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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. After a long COVID break, Steve's "wild" world of weather can be found regularly right here on Take it away Steve!

A Terrible Hailstorm In Muscatine County

On June 25, 1877 a severe hailstorm swept through Muscatine County with an observer stating that the hailstones were the size of black walnuts on down. They fell in vast quantities and with great force. In some places where there was a large ravine with steep slopes on each side, they were washed down the ravine filling it to a depth of 5 feet. They were so well preserved by the rubbish that washed onto them that they were seen a week after the storm even though there were some very hot days. The observer visited the place 5 days after the storm and the stones were still 2 feet deep.

There was one man whose hand was cut to the bone by a hailstone. Windows were broken by the wholesale and in one home they came through the window, rebounded from the floor and broke a looking glass on the opposite side of the room. The floor was covered in hail and could not be seen by them after the storm. Blinds were broken and the paint completely knocked off the sides of the houses.

Hail Size Now And Then

The most common names for the sizes of hail nowadays are pea-size, marble-size, the size of pennies,dimes, nickels, quarters, half-dollars, ping pong ball, golf-ball, baseball, softball and grapefruit size.

Back in the 1800's and early 1900's the more colorful names were mostly nature related. I have seen these sizes in many of the old accounts:

pigeon eggs

quail eggs

hen's eggs

duck's eggs

goose eggs


hickory nuts

black walnuts




a man's fist

QUAIL EGGS (or hail)?

How To Make It Rain?

With all of the dry weather we have seen here lately,( for Lowden it was our driest first 19 days of June since 1988), I found some of these old methods on how to make it rain in my old almanacs and folklore books. You may want to try them out?

Step on an ant and it will rain.

Tread on an anthill and it will rain.

Kill a beetle and it will rain.

Burn some brush and it will rain.

If you kill a cricket it will rain in 3 days.

If you kill a spider it will bring rain within 24 hours.

If you find a dead snake either hang it in a tree or on a fence and it will rain.

If you keep opening and shutting a gate it will bring rain.

Footnote: I killed 3 spiders in my apartment on Friday & Saturday and we received 0.63" of rain on Sunday.

July's Lunar Weather Calendar

1st - variable temps.,breezy and possible rain

5-6th - warmer, breezy & rain

8-9th - cooler, breezy & rain

16-17th - variable temps., breezy & rain

20-21st - warmer, breezy & rain

22-23rd - variable temps., breezy & rain

29th - warmer, breezy & rain

31st - cooler with wind & rain possible

It's Been A Long Time Since We Have Seen 100 Degrees

With the recent heat wave I was curious as to when we had our last 100 degree temperature. For Lowden, it was Sept. 9, 2013. The summer of 2012 saw 5 days with 100 degree readings in July. We have had 4 days this month with the heat indices hitting 100 or higher. I have had 8 days with dew points of 70 degrees or higher. Lowden has had 14 days with readings of 90 degrees or higher which ties with 1971 for second place. The record is 15 days set back in 1963.

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

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