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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. 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 Take it away Steve!


Here are a few weather sayings having to do with the days of the month.

"Rain on July first brings 17 rainy days that month." Using my data I found that you will have 11 days of rain during the month on the average when this happens. Of the 13 years that rain fell on this day, only 1 year came close to being true. In 1993, there were 19 rainy days.

"It always rains on the 4th of July." Once again, using my data, I found it true only 30% of the time.

"As the weather on July 10th, so it will be for 7 weeks." I didn't test this saying.


Using my rainfall data for the first 6 months of the year, I have found that the driest days of the month have been the 10th, 13th and 29th with just Traces recorded.

The wettest days have been the 5th and the 16th with measurable amounts of precipitation falling on 4 of 6 months or 67% of the time.


I have been collecting weather folklore since the late 1960's and I found this list among my notes. I thought I would share it with you.

Before rain falls.....

Dogs are lazy and want to sleep.

The cat washes it's face.

Horses are restless and easily frightened.

Geese are very noisy and poultry seek their roosts.

Ants are all in a hurry and skurry laying in supplies.

Spiders crowd together on the wall.

Toads, snails and slugs are on the garden paths - frogs croak.

Birds cry "weet, weet".

The peafowl becomes very excitable and talkative.


For the month of June, I recorded 21 days with either smoke aloft or at the surface. This was the most days for the month of June in my records and the 2nd greatest number for any month. Only July of 2021 had more with 24 days. For the year, we now have 30 days. This is also the 2nd greatest number for any season, behind 2021, that had a total of 43 days.

We have a long ways to go yet this season with all of the fires burning in Canada. I started a special journal just to keep track of the days with smoke. I have recorded smoke on 16 different years since 1988. Since then I have a total of 153 days with 136 or 88% of those days, occurring during the past 10 years. Things are changing. Could we expect to see this occur every year? It has been 7 years in a row now.


This time of the year the ant colonies start to release their queens. You will see them swarming around their anthills either in your yard or on the sidewalk. They are shoving their queens and drones (males) out of the nest so they will mate and start a new colony elsewhere. The queens and drones are larger than the workers and they both have wings.

The saying goes that when you see this occurring, the weather will stay dry for at least 24 hours. This is correct at least 95% of the time. I have seen this occur twice already this season and it stayed dry. The ants need the dry weather so their wings don't get wet and they can fly to a suitable site.


July 4, 1876 - severe weather swept across the state spawning several tornadoes. One tornado killed 3 people in the south part of Burlington. Another tornado moved directly through Cedar Rapids causing much destruction. Later that evening thunderstorms produced torrential rain in the Dubuque area, after midnight resulting in flash flooding that killed 44 persons.

July 6, 1993 - record flooding on Old Man's Creek, SW of Iowa City and on the English River S of Kalona. Near record crests on Clear Creek at Coralville, the North Skunk River at Sigourney and the Maquoketa River at Maquoketa.

July 7, 2003 - severe thunderstorms drop ping pong ball size hail at Waterloo. Maquoketa receives 2.0" of rain in 35 minutes.

July 9, 1980 - severe thunderstorms sweep across NE Iowa during the early morning hours. A wind gust of 105 mph at the Waterloo airport tears the roof off of the control tower. 70 airplanes and 9 National Guard helicopters were damaged. The winds blew over a mobile home at Dunkerton injuring 5 people.

July12, 1971 - several significant tornadoes swept across NE Iowa. One F3 tornado produced damage in Worth and Mitchell counties passing near St. Ansgar. Another F4 tornado injured 8 persons along a path from near Elma, SE to Lawler then lifting SW of Waucoma.

July 13, 1995 - record heat wave from the 12th to the 15th. Temperatures in the 90's to over 100 degrees along with dew points in the 80's. On the 13th, Cedar Rapids had a temperature of 100 degrees along with a dew point of 85 making for a heat index of 131 degrees. Many cattle and poultry died on account of the heat.

Well that's all for this edition. On the "wild" side of weather, I'm Steve Gottschalk



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