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's even earned 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!
FIREFLIES AS WEATHER PREDICTORS
The first fireflies showed up here on the 9th which is 3 days earlier than the average and 6 days earlier than last year. The weather folklore states that if they are seen flying high in the evening, the night will remain dry; if they are seen flying low, there will be rain overnight. I have been keeping track of them since they showed up and they haven't missed yet. There aren't as many as last year.
THE SMOKEY SKIES CONTINUE
So far I have observed smokey skies on 14 days this month. On several days the smoke was noticeable at the surface as well. Previously, the most days in June with smoke was in 2019 with 3 days. I had 9 days in May which brings the total to 23 days for the season. I have heard that we may see quite a few more?
Active wild fires the past week.
DRY AIR EQUALS LARGE SWINGS IN THE DAILY TEMPERATURES
So far this month I have recorded 7 days on which the humidity has been 30% or lower. I have never seen so many days like this for so late in the season. When you think of June you expect high humidity. The highest dew point I have had this season was 67 degrees. Here are some of the dates and dew points for June of last year. Quite a change from this year.
June 12th - 71 degrees.
June 13th - 80 degrees.
June 14th - 72 degrees.
June 15th - 74 degrees.
June 21st - 75 degrees.
June 29th - 70 degrees.
This year I had dew points of 37 degrees on the 8th and 9th and 39 degrees on the 12th. Back in June of 2021 I recorded 15 days with dew points of 70 degrees or higher. What a difference in 2 years time.
The dry air this June has resulted in a large daily range in temperatures (maximum to minimum). For the first 20 days of the month, the average daily range in temperatures has been 30.7 degrees, a record for my station.
SOME HISTORICAL WEATHER EVENTS FOR EASTERN IOWA
June 23, 1981 - One of the most destructive hailstorms in the state's history up to this time. The total damage in Iowa was $181 million and in adjacent southern Minnesota the damage was $280 million. The counties of Winnebago, Worth and Mitchell sustained the most damage with tennis ball size hail. A swath 5 miles wide by 20 miles long from Saint Ansgar to Osage saw severe damage with a path 3 by 15 miles seeing total crop destruction.
Hail risk United States
Winds gusting from 60 to 70 mph destroyed the grandstand at the Buchanan County fairgrounds at Independence. Strong winds threw airplanes into the fields at the Oelwein airport. Numerous roads were underwater from 5" to 6" of rainfall in the area. Heavy rains caused urban flooding in downtown Cedar Rapids.
June 24, 1898 - High winds caused damage to the county fairground buildings at Toledo and broke windows and destroyed outbuildings at Marshalltown.
June 26, 1978 - severe thunderstorms produced 92 mph winds at the Cedar Rapids airport flipping over airplanes and damaging hangars.
June 28, 1960 - severe thunderstorms moved into S.E. Iowa during the evening hours. At Ottumwa, 2.0" of rain fell in 15 minutes along with baseball size hail. The airport recorded a wind gust of 115 mph which was the highest official wind speed ever recorded in the state up to this time.
June 28, 1978 - severe thunderstorms affected most of the state. Strong winds tore the roof off of the high school at Morning Sun. At Ottumwa, 73 mph winds blew out windows and toppled trees along with 1.4" of rain falling in 30 minutes causing urban flooding. Flash flooding occurred at Marengo where 3.25" of rain fell. Iowa City had 2" to 4" of rain in 90 minutes which stranded cars and backed up sewers. At Humboldt, 4.5" of rain fell in 45 minutes damaging many roads.
That's all for this edition. On the "wild" side of weather, I'm Steve Gottschalk.