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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!


This is my 100th blog on Terry's website. My first was on October 9, 2019. I hope that you have found them interesting and informative over the years. I enjoy sharing my observations and knowledge on weather and nature with you and I look forward to doing so in the future. The weather continues to get more interesting with time and I'm still learning after all of these years. I'm currently working on my winter prediction, which is going to be tricky! Thank you for for taking the time to read my thoughts on all things weather.


If you think our current heat wave is bad, check out what we were going through 63 years ago. The first 8 days of September of 1960 saw an unprecedented heat wave settle over the state. The average maximum temperature for the first 8 days of the month in east central Iowa ranged from 94 to 98 degrees.

The warmest reading during the 8 days was 98 at Muscatine and Williamsburg, 97 at Iowa City, Davenport and Tipton and 94 at Cedar Rapids. For the eastern half of the state, Columbus Junction had the warmest with 101 and Keosaqua had 100. The highs at Dubuque and Waterloo were 94.

The average high temperature for the 8 day period at Muscatine was 96.0, Davenport had 94.6 and Cedar rapids had 92.9.

The heat wave broke later on the 8th with a windstorm at Maquoketa and a wind and hailstorm at Clinton.


We have had more than our share of 90 degree or higher days this season. My station has recorded a total of 39 such days so far this season. Here is a my monthly totals.

May 3 days

June 11 days

July 11 days

August - 11 days

September - 3 days

I was wondering if there were any correlations between El Nino's, the number of 90 degree days and temperatures for the upcoming winter. Using my weather data since 1960, I found 16 years of El Nino's and 8 of those years had 20 or more 90 degree days that season. Seven of those 8 years had normal to below normal temperatures that following winter.


It has been a very dry growing season. Since April 1st my station in Lowden has compiled an 11.50" rainfall deficit. My total for the summer season was 7.44" which is 6.35" below normal. This was my 6th driest summer in my 64 years of record.

I thought I would see if there was any connection between the dryness using the 19 years of El Nino's I've been studying. I have found that when you have an El Nino and a dry summer, the winter ahead has below normal snowfall.


My station recorded just 1.66" of rainfall over the month of August. That makes it the 11th driest in my 64 years of record. Looking at the top 10 driest August's, I also found that September tends to be drier than normal, 60% of the time.


I heard my first katydid singing in the cornfield east of my apartment on the evening of August 3rd. The old weather saying states that "Frost will occur in 6 weeks after you hear the first katydid." That would be on September 14th. Although we have had freezing temperatures around here on the 14th, I wouldn't put much stock in that happening. I think the cicadas are a much better first frost predictor than the katydids.


My daughter saw her first woolly bear caterpillar on August 25th while out on her walk. She said that it had 7 brown bands which would indicate a mild winter. This is usually a little early for them to be out and about, especially with the recent hot weather.


On Sept.7, 1859 - An early freeze hit parts of eastern Iowa with some sections seeing whole fields of corn that were ruined. Half of the corn crop in Cedar County was injured more or less. Not more than 2/3's of a crop at best. In Dubuque County the surrounding area around the city, the corn crop was a total failure.

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

By the way, I would personally like to thank Steve for all the knowledge and effort he puts into his posts. It's clear the passion he has for all things weather. I know the state climatologist, the NWS, and numerous other sources depend on his reliable and vast expanse of detailed data. He's a one of a kind personality who is incredibly kind. I'm very lucky to have him as a contributor to the site. Keep up the good work Steve!


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