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").
A break in the rain is expected Sunday but wrap around moisture may bring some snow showers to the area Sunday night or Monday, especially the area north of I-80. At this point little if any accumulation is expected south of HWY 20. North of that line a few spots closer to the Minnesota border could see 1/2 to an inch of snow. Something we'll keep an eye on in coming days.This is the EURO snowfall forecast through Monday night.
I think it's fair to say our weather will take a step back in quality to next few days but we'll still be enjoying dry and well above normal temperatures the rest of the week. Hope you all had a fantastic holiday! Roll weather...TS
A FEW WEATHER SCHOOL SPOTS STILL AVAILABLE...
TSwails.com is offering a very special and unique opportunity to learn first-hand the ins and outs of weather forecasting with one of the best meteorologists in the Midwest 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
WEATHER SCHOOL AGENDA:
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION
Purpose: To help weather enthusiasts understand the basics of forecasting and apply the knowledge and techniques learned to construct personal forecasts.
Session 1: DATA ACQUISITION
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
Wind and pressure
Session 3: MAKING A FORECAST FROM MODEL GUIDANCE
A simulation of the basic process using model output.
BREAK: A 25-30 minute recess to enjoy a catered lunch…
Session 4: SEVERE WEATHER:
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
Session 5: WINTER STORMS:
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
QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION
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 email@example.com See you when the bell rings! Roll weather...T. Swails