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. 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 TSwails.com. Take it away Steve!


May of 1934 Hot And Dry

May of 1934 was the hottest and driest on record at that time with the temperatures 9.6 degrees above normal. High temperatures the last 3 days of the month were 100 degrees or warmer. There were 10 days that month that were in the 90's. Every station in the state had readings of 100 or higher on the 31st. Inwood was the winner with a high of 111. Even Fayette saw a high of 109 on the 31st. It was just 6 days earlier (25th) that Mason City and Boone had lows of 30 degrees. Many work horses died from the heat.


The state average rainfall was only 25% of normal. Well digging and water hauling was a common activity. The town of Creston had a water emergency taking their water from a nearby lake. Pastures and hay fields were beyond recovery and there was only 1/2 of a hay crop. Oats and wheat were the poorest in 45 years. Records were broken for low humidity and high percentage of possible sunshine.


Dust storms were frequent and the sun was obscured at times making traveling hazardous. In some areas the snow fences were buried and snowplows were brought out to clear the roads with drifts from 1 to 3 deep.

A Late Freeze

On May 31, 1897, there was a hard freeze at Belle Plain which caused considerable damage to corn, fruit trees, potatoes, beans, tomatoes, strawberries and grapes. Ice was reportedly 1/2" thick on the water troughs.

The May 1890 Meteor


At 5:15 p.m. on May 2nd a meteor exploded over S.W. Winnebago county with a thunderous report. Fragments were scattered for several square miles. One chunk weighing 70 lbs. was found 11 miles N.W. of Forrest City.


The meteor passed over Sioux, O'brien, Palo Alto, Kossuth and Winnebago counties. It was also seen at Des Moines and Atlantic along with parts of the Dakotas and Minnesota. At West Bend the explosion was so loud that people and animals fell down and the buildings shook.


At Logan, the large meteor looked like a washtub and sounded like an earthquake, shaking the buildings. At Storm Lake, the meteor was the size of the moon in the N.E. sky with the smoke trail visible for 5 minutes with the sun shining brightly.

A Deadly May Cloudburst

On the evening of May 24, 1896 and into the early morning hours of the 25th, severe thunderstorms over N.E. Iowa produced torrential rains over Clayton, Dubuque and Delaware counties. A cloudburst occurred between McGregor and Buelah with the floodwaters sweeping away the entire valley clean of buildings, bridges and railroad cars off the tracks. Thousands of feet of track belonging to the Chicago, St. Paul and Milwaukee Road was carried away. Three families consisting of 18 people were killed in the flood.

Six miles west of Durango , a railroad station was swept away drowning 5 persons.

What A Temperature Contrast?

On May 21, 1895 at Rock Rapids the morning low was 24 degrees. Just 7 days later, the (28th), the thermometer soared to 104 at Glenwood.

Summer Outlook

Based on the current La Nina we are experiencing and the historical temperature trends, it looks like the summer will see near normal temperatures and will be little drier than normal.

I will have part 3 of Our Changing Weather next week. I am still doing some research. Anyway, that's it for this addition. On the "wild" side of weather, I'm Steve Gottschalk.

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