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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!


Of all the storms that I have witnessed in my almost 59 years of weather observing, the August 10th Derecho was the worst. It was only the second time that I have ever seen wind gusts to 100 mph. What was unique about this storm was the duration pf the extreme winds.

The only other time that I have seen this kind of wind was the Superstorm of June 20, 1974 when I clocked the wind gusts to 100 mph with my wind equipment. The winds in that storm lasted only 5 to 10 minutes. That storm had a small tornado with it that skipped across the northern part of town tearing the roof off of the middle school gymnasium and the roof of the bathhouse at the country club pool. When the tornado was west of town it took the roof of a farmhouse and derailed 17 cars of a C&NW train.

The first part of the recent storm swept through here at 1:05 p.m. with wind gusts of at least 60 mph and torrential rainfall. The sky had rapidly turned a dark blue with tinges of pink and green as this portion of the storm approached at a speed of 70 mph. The weather quieted down some after 10 of so minutes.

Just before 1:30 p.m., I heard a distinct roaring sound and looked off to the N.W. and saw the trees bend over about a quarter mile away. Then the wind hit with a whistling or high pitch screaming sound. The most damaging gusts lasted 15 to 20 minutes with the lesser gusts up to another half hour longer.

I watched the winds which had a twisting or swirling motion at times take down trees or large branches from my living room window. The visibility with the heavy rain was zero at times. I recorded 0.74" of rain with the storm but I'm sure the rain gauge may have only caught half of the total due to the wind. My barometer was behaving erratically during the course of the storm.

Here in town we had at least a dozen streets blocked by fallen trees and probably that many alleys, too. At least a dozen homes had trees or branches on them. Some vehicles were damaged and a camper was blown over. The roofs were damaged on several buildings and quite a few wires were down. North of town over 2 dozen poles were snapped off. Many farms in the outlying ares received damage. Power in town was out for 3 to 7 days. I have never seen so many trees down or damaged. (You can see the extent of the power outages in the before and after night-time satellite imagery).

The wind did some freakish things like picking up the roof of car dealership and setting it back down. There were trees that had their top branches sheared off cleanly like a lawn mower had done it. One person told me watched a beach ball get sucked straight up into air for 100 feet and then disappear.

The towns to the west and north of here had considerably more damage. Some of the farms had all of the buildings taken except for the house. This storm was one for the record books.


The last 2 windstorms we had occurred around the last quarter moon exactly 30 days apart. Looking back through my records for summer windstorms since 2000, I have found that they tend to occur more around the last quarter and new moons.


According to weather folklore when you have a summer with an abnormal amount of meteors the winter will be snowier than normal.

That's all for this edition. On the "wild" side of weather, I'm Steve Gottschalk

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