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!
Are April's Temperatures Changing? Just like I had done for the month of March, I decided to see if April's temperatures were changing. Going back through the records, this is what I came up with.
The 1870's were the coolest with an average of 46.4 degrees which was followed by the 1990's with 47.7 degrees. So far the 2020's (2020-2022) has been very cold with an average of 46.6. We shall see if that trend keeps going. The warmest decades were the 1940's with an average of 50.2 followed closely by the 1980's with 50.1 degrees.
From 1880-1909 the average was 48.5 degrees. There was a warming from 1910-1949 with an average of 49.2 degrees. The 1950's were cooler with an average of 48.5. The warmth returned from 1960-1989 with a 49.6 average. The 1990's were cooler again with 47.7 degrees. From 2000-2019 the warmth returned with a 49.1 average. The 2020's has been the coolest since the 1870's with a 46.6 average. What Will This April Be Like For Temperatures? I looked the El Nino Southern Oscillation index to see what April will see for temperatures. In the years it was going from a La Nina into a neutral phase, I found that April's temperature tended to be warmer than normal especially after a mild winter. A Mild Winter brings what for June And July Temperatures Going through my records, I found that when the winter's average temperature was 26.0 degrees or warmer, there was a 70% chance that June would be warmer than normal. I found that there was a 80% chance that July would be warmer as well, even when the ENSO was in a neutral phase. Our Latest Snowstorm Was Unusual The winter storm that hit east central Iowa and northeast Illinois on Saturday was most unusual. It began around midnight with rain and sleet at first then quickly changed to heavy snow. At my station I recorded 1.5" of snow between 1:00 and 2:00 a.m.; another 2.5" fell from 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. and 3.0" fell from 3:00 and 4:00 a.m. for a total of 7.0" in 3 hours. The 3.0" was a new snowfall rate record for me. I hadn't seen snowfall rates like that since the Groundhog Day blizzard in 2011. By the time the storm ended here at 8:00 a.m., a total of 10.0" had fallen.
The precipitation total for the storm was 1.01". The 0.92" that had fallen on the 25th was a new daily record. The wet heavy snow stuck to the trees and power lines. Some of the wires had 3.0" to 4.0" of snow on them weighing them down. The trees and shrubs were laying on the ground as well. We lost power here from 2:00 to 5:30 a.m. Five other towns in the area were without power also. Winds gusted to 25 mph at times.
The snowfall in the county ranged from 6" to 10". Cedar Rapids and Burlington didn't see a flake. There were reports of up to 17.0" of snow in northwest Illinois. The snow melted rapidly as the soil temperatures ranged from 45 degrees at 2.25" to 46 at 1".Our high temperature that afternoon was 47. The Tornado Outbreak Of March 29, 1979 On March 29, 1979, Iowa saw it's first tornado outbreak of the season. Four tornadoes touched down in the southern parts of the state during the late afternoon and evening hours. Five counties (Taylor, Warren, Page, Madison and Union) were declared disaster areas with over $ 4 million in damages. Twenty-two persons were injured.
The first tornado occurred at 5:45 p.m. It was an F4, 500 yards wide and traveled for 18 miles. It moved N.N.E. from northern Missouri directly through Braddyville destroying most of the town. Out of the 92 homes and businesses only 9 were undamaged and 32 were completely destroyed. There were 17 injuries.
The second tornado occurred at 6:10 p.m., an F3, 500 yards wide that traveled for 28 miles. It moved from the state's border to near Gravity to 2 miles N.W. of Lenox. Four farms were entirely destroyed(F4 damaged). One home that was destroyed had bricks fall on a man in the cellar. One injured.
The third tornado occurred at 7:05 p.m., an F3, 500 yards wide traveled for 51 miles. It began 4 miles W.N.W. of Shannon City then tracked 2 miles E. of Afton to near Lorimor to 1 mile S.E. of Peru then to 2 miles W. of Indianola. Several farms were destroyed. Two persons were injured when the tornado picked up their home and deposited it across the road in pieces. Damage was near F4 near St. Charles and St. Mary's. Four persons were injured in this storm.
The 4th and final tornado occurred at 8:40 p.m., an F2, 60 yards wide, traveled for 9 miles. It tracked from 6 miles N.E. of Indianola to near Runnels. A barn and house were damaged and a trailer house was destroyed.
That same day, golf-ball size hail fell at Logan and Ft. Dodge.
That's it for this edition. On the "wild" side of weather I'm Steve Gottschalk.