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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. He's a knowledgeable and interesting man. His name is Steve Gottschalk by way of Lowden, Iowa. I'm grateful to him for lending his unique perspective to the site. After a long COVID break, Steve's "wild" world of weather can be found regularly right here on Take it away Steve!


My research has shown that since 2000 our annual precipitation has increased by 0.74". The largest increase was during the winter months with an increase of 0.58". The summer was next with an increase of 0.33" followed by spring's 0.05". The autumn was seeing 0.22" less.

Focusing on the growing season's rainfall from (April-September), we have seen an increase in the number of days with 1" or more rainfall.

April saw a 40% increase

May saw a 35% increase

June saw a 32% increase

July saw a 27% increase

September saw a 6% increase

August was the outlier with a 32% decrease in the number of days and I don't know the reason for that. I'm still working on it.

Since 2013 we have seen a 56% increase in the number of days with 2" or more of rain.

I have noticed that our dry spells (the number of days during a period when we receive a total of 0.10" or less) in April, has increased by 2 days. There was little change for the other months.

Our annual snowfall has increased by 1.0" but the number of days with measurable snowfall is the same. We are seeing an increase of 3.0" of snow during the winter months but 1.6" less during the spring and 0.4" less during the autumn months. We have 3 less days with a snow cover of 1" or more during the year.

I will have part 3 in next week's blog.


Over 30 years ago I participated in a study to see how much the jet contrails contributed to cloud cover. Once in the morning and again in the afternoon I would count the number of contrails noting whether they were short or long, and if they would spread out into cirrus clouds. I did this for a year. I started keeping track of them on my own, now. It's a good indicator of changing weather.

If the contrails disappear quickly that is a good sign that the atmosphere is dry and that the weather will remain dry. If the contrails persist and spread out into cirrus clouds that means that the atmosphere is moistening, leading to further cloud development and precipitation. Note the wind direction, too. That's important.


I found this information in an old meteorological textbook over 30 years ago. It has to do with how much sunlight each surface will reflect, like a mirror.

Large thunderstorm - 92%

Fresh snow - 88%

Thick cirrostratus clouds - 74%

Thick statocumulus clouds - 68%

Snow (3-7 days old) - 59%

Thin stratus clouds - 42%

Thin cirrostratus clouds - 32%

Coniferous forest - 12%

Water surface - 9%


My research over the years has shown that you can expect 2 or 3 days with rain during the week of the first quarter moon in May. This would be from the 19th - 25th.

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


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