Terry's Blog

July 10, 2020


Heat. humidity, and a cold front combined to produce some active thunderstorms Thursday afternoon and evening. Up to 4 inches of rain fell around Dubuque, Waterloo, and Mt.Vernon, with numerous locations reporting 1 to 2" totals. The Doppler estimates from the NWS in the Quad Cities shows the greatest concentration of 1 inch plus amounts north of I-80.

Winds of up to 66 mph w...

July 9, 2020

What to you do when something is remarkable? You remark about it. There's some very intense heat getting set to roast the Plains over the next two weeks. Here's why it's worth noting and what it could mean for us here in the Midwest.


The core of the heat initially will be over the southern Plains the next 2 days. With time it spreads into the central Plains next week and is eve...

July 8, 2020

Climate models for years have been projecting major increases in summer temperatures here in the heartland of the nation. In a contradiction, the data Dr. Roy Spencer has compiled shows that so far the trend has not developed. You can see how the models predictions in red and green, are much greater than the actual observations NOAA recorded. Since 1970 summer temperature departures have only gone...

July 5, 2020

Like the first snowfall of winter, the Mayfly "hatch" is a hard-to-miss marker of the summer season's arrival around the Midwest, especially  on major lakes and rivers such as the Mississippi. The bugs people have seen the past few days are just the final, very brief stage of a life cycle that begins on river and lake bottoms. The pictures below were taken by Jason Matthew in Burlington, Iowa the...

July 4, 2020

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 b...

July 3, 2020

I was on CNN's web site and was a bit stunned to see this article regarding a deadly weather pattern setting up across the central US over the holiday weekend. Wow, that's a grim headline that incites concern and even fear.

As you probably know the next 2 weeks are statistically the hottest time of the year anywhere in the central US. I looked into the forecast highs on the EURO and this is wh...

July 2, 2020

I was poking around a bit today in the wide world of weather that I live in. I came upon the sea surface temperature anomalies over the tropical Pacific. This is something I start paying attention to in the mid-summer because invariably it plays a role (sometimes a big one) in the type of fall and winter the Midwest experiences. Note the cool waters that exist near the equator in the eastern Pacif...

July 1, 2020

Sometimes to get a quick overview of where temperature trends are leaning, I pop up a meteogram of the latest EURO or GFS. It's a down and dirty way of seeing the future without doing the analysis. More often than not you get a solid idea of the short term but the further out you go, (as most of you know) the less accurate the skill scores. 

When I see strong similarities in the EURO and...

June 30, 2020

Make no mistake about, Monday was a burner. With highs in the range of 85 to 90 and dew points in the 70s, it felt more like 95 to 100. That qualifies it as a dog day of summer. Here are some late day heat index values from the NWS in the Quad Cities.

With that much heat and humidity, instability was high but forcing was lacking and most of the thunderstorms avoided my local area. That was not the...

June 27, 2020

 Noctilucent clouds over London taken by Phil Halpert June 2020


In the summer of 1885, sky watchers around northern Europe noticed something strange. Sunsets weren't the same anymore. The red and orange colors people were used to seeing were still there, but those familiar colors were increasingly joined by rippling waves of luminous blue.

At first they chalked...

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© 2019 Terry Swails