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HOW SWEET IT WAS...
Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Wish our turkey day temperatures would be as warm as what we enjoyed Wednesday but unfortunately we are in for a rather abrupt change in that department today. Here's where we ended up Wednesday afternoon, highs in much of the region in the range of 54-60 degrees. How sweet it was!
Today we are expecting readings to be down 20-25 degrees from where they were yesterday.
That leaves us with Thanksgiving highs of just 31-36 degrees.
Even worse, stiff NW winds gusting over 30 will generate wind chills all day in the upper teens to low 20s. Ouch, that's not fun!
The chilly weather lingers into Friday before the approach of a clipper turns winds southerly again Saturday. Highs go from the mid to upper 30s Friday to the mid to upper 40s Saturday. While Thursday and Friday will be dry, the clipper could generate enough warm air advection for some light showers Saturday afternoon or evening. Moisture is limited and with the best forcing further north, any rain should be brief and light with totals on the light side. The EURO shows amounts that look like this.
The GFS is lighter. I think a compromise is in order with a lean towards the lighter totals closer of the GFS.
With that disturbance out of the area Sunday, we conclude the holiday weekend with mostly sunny skies and cooler temperatures. Even with a cool-down, Sunday's readings will end up in the low 40s which is close to normal.
Since I am on the road spending some time with my family Thanksgiving, I am going to keep this brief, especially with the lack of impactful weather into early next week. However, as a bonus my good friend Steve Gottschalk has been doing research on cold winters. Last week he featured data on the coldest December's, this week he touches on January. He found so much information that he is doing his segment in four installments. He's also got some interesting research on lunar phases and their impacts on cold waves and snowfall during the month of December. Last but not least, he also has an update on the woolly bear caterpillar winter outlook. Take it away Steve.....
I went back through Iowa's coldest Januaries and found 28 of them which had average monthly temperatures of 10 degrees or colder. The 1880's had 6 of these cold Januaries, the 1860's and 1970's had 4 years with similar cold. The last time we had a January with an average temperature of 10 degrees or colder was 1982! I used various sources to come up with this research and will present it in 4 parts going back to 1831.
January of 1831 Jan. 3-4th - heavy snowfall with very cold temperatures. Jan. 14th - at least 2 feet of snow on the ground with drifts up to 10 feet deep. Jan. 15th - snowstorm from the northwest. Jan, 22nd - temperature was -20 degrees this morning. Jan. 31st - a snowstorm today, the month's average temperature was more than 10 degrees below normal, there were at least 16 mornings of below 0 temps. and the temperature never got above freezing all month. January of 1856 Jan. 7th - temp. this morning was -20. Jan. 8th - the coldest day on record, 7 a.m. -26, 2 p.m. -21 and 9 p.m. -25. Jan. 9th - temp. this morning was -30. Jan. 10th - temp. this morning was -30. this marks the 10th straight morning with below 0 temps. Muscatine lows for the 7th - 10th were -15, -22, -26 and -25. Jan. 11th - snowing very hard today and the ground is well covered Jan. 16th - temp. got up to 30 degrees today, our warmest of the month. Jan. 19th - fine sleighing now. Jan. 23rd - a very cold day, 2 "sun dogs" were seen. Jan. 31st - the average monthly temp. was 10 degrees, there were 8 days where the temperature never got above 0. Muscatine had 12.2" of snow for the month. January of 1857 Jan. 4th - very stormy, the snow is much drifted and the cold was very intense, several persons froze to death in Cedar County. Jan. 15th - this morning the temp. was down to -18, at noon it was -13. Jan. 17th - this past week the temperatures were a -15 or colder. Jan. 18th - a very bitter day, at 7 a.m. -32, at 2 p.m. -8 and at 9 p.m. -21. At Muscatine the 3 readings were -30, -5 and a -19. Jan. 21st - morning temp. was -21. Jan, 22nd - morning temp. was -18. Jan. 31st - it was the 3rd coldest January ever with a monthly average of 5.0 degrees. There were 20 mornings with 0 degree readings, plenty of snow that was much drifted and more people froze to death in Iowa than was ever known before. Muscatine had 19 days with 0 degree temps., the coldest being a -30. January of 1860 The average monthly temperature was 9.5 degrees with plenty of snow. January of 1861 Jan. 3rd - there is plenty of snow for first rate sleighing and 3 cold nights with lows ranging from -14 to -19. Jan. 15th - a considerable thaw yesterday and today but this evening it commenced snowing and continued through the night, this morning there was almost another foot on the ground. Jan. 17th-18th - a severe snowstorm began in the evening and raged til forenoon of the following day. The snowcover is from 2.5 to 3 feet on the level in the timber. The high winds caused considerable drifting blocking all of the roads. The last 2 storms were hard on the railroads, they couldn't get through in places. Jan. 30th - the coldest morning of the month with a low of -20. The snow is packed and there is fine sleighing. Jan. 31st- The average monthly temperature was 9.2 degrees. January of 1862 Jan. 13th - we had our coldest day of the month this past week with a morning low of -25. It had moderated some since then. Jan. 26th-27th - our heaviest snowfall of the season began this evening and continued until the following morning. Nearly a foot fell. Jan, 31st - the average monthly temperature was 4.6 degrees. January of 1864 Two storms near the end of December of 1863 would provide the deep snow cover which would lead up to one of the most sever Arctic outbreaks ever in the Midwest up to this time. A storm on the 27th-28th deposited a total of 15.1" of snow at Muscatine in a 12 hour period, 12" fell at Independence. Another storm moved into the state on the 30th with the observer at Iowa Falls reporting - the wind blowing a hurricane, snow as fine as flour with the visibility down to 2 rods for most of the day on the 31st. The storm lasted from 7 p.m. on the 30th to 4 a.m. on Jan. 1st. At dawn in Lyons (near Clinton), a blizzard was raging and by noon the temperature stood at -20. On the 31st the 3 temperature readings at Charles City was -8, -17 and a -24. The observer at Fort Madison said it was the worst storm ever. In Muscatine, 100 head of cattle were lost locally along with many sheep frozen and more smothered from huddling together in the extreme cold.
On Jan. 1st, Charles City's 3 observations were -25, -21 and -23, at Waterloo the 3 observations were -30, -20 and -26. At Tipton the morning low was -25. Jan. 4th - the townspeople and farmers tried opening the roads. Most of the townspeople were out of wood and there was no flour to be had as the mills were all frozen up. Much livestock froze and perished. The oldest citizens say it's the worst winter ever. The snow depth is 2.5 feet on the level. Jan. 10th - the first 10 days of the month were the coldest ever. Iowa City's average temperature was -7.0 degrees. There were 10 straight mornings with below 0 temps., The temperature was continuously below 0 for almost 5 days. Jan. 12th - this was the first day that the temperature wasn't below 0. Jan. 25th-26th -light snow fell here for the past few days. Jan. 31st - a snowstorm during the evening hours with 6" falling. The average monthly temperature was 8.1 degrees. January of 1875 Jan, 7th - winter is here. Jan. 8th - this afternoon, a terrible blizzard caught people off guard, the change was so sudden, frozen toes, ears and fingers were common. It was the coldest, fiercest and altogether worst storm known for many a year. Jan. 21st - we are experiencing a long cold snap, ice is thick on the rivers and teams have been crossing for the past 2 weeks now. The thermometer has forgotten how to rise and there is much sleighing going on. Jan. 28th - the sleighing is good and slippery sidewalks are the rule this winter. Where is the January thaw? Jan. 31st - the average monthly temperature was 4.9 degrees.
December Cold waves And Lunar Phases My research has shown December cold spells are more likely to occur during the week of the full moon and the first quarter moons 64% of the time, during the the new moon - 39% of the time and the last quarter moon - 36% of the time.
December Snowfalls And Lunar Phases My research has shown that December snowfalls of 4" or more tend to occur during week of the full moon 48% of the time, during the weeks of the first quarter and last quarter moons 33% of the time and the week of the new moon 30% of the time. Woolly Bear Update I have 17 of the caterpillars now and they are still predicting normal to colder than normal temperatures for the winter. Have a terrific holiday and take the time to appreciate your family, friends, and blessings! You won't regret it...