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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!

Early June Heat Wave

The 11 day stretch of 90 degree temperatures (3rd-13th) was a new record for so early in June at my weather station here in Lowden. We had 3 days in a row with heat indices of 100 or more with a reading of 107 on the 11th. The dew points were as high as 75. It makes you wonder if the lack of trees from the Derecho and the ash tree borer is making it warmer? We probably lost at least 100 trees here in town and there are many others that are dead or dying from the ash borer.

The Dry Conditions Are Expanding

The newly released drought monitor on last Thursday showed much of our area as being abnormally dry with areas off to the north and west in a moderate drought.

My station has received just 0.10" of rain for the first 2 weeks of the month. There were only 2 other years having lower amounts, 1992 with -.08" and 1988 with 0.01".

This May Cool You Off?

Back on June 22, 1902, unusually cool weather swept across the state resulting in one of the latest freezes. Some of the coldest readings were:

Sibley - 32 degrees

Plover - 33 degrees

Guthrie Center - 35 degrees

Mt. Pleasant - 36 degrees

I looked up the Climate Prediction Center's winter forecast for 2021-2022 and it was showing equal chances for the temperatures and wetter than normal for the precipitation. Another forecast that I saw on the internet was saying colder than normal and snowy.

Some Remarkable June Rainfall Rates

With some of the spotty, heavy rains around the area last week such as Clarence receiving anywhere from 1.75" to 3.00" in one hours time and our measly 0.03" here in Lowden. I was curious about some of Iowa's highest rainfall rates for the month of June and this is what I found

June 12, 1994 - George (n.w. Iowa) - 3.00" in 30 minutes.

June 28, 1978 - Humboldt - 4.50" in 45 minutes.

June 14-15, 1991 - late night of the 14th into early morning of the 15th - an unofficial 13" at Fayette . The U.S. Geological Survey's observing platform near Luana (Clayton county) had 13.96".

June 9-10, 1905 - during the overnight hours Bonaparte (s.e. Iowa) received 12.10" with 11.00" of that falling in less than 8 hours.

June 14, 1998 - Atlantic 13.18" fell in 24 hours.

This Is What You Call Intense Rainfall?

During the early morning hours of July 10, 1955, there was a heavy rainstorm a few miles north of Jefferson that produced 2" to 6" of rain at various points. Near the end of the storm a particularly heavy burst dropped 0.69" of rain per minute for a 1.4 minute period for a total of 0.97" in 84 seconds.

During a heavy thunderstorm on July 26, 1995, I recorded 0.20" of rain in one minute with my tipping bucket rain gauge. Of that amount 0.05" fell in 5 seconds or 0.01" per second. That would work out to a rate of 36.0" an hour.

My Hail Journal

I recently started a "Hail Journal" entering all of Iowa's historic hailstorms. I think I will have it filled with many stories in no time at all. Here is on event that I recently found.

On June 20, 1908 a severe thunderstorm cut a path across far northeast Iowa bringing heavy rain, strong winds and very large hail. The swath of damage was about 15 miles wide extending from Cresco to McGregor. Many animals were drowned or killed by the hail and in some areas the stones were large enough to to break the siding on houses. In Winnesheik county "the crops were pounded into the ground" and the trees were denuded of leaves and bark by the hail. The telephones lines were wrecked and bridges were washed out. In Decorah the buildings were demolished or unroofed and thousands of panes of glass were broken.

The hailstones were piled up in drifts all along the path of the storm and on July 4th following, a large pile of them that had been washed into a gully and covered with leaves were found and used in freezing ice cream.

At South McGregor, a severe flash flood washed logs from the lumber yards and "very loose objects that would float" into the Mississippi River and deposited 3 to 4 feet of mud into many businesses and homes.

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


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