WARMEST CHRISTMAS EVER! PLUS 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 every week right
here on TSwails.com. Take it away Steve!
THE YEAR CHRISTMAS EVE WAS CANCELLED!!
For all of the 58 years that I have recorded the weather I can only remember one time that Christmas Eve activities were cancelled and that was back in 1983.
Most of the month had been colder and snowy up to the time just before Christmas. The four day period from Dec. 22-25th was bitterly cold with a statewide average temperature of -12.5 degrees. Waukon had it's coldest maximum temperature ever for the month of December with a reading of -15 on the 23rd and Des Moines also had it's coldest maximum with a reading of -12 on the 24th. Some of the colder minimum temperatures were -27 at Waukon on the 24th and Oakland with a reading of -30 on the same day.
On Christmas Eve howling winds gusting over 50 mph, blowing snow, dangerously low wind chills of -50 to -75 and deep drifts made traveling virtually impossible. All church services along with other activities were cancelled for the evening. Sioux CIty measured its highest barometric pressure ever under the cold Arctic high.
Christmas Day saw the winds dying down but the temperatures were still very cold . Some of the lowest temperatures that morning were -24 at Estherville and Sioux Rapids, -25 at Pocohontas and Storm Lake and -28 at Cascade. The afternoon highs were generally in the teens below 0 with Sioux Rapids being the coldest with -14.
SOME CHRISTMAS DAY WEATHER IN THE 1800's.
I went through my pioneer journals to see what the weather was like on some earlier Christmas Days.
In 1877 - it was a muddy Christmas.
In 1878 - it was a white Christmas with a morning low of -11.
In 1887 - it was a perfect winter day with everyone out sleighing.
In 1889 - it was a green Christmas.
In 1893 - it was a brown Christmas with temperatures in the 50's.
SNOWIEST DECEMBER DAY:
I went through my 60 years worth of data to determine which day in December was the snowiest based on the amount of accumulated snowfall for that date. I found that the 28th was the snowiest followed by the 31st, 20th, 8th and the 3rd.
OUR DECEMBER"S ARE WARMER:
Using 1960-1999 as a base average I found that since 2000 our Decembers are 1.5 degrees warmer. Since 2010 they have been 3.1 degrees warmer and since 2014 they have been 5.5 degrees warmer.
SOME CHRISTMAS DAY WEATHER PREDICTIONS FROM THE OLD ALMANACS OF DAY'S GONE BY:
I thought it would be interesting to see what the old almanacs were predicting for Christmas Day 100 years ago and 150 years ago.
1919 - northwest winds and some snow about.
1869 - pleasant weather for this time of the season.
That's all for now. On the "wild" side of weather, I'm Steve Gottschalk wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!
THE WARMEST CHRISTMAS EVER FOR MOST OF MY AREA...
Ironically, after all that talk of cold, Christmas 2019 was in many places the warmest on record with highs up around 60. Here are a few record highs from around the central Midwest starting with my area.
A few more in central Iowa.
And here's a few more off to the east in Illinois.
Now I can say I've experienced the warmest and the coldest Christmas ever here in eastern Iowa. I did enjoy the warmth but it was really weird. It just didn't seem like Christmas with readings 30 degrees above normal. So it goes.
Temperatures will turn cooler the next couple days but will remain above normal by 10-15 degrees. While there may be some areas of fog and stratus, we'll remain dry through Friday night. Come Saturday a healthy area of low pressure will make a move on the Midwest bringing rain and perhaps even a few thunderstorms Saturday and Saturday night. Highs could again surge into the 50s Saturday as the low tracks to the west of my area. Some significant rain in excess of an inch is possible in spots. Here's what the latest EURO and GFS are showing for total precipitation. This would be a big deal since most of my area is experiencing one of its driest December's on record. Here in Cedar Rapids we've had just over a tenth of an inch for the month (0.12").