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 regularly right
here on TSwails.com. Take it away Steve!
50 YEARS OF AS A STORM SPOTTER:
On July 1, 1970, I began my duties as a storm spotter for the Moline, Weather Bureau. I was recruited a few days earlier by one of their staff, Roger Wolken who came out to my home to inspect my wind equipment, a Taylor Windscope that I had purchased back in March of 1969. I still have the card they sent to me with instructions for reporting severe weather.
It was just 2 weeks later that I called in my first report. Since then I have issued scores of reports. For the first 25 years it was to the Moline Weather Bureau and for the past 25 years it was to the National Weather Service out of Davenport which established their current office at that location in June of 1995.
Since I began reporting storms I have seen at least a half dozen tornadoes and over a dozen funnel clouds.
Below are the 10 biggest weather events of my 50 years of official observations in Lowden, Iowa.
TOP TEN WEATHER EVENTS:
July 27, 1995 Tornado Outbreak - I spotted 3 tornadoes that afternoon, 1 n.w. of town and 2 of them south of town. No damage. The rotating wall cloud from the southern storm passed right over the center of Lowden. A storm later on produced 55 mph winds and frequent lightning.
June 20, 1974 - a super windstorm produced 100 mph wind gusts that caused considerable damage to trees, wires, poles and buildings. One tornado several miles west of town blew 15 train cars off the track and another small tornado swept across the north part of town tearing the roof off of the middle school gymnasium and the roof off of the country club's swimming pool bathhouse.
June 24, 2013 - record flash flood with 6.66" of rain in 5.75 hours. Major flooding closed 3 of the roads coming into town. There were 4 homes destroyed including mine. I was taken out with a boat due to the deep water.
Steve's flooded residence June 24, 2013...Courtesy of Dan Gottschalk
June 14, 1970 - a severe thunderstorm produced 93 mph wind gusts and 2.0" of rain which caused considerable damage to trees, wires, poles and buildings. This was my first official storm report.
Feb. 1-2, 2011 - Groundhog Day Blizzard produced 17.8" of snow, thunder & lightning, 52 mph winds, visibility down to zero and 8 to 10 foot drifts. I recorded 8.0" of snow in a 4 hour period and the wind chills were down to -25.
Feb. 24, 2007 - ice storm produced 0.66" of accumulated ice along with 45 mph winds brought down numerous poles and caused heavy damage to trees. The power was off in the area for 1 to 7 days.
Feb. 5-6, 2008 - a blizzard produced 15.6" of snow along with wind gusts over 35 mph. There were drifts from 10 to 15 feet.
June 16, 1990 - a flash flood with 6.6" of rain. Of that amount 4.5" fell in a 3.5 hour period. There was considerable damage due to the flooding.
July 8, 1986 - flash flood with 3.61" of rain falling on already saturated soils. Of that amount over 3.0" fell in a 2.5 hour period. Southern half of town was under water and a basement collapsed. There was also some wind damage.
Oct. 10, 1972 - a severe thunderstorm during the evening hours produced 2.0" diameter hail which covered the ground to several inches deep. There was quite a bit of damage to buildings and crops.
That's all for this edition. On the "wild" side of the weather, I'm Steve Gottschalk.
Thanks Steve, and before I sign off, here's to a safe and happy 4th of July to all of you. From a weather perspective it's about as straight forward as it gets. A stagnant pattern will see to it that we get more of the same through Monday. Skies are expected to be mostly sunny, winds light, with humidity a noticeable factor. Highs will be a few degrees above normal, generally in the upper 80s to near 90. No appreciable rain is expected. The EURO shows this for rainfall totals through Monday.
Highs Saturday July 4th
That's what's cooking in the weather world on this 4th of July. Until next time, happy Independence Day and roll weather...TS