top of page
thumbnail_1 ts baner, future in your hands.png


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 Take it away Steve!

How Many Snows This Winter?

We had our 1st snowfall of the season on the 15th, I measured 2.4" at my location, most of which melted, especially after the lunch hour. In order to use the Snowfall Formula you need at least a tracking snow of 0.25" or more. Using the 4 different formulas here is what is to be expected for the number of snows this season.

Date - 15 snows

Days since the new moon - 21 snows

Days since the new moon plus the date - 36 snows

Days since the full moon - 7 snows

If you average them all together - 20 snows

Last year the average for the 4 formulas was 17 and I had a total of 17 snowfalls for the season. I did a study over 25 years ago to see which formula was the most accurate and it was the one "days since the new moon and the date". I think that it may have changed since 2000? I will do a new study sometime to see which is the most accurate.

Our Ten Snowiest Novembers

The state's 10 snowiest are as follows:

1. 1991 - 11.1"

2. 1959 - 8.9"

3. 1898 - 8.7"

4. 1947 - 7.9"

5. 1934 - 7.2"

6. 1983 - 7.1'

7. 1928 - 6.9"

8. 1909 - 6.8"

9. 1985 - 6.7"

10. 1971 - 6.6"

November Of 1974 Was Snowy For Eastern Iowa

I remember it was exceptionally snowy in November of 1974, in fact it was the snowiest in my 63 years of record with 12.7" falling. Some other totals for this part of the state were:

Columbus Jct. - 18.0"

Burlington - 16.0"

Muscatine - 15.5"

Iowa City - 12.0"

Cedar Rapids - 11.6"

Davenport - 8.0"

The Year 1900 Was Exceptional For The Number Of Lightning Deaths

During my ongoing research of Iowa's weather history I found that the year of 1900 was very deadly when it came to the number of fatalities due to lightning. I counted a total of 23 deaths and at least 22 injuries. There was also much damage to livestock and property. Here is a monthly breakdown:

July - 10 deaths

June - 7 deaths

May - 2 deaths

August - 2 deaths

September - 2 deaths

About Conifers And Their Needles

I had a question several weeks ago about trees shedding their needles? The conifers shed in the Fall like the deciduous trees with the oldest needles dropping. The needles in the inner area of the tree, near the trunk, are usually less dense. The pines shed their 3 year old needles and the spruce and fir shed their 4 to 5 year old needles.

An Old Country Almanac For The Week Of November 24-30th

This week usually sees 2 days with measurable precipitation but can vary from 0 days to 5 days. The day with the highest probability for seeing any precipitation is the 27th with a chance of 53% and the day with the least probability is the 25th with a 23% chance. The chance of any one of those days seeing 1" of more is 15%. We usually see 2 clear days, 1 partly cloudy day, 4 cloudy days, and 4 windy days during this week.

Nov. 24th - on this day in 1863, a snowstorm deposited 6" of snow on the area.

Nov. 25th - " The weather of November 25th will be the weather of February." Look for colder temps., a chance of rain or snow and wind.

Nov. 26th - In 1860, the Wapsipinicon River was frozen over and wagons/teams were crossing. Look for variable temps., a chance of rain or snow and some wind.

Nov. 27th - " An uneasy stomach always tells you of an advancing storm." In 1873 on this day, we are having snow and mud.

Nov. 28th - the moon hangs below Saturn. On this day in 1889 the old-timers were predicting a severe winter.

Nov. 29th - "If snow falls in flakes which increase in size, expect a thaw". On this day in 1874 - a snowstorm with 4" falling.

Nov. 30th - the first quarter moon. It's St. Andrew's Day. "If on St. Andrew's day, in the evening , most of the dew or wet remains on the grass; it betokens a wet season to follow, if dry, the contrary." Look for warmer temps., a chance for rain or snow and some wind.

That's all for this addition. I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! On the "wild" side of weather, I'm Steve Gottschalk.


bottom of page