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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!


There has been an increase in the frequency of storms with hail (marble size or larger) and damaging winds since 2012. In some places more than others. The number of flash flood events has also seen a sharp increase in June. Lowden has had 3 consecutive Junes with flash flooding due to these rains:

2013 - 7.17"

2014 - 5.25"

2015 - 3.43"

My research has shown that since 2010, June's average monthly rainfall has increased by 2.07". That's compared to the previous 50 years of record (1960-2009). The average monthly total over the last 11 years is 6.59".

Overall since 2000, the annual number of days with glaze has increased by 1 day, there were 2 less days with sleet, 15 more days with fog, 32 more clear days, and 26 more cloudy days.


June of 1900 was a deadly month for lightning deaths in Iowa. A total of 8 people were killed and another 8 were injured. Here are a couple of the more interesting events

During the storm at Sioux City on June 20th there was a wonderful electrical manifestation in the vicinity of the combination bridge. The lightning played along the superstructure of the big bridge, and as it ran along from one span to another, streaks of fire would dart off and strike the surface of the water in the river, causing a splash. The steam would arise as though a bar of red hot iron had been soused in the water.

On the afternoon of the 21st, a man was killed by lightning, 4 miles south of Rolfe while he was standing in his barn waiting out a shower. The electric current melted the case of his silver watch but the watch kept on running. It also extracted the nails and eyelets from his shoes.

In Buchanan County on the 21st, a man was plowing when a thunderstorm came up. Lightning struck, killing one of the horses and tore the plow to pieces. The man and other horse were not harmed.


Around these parts the first fireflies show up around June 12th, according to the records that I have kept since 2005. They have appeared as early as the 1st and as late as the 24th. I think it depends on how cool the Spring is.

The old folklore states that when the fireflies are seen flying high in the evening, the weather will stay dry overnight but if they are seen flying low, it will rain before sunrise. I have found this to be true about 90% of the time.


A dripping June brings all things in tune.

A wet June, a dry September.

When it is the hottest in June, it will be the coldest on the corresponding days of next February.

Calm weather in June, sets the corn in tune.


On June 1, 1916, severe thunderstorms swept across N.E. Iowa from 5:00 p.m. til midnight with torrential rainfall. At Decorah, 3.21" of rain fell in 1.5 hours. There were much higher amounts in other areas. The runoff flowed down the steep hillsides into the creeks and rivers, overflowing them and sweeping away bridges, buildings and livestock.

A passenger train derailed at a washout near the little town of Packard, killing 16 persons and injuring many more.

Along the Decorah, Fort Atkinson and MacGregor Railroad Line, over 25 large buildings, a large number of county bridges and culverts were damaged or destroyed.

Water rushed down the main street of MacGregor flooding the stores, doing a great deal of damage. The damage was so severe to the railroad property, that normal traffic on the branch lines were suspended for 6 weeks or more. It took many months to make permanent repairs. Damage to the railroads was $250,000, county roads, bridges and culverts was $150,000 and homes and businesses was $100,000.

That's it for this addition. On the "wild" side of weather, I'm Steve Gottschalk.


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