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!
JANUARY OF 1982...ONE FOR THE BOOKS:
The first in a series of nasty January weekends plagued the state of Iowa during the period Jan. 7-11, 1982. It brought strong winds, bitterly cold temperatures frigid wind chills, along with blizzard conditions that made travel hazardous.
The thermometer would bottom out on the 10th with nearly every station in the state recording a reading of a -20 or colder. Winds from 25 to 45 mph with higher gusts drove the wind chills down to -50 to -80. Some of the lows were -22 at Des Moines and Keokuk, -26 at Charles City, -27 at Waterloo, -30 at Waukon and -33 at Guttenberg. The new snow that had fallen along with the snow on the ground was whipped into drifts several feet deep and there were whiteout conditions.
For the second straight weekend (Jan.16th), Mother Nature would hit the state with several more inches of snow and winds of 45 mph while gusts to 60 mph whipped the snow into 10 foot drifts, creating huge travel problems. Some of the lows reported that morning were -22 at Muscatine, -24 at Boone and -25 at Maquoketa. Dangerous wind chills of -50 to -80 were again recorded. There were numerous deaths reported with this storm.
The third and final event occurred on Jan. 21-23rd. The evening of the 21st saw rain and freezing rain develop over S.W. Iowa spreading eastward across the state. By the next morning a thick layer of ice covered the southern sections with most roads and schools closed. Across the northern portions of the state heavy snow fell and by the 22nd, Eldora and Sioux Center received 12.0", Mason City 14.0", Sioux City 17.4" and LeMars18.3". Strong winds blew the snow into 15 to 20 foot drifts, created whiteout conditions making travel all but impossible. Then colder temperatures followed the storm on the 24th when it was -20 at Osage, -21 at Waterloo and -25 at Cascade.
Some of the higher January monthly snowfall totals were 29.1" at Sioux City, 35.0"at Dorchester and 41.5" at Buckeye. Buckeye also reported a snow depth of 42.0" on Jan, 27th!
SOLAR MINIMUM, RAIN AND CLOUDS:
We are currently in a solar minimum with very few or no sunspots being observed on the Sun's surface. Last year (2019), saw 281 days with no sunspots, the least amount since the start of the Space Age.
Some of the scientists suggest that an increase in cosmic rays affects the amount of clouds and rain which has a direct affect on the earth's temperature. During a solar minimum more cosmic rays reach the earth's atmosphere.
That's all for now, on the wild side of weather, I'm Steve Gottschalk