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 BIG ONE! THE RECORD SNOWSTORM OF MARCH - 1951
A major winter storm swept across the state from March 10-14, 1951. The storm began as freezing rain in south and western Iowa on the 10th but quickly switched over to snow nearly statewide as it progressed to the east. It would continue to snow for nearly 90 hours in some areas and intermittently for more than 100 hours in a few localities.
Storm totals generally ranged from 22"-27" in some northwest and southeast cities to 12"-18" in the central sections. The highest storm total was 27.2" at Iowa City which was a storm record for anywhere in the state. Of that total, 21.2" of the fell on the 11-12th. The New Hampton area received 18.0" on the 12th, Elkader received 16.0" and Osage had 13.0" on the same day.
Some of the higher storm totals were:
Lowden - 24.0"
Davenport and Marshalltown - 21.0"
Oskaloosa - 20.0"
Grinnell - 18.0"
Fort Dodge - 16.5"
Burlington - 16.2"
Dubuque - 15.5"
Ames - 15.0"
Des Moines - 13.3"
Cedar Rapids -19.9"
The storm brought all travel and transportation including air traffic to a halt across most of the state. Sixteen of the numbered highways were blocked. There were 200 large trucks and semi-trailers stalled on the roads with 160 of them between Nevada and Marshalltown. A state of emergency was declared in some cities including Cedar Rapids where 19.9" of snow fell with 11.1" of that total falling on the 12th.
The statewide average snowfall of 14.3" that fell from the 10th to the 14th was easily the heaviest snow-storm on record. Second place goes to the January 2-4, 1971 storm which was about 4.0" less.
The state's monthly total snowfall of 23.2" was the greatest total for any March and was 4 times the usual average. The greatest monthly total was 42.0" at Northwood and Osage. Elkader had 40.8" for the month.
MARCH LAST QUARTER MOON AND PRECIPITATION:
My research has shown that there is a 57% chance of some form of precipitation within 24 hours of the arrival of the last quarter moon. The last quarter moon arrives on the 16th this year. We usually have 2 to 3 days with precipitation during the week of the last quarter moon which is from the 16th-23rd.
THE SPRING ROBINS AND SNOW:
The robins showed up around here on March 1st. There is a bit of weather folklore that says: After the robin comes in spring, he'll get snow on his back three times before it stops. I have seen this come true many times over the years.
OUR FIRST 70 DEGREE DAY IS COMING EARLIER:
After doing some research with the 60 years of data that I have I have found that our first 70 degree day is coming 6 days earlier than it use to.
1960-1989 - April 1st
1960-1999 - March 30th
1990-2019 - March 23rd
Since 2000 - March 24th
That's all for this edition. On the "WILD" side of weather I'm Steve Gottschalk.
WOULD LOVE TO HAVE YOU FOR WEATHER SCHOOL..
There's still space available for about 25 people in our newest addition of weather school. We've put a lot of work into developing interesting and educational content with the goal of teaching you how to foresee and forecast severe weather. The small size of the class will allow a very personal and interactive experience. This will be a fantastic chance to see and learn about the most violent storms on earth. It's a robust session with interactive simulations and heart thumping videos! Click on the banner below for more details or, email the fabulous Carolynswettstone@yahoo.com to grab a spot. Would love to have you as our guest.