential on-line sites for models, observations, satellite and radar images, and general weather data.

Session 2: ANALYSIS:

Determining your objective goals. Short term, intermediate, or long-term. Understanding the process of analysis and its relationship to forecasting.

Model options and choices. What to use and when!

The GFS, EURO, NAM 3k, NAM 12K, Canadian, HRRR, MJO, ensembles, teleconnections, etc.

Locating, learning, and knowing what’s essential to make a reliable forecast.

The art and science of model interpretation: Using and understanding model output. Its called guidance for a reason!

Learn how to analyze key parameters such as:

Surface and upper air data

Vorticity and energy

Precipitation output

Wind and pressure


A simulation of the basic process using model output.

BREAK: A 25-30 minute recess to enjoy a catered lunch…


Thunderstorms, tornadoes, derechoes, and squall lines.

Soundings. What are they and why should I care?

Instability (CAPE) vs (CIN) Critical interaction involving moisture, heating, and forcing.

Uncovering the ingredients of a severe weather set-up.

TVS signatures. What to look for on radar.

Role of SPC vs NWS, and your local TV station regarding the warning process.

Simulated model driven forecast of a severe weather event/tornado outbreak


The key ingredients required for significant winter storm:

How to forecast the rain snow line.

How to forecast snow totals from QPF

Determining totals from snow ratios.

What to look for at the surface and at upper levels (500 and 850mb)

Model bias and determining the storm track

Simulated model driven forecast of a significant Midwest winter storm


An open period for attendees to ask questions regarding relevant topics or issues discussed during the day.


Some final words of inspiration from the events headliners

Once again, to reserve a spot or ask questions send an email to See you when the bell rings! T. Swails

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