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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!

October 100 Years Ago

October of 1922 was very warm. The state's average temperature was 56.1 degrees which was 5.5 degrees above normal. The warmest reading for the month was 96 at Guthrie Center on the 4th and the coldest reading was 14 at Little Sioux on the 17th.

The month was very dry for most of the state with an average of 1.81" which was 0.65" below normal. The greatest total was 3.93" at Fayette and the least was 0.06" at Davenport. The greatest 24 hour total was 2.75" at Fayette on the 6th-7th. There was a trace of snow in all sections of the state.

An interesting note was that there was a serious shortage of freight cars which prevented the marketing of valuable truck crops at this time. Every available warehouse was filled and some fields were not gathered for the lack of storage room.

Our First Freezing Temperatures Are Coming Later

Going over my 62 years of records I discovered that since 2000, our first freezing temperature is coming 3 to 4 days later than it did from the years 1960-1999. In the earlier years it was October 4th and now it's October 7th or 8th. Since 2015 it's coming 9 or 10 days later (October 13th -14th). The 1970's was a cooler decade with the first freeze being on Sept. 29th.

I have also found that if the first freeze were to occur in September it would most likely be during the week of the full moon followed by the new moon. If the first freeze would occur in October, it would be during the new moon.

How to Predict A Frost, without a weatherman

Here are a few tips for trying to predict a frost.

If the daytime high is 75 degrees or above there is little chance of seeing a 32 degree temperature.

If the winds stay up overnight the cool air doesn't get a chance to pool near the ground preventing a freeze.

If the sky stays cloudy there is little chance of frost.

If the dew point is above 45 degrees at sunset, there will be no freeze.

Cold Decembers Usually Bring A Cold And Snowy Winter

We have had 8 consecutive warm Decembers now. Will we see another one this year? We are due to get a colder one one of these times. My research has found that if you have a December with an average temperature of 20.6 degrees or colder, of which I have found 15, the winter is colder than normal, 87% of the time and the snowfall is normal to above normal, 73% of the time. Come on cold December!

The Number Of Crickets And Winter Snowfall

Many years ago, an entomologist named S.H.Scudder found that the field cricket's song notes were pitched in E natural, 2 octaves above middle C. It's customary tempo is 80 beats a minute.

I have noticed lately, that there are quite a few crickets out in the yard heading for the house. From the number of them that I have seen, I think we should see normal to above normal snowfall for the winter. Their accuracy since 1993 has been at least 70%.

An Old Country Almanac For The Week of September 28th - October 5th

This week usually sees 2 days with measurable rainfall but can ranged from 0 days to 6 days with rain. The chance of seeing 1" or more of rain on any of those 7 days is 18%. We usually have 3 clear days, 3 cloudy days, 1 partly cloudy day and 4 windy days with gusts of 25 mph or higher. The daily temperatures can be very variable during this week.

Sept. 29th - "If acorns are abundant on St. Micheal's Day, the fields will be white with snow at Christmas".

Sept. 30th - "When cockleburs turn brown, expect frost". The day should be dry. On this date in 1939, Sibley got down to 16 degrees.

Oct. 1st - "October always has 19 fair days". On this date in 1875, Iowa Weather Service began taking weather observations.

Oct. 2nd - The first quarter moon, the weather will be cooler, breezy with a chance of rain. Historically there is a 52% chance of frost on this date.

Oct. 3rd - "Much rain in October, much wind in December". The probability of rain on this day is 40%.

Oct, 4th - the moon is at perigee. Expect cool and windy weather. "Warm October, cold February".

Oct. 5th - the moon sits below Saturn. In 1963, the temperatures across the state ranged from 90 to 97.

Storm Of The Week

September 30th, 1961 a storm system produced heavy rains across the state. Northeastern parts of the state received some of the larger amounts with 3.37" at Elkader and 3.35" at Fayette which were all-time September single day records at both locations.

At the end of the storm, northwestern parts of the state saw the rain change to snow with 0.4" at Sioux City, 3.0" at Swea City, 2.0" at Emmetsburg and traces as far south as Council Bluffs and as far east as Mason City.

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


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