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STEVE'S "WILD" WORLD OF WEATHER...


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. He even has a lifetime achievement award from the National Weather Service for his devotion to data and science. 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 TSwails.com. Take it away Steve!


November's Weather 100 Years Ago

November of 1922 was warm with the Iowa state average temperature of 42.2 degrees, 7.2 degrees above normal. The warmest reading was 74 at Clarinda on the 4th and the coldest reading was 11 at Decorah on the 25th. At the end of the month the dandelions were still blooming, there were ripe strawberries and some people were still harvesting the more hardy vegetables from their gardens.


It was a wet month with the with the state's average precipitation total being 3.54" which was 2.03" above normal. The greatest amount was 5.28" at Iowa City and the least total was 1.96" at Perry. The greatest 24 hour rainfall was 2.08" at Glenwood on the 1st. The state's average snowfall was 0.3" which is 2.2" below normal.


Some more notable events were the high winds on the 5th and 30th. Sioux City had a wind gust of 56 mph from the S.W. on the 30th and Des Moines had a gust of 52 mph that day from the same direction. The mud roads were bad for the first 3 weeks of the month due to all the rain. On the 11th, 1,000 vehicles were stranded on the principal highway leading out of Iowa City for the homecoming celebration.

Iowa's Real Four Seasons?

I found this item in the 1891 issue of Iowa's Weather and Crop Bulletin about Iowa's 4 seasons. I found it interesting. It's different than the astronomical seasons.


Winter - Nov. 28th-Mar. 17th.

Spring - Mar. 18th-May 20th.

Summer - May 21st-Sept. 23rd.

Fall - Sept. 24th-Nov. 27th.

Some Interesting Weather History

This was found in an old weather periodical from Nov. 8, 1892. It reads... it was 35 years ago, Nov. 8, 1857, that the Des Moines River was frozen over above the mouth of the Raccoon River. The following winter (1858), was the most mild in the 35 years since. So mild that they had much trouble getting goods hauled from Iowa City and other points. That winter the state capitol was moved to Des Moines so that hauling all of the effects by horse teams from Iowa City was an issue with loads stuck in the Skunk Bottoms. That included the heavier safes, so a 2nd stronger team had to be brought in to help out.


In Polk County the grass was as green as in summer and the chickens were furnishing fresh eggs all winter. The crops of 1857 were bountiful and the prices were low but money was scarce.

An Old Country Almanac For The Week Of November 3-9th.

The week of Nov. 3-9th usually sees 2 days with measurable precipitation but it can range from 0 days to 6 days. The chance of seeing 1" or more of precipitation on any one of those days is 15%. We usually have 3 clear days, 1 partly cloudy day, 3 cloudy days and 4 days with wind.


Nov. 3rd - On this day in 1887, it froze so hard that the potatoes that weren't dug were damaged.

Nov. 4th - this evening the moon is closely, below Jupiter. On this day in 1867, the old-timers are predicting a severe winter.

Nov. 5th -" A cold November, a warm Christmas." Look for variable temps., some rain and wind.

Nov. 6th - "As the wind is in the month of November, so it will be in the month of December." On this day in 1873 we were having Indian Summer.

Nov. 7th - On this day in 1877, a snowstorm was raging in the afternoon.

Nov. 8th - There is a total eclipse of the Full Beaver Moon during the 2nd half of the night. On this day in 1890, a terrible spell of weather has driven the corn huskers indoors. Look for changeable temps., maybe some rain and windy.

Nov. 9th - On this date in 1975, a severe thunderstorm during the evening hours with 68 mph wind gusts and a tornado traveled N.E.'ly through Cedar, Clinton and Jackson counties doing heavy damage.

Below 32 Degree Temperatures And Winter Temperatures

I recorded 9 straight mornings with 32 degree or colder temperatures which ties for the 2nd most days with freezing readings along with 1987, 2013 and 2019. Two of those 3 years saw colder winters. I also found 7 years or more with consecutive days of 32 degree or colder reading. 5 of those years had a normal to colder than normal winter.

Storm Of The Week

A major winter storm, later known as the Halloween Storm, swept across the upper Midwest from October 30th into November 2nd, 1991 with some of the worst effects on Halloween. Snow moved into southern Iowa on the afternoon of the 30th, then changed to mix precipitation and ice on the morning of the 31st and continued until the afternoon of Nov. 1st. Total ice accumulations of 1" to 2.5" fell in a band from S.W into N.C. Iowa with up to 2" to 3" across S. and S.E. Minnesota


In N.W. Iowa, the precipitation fell as all snow with the amounts from 8" up to 16" at Estherville. Strong winds produced blizzard conditions into the 2nd. The damage from the storm was so extensive and severe that 52 out of 99 counties in the state were declared disaster areas. Highways and interstates were closed across much of Iowa.


The S.E. half of the state received from 1" to 4" of rain. Duluth, Minnesota was the winner with a record 36.9" of snow from the storm. Minneapolis had over 30". On Nov.1st, winds of 40 to 60 mph created blizzard conditions. There was $10 million worth of damage to the electrical systems in western parts of Iowa due to the ice storm. By the 4th, temperatures were well below 0 with Cherokee being the coldest at -11. Below a picture from Duluth.

Well, that is all I have for you in this episode. Hope you enjoyed it. On the wild side of weather, I'm Steve Gottschalk.

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