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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. Only one person takes climatology to a level like this. His name is Steve Gottschalk by way of Lowden, Iowa. He's a knowledgeable and interesting man. 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!

August Of 1881 Was Hot!

I found this in my old weather journal dated 1881 -

Aug. 1st-2nd - the high temperature on both days was 102 degrees in the shade.

4th - today's high temperature was 108 degrees in the shade.

5th - thunderstorms swept through the area with lots of wind and very little rain.

9th - the temperature today was 104 degrees in the shade.

24th - a small shower of rain today and the pastures are still crying for more.

Some Short Term Weather Predictors For August

Here are 4 clues that I look for, to make a forecast for the next 24 hours during the month of August.

If you have a heavy morning dew, there is a 90% chance that you will a dry day.

If the sunset is clear and the sky is a red or orange color, the following day will be dry about 90% of the time, especially if you have a favorable wind such as from the N.W., W. or a North wind.

he larger, Green Darner dragonflies are migrating already in groups from 6 to 2 dozen individuals. In the evening you can see them darting about catching the smaller insects. If they are flying high the weather next day will be dry over 85% of the time.

The Barn Swallows are congregating already. I saw a flock of 60 of them on the July 31st. They are a good weather predictor, too. If they are flying high the weather will stay dry, if they fly low, there will be rain. I have found that this is correct 80% of the time.

August's Driest And Wettest Days

This may come in handy if you are planning an outdoor event? I have went through my records and found that August 1st is usually the day with the lowest probability for rain at just 13%. The highest probability for rain is the 18th with 45% followed by the 4th, 5th, 10th and the 17th with 40%.

August Of 1895 Was Dry

I thought you may find this interesting? The observer at Belle Plain wrote: I have recorded in the state for 40 years and have never known the soil to be so dry. Many forests trees are dying.

At Cedar Rapids the observer wrote: The total rainfall from January 1st to August 31st was 13.79", which is 11.05" short of normal. Crops are well out of the way of frost. Water for the stock is the greatest need.

A Long Running La Nina

I went back through the ENSO index that goes back to 1950 to see what the longest lasting La Nina's were. The index had to be a -0.4 or lower. The longest one was from 1973-1976 which lasted for 36 months. The next longest ones were 1954-1956 and 1998-2001 which lasted for 33 months. The current one has lasted 24 months so far, from 2020 to the present.

One Of Iowa's Most Destructive Hailstorms

On August 18, 1925, one of the worst hailstorms in the state's history swept through the southeast portions of Iowa completely destroying the crops. The storm produced a swath from 6 to 10 miles wide and 75 miles long, killing countless poultry and livestock. The storm developed in the s.e. portion of Poweshiek County cutting a path southeast through Des Moines and Lee counties. One observer said the stones were of unbelievable size with some being disc shaped, 4" across and 2" thick. Many shingled roofs were pierced and stock of various kinds were killed. Passenger trains didn't have much window glass left and all windows on the exposed sides of homes were broken. Fields of corn up to 75 acres didn't have a single stalk standing. The damage was so complete that tenant farmers abandoned their leases and looked for employment elsewhere. This storm remained Iowa's most destructive hailstorm in history until June 23, 1981.

Climate Change And The Bees

Since the late 1980's and the early 1990's I have seen an 85% drop in the number of honeybees. Back in those earlier years a person would see from 8 to 10 bees everyday on either the flowers or the white clover. Now you may be lucky to see 1 or 2 bees a day.

There was a time in those earlier years, in the spring, the fruit trees were loaded with the honeybees. You could hear their buzzing from 20 feet away. There were hundreds of them in a good sized apple tree. I haven't seen any bees on the blooms of the apple of flowering crab trees for years. I have just found the hover or flower flies on the blossoms. If you do see a honeybee, it is usually later on in the spring. There was a time that you would see the first when the dandelions or chickweed bloomed, but not anymore.

As for the bumblebees, there has been a 50% drop in their numbers around here, since the early 1990's. They are also showing up a week to 10 days later than they use to. Nowadays you are most likely to see them where there are quite a few flowers and not just anywhere

That's all for this edition. Hope you enjoyed it! On the wild side of weather, I'm Steve Gottschalk

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