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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 Take it away Steve!


July 6, 1899 - A severe hailstorm swept through Marion County around 10 p.m. leaving a path of destruction 3 miles wide and 15 miles long. The hailstones ranged from walnut size to larger than goose eggs. The larger stones went through the roofs of buildings penetrating the ceilings of the rooms below.

July 14, 1987 - A severe hailstorm swept through Kossuth, Winnebago, Worth and Mitchell counties. At Grafton, the ground was covered with golf-ball size hail, 8" deep.

July 7, 2003 - A hailstorm producing softball size hail at Newton caused widespread damage to car dealerships and homes.

July 16, 2007 - A thunderstorm packing high winds and softball size hail caused widespread damage at Cedar Falls.

July 24, 2009 - Two rounds of storms moved through N.E. Iowa. The first one swept through from noon to the early afternoon hours producing nickel to silver dollar size hail and 60 to 70 mph winds in Delaware County. Larger hail from golf-ball to tennis ball size fell from Edgewood to Sands Springs leaving a path of damage 10 miles wide to crops, cars and buildings.

A second storm, more potent, swept through the same area a few hours later with 90 mph winds and hail from 2.0" diameter to softball size. In Winneshiek and Fayette counties many fields were stripped of all vegetation severely damaging the corn crop and ripping the siding off of buildings. In these 2 counties, 65,000 acres were completely destroyed and a much larger area was partially damaged.

On the morning of August 9, 2009, an impressive supercell thunderstorm rolled across northern Iowa leaving roughly a 150-mile path of destruction. At 10:32 a.m. CDT, 102 mph winds were measured in Eldora with hail up to 3 inches in diameter! This combination caused devastating damage to every home in town and any vehicle not in a garage as well as severe tree and crop damage near Eldora. Prior to the storm, the corn was 6 feet tall and the beans were fully mature but were both completely shredded. Here's a remarkable video take near Otho, Iowa, west of Eldora.

Damage to windows and siding was extensive.

Corn field fully destroyed.


July 20, 1860 - Around 8:30 a.m. a thunderstorm moved into the city of Marion. A bolt of lightning struck the schoolhouse on the north side of town. School was not in session yet but the teacher and 7 students were already there. The lightning knocked all 8 of them senseless to the floor. Three of the students died and the teacher and 4 other students were severely injured.


There is a weather folklore saying that you can determine the first frost after hearing the first dog day cicada sing. I heard the first one on July 9th which was 5 to 6 days later than usual. There are 3 variations of the saying: the frost will occur 12 weeks after, 90 days after and 3 months after the first song. Based on the 9th of July the first frost will occur as follows:

12 weeks - Oct. 1st

90 days - Oct. 7th

3 months - Oct. 9th

Only time will tell which one is the closest? That's all for this addition. On the "wild" side of weather, I'm Steve Gottschalk

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