Extremes characterize “normal” Iowa weather year


Photo by Katie Haugland; Flickr

Precipitation statistics could lead future cursory analysts to jump to the mistaken conclusion that 2013 was a pretty normal year.

To check out the yearly statistics and what they mean,  head over to The Gazette.

Iowa prepares for first winter storm of the season


Photo by iowa_spirit_walker, Flickr
Photo by iowa_spirit_walker, Flickr

The state’s first winter storm of the season is expected to hit Iowa on Wednesday afternoon, and will likely bring strong winds and heavy snowfall in parts of the state.

National Weather Service meteorologist Keven Skow said some areas of the state are expected to receive several inches, and the snow will likely stay on the ground due to sub-freezing temperatures throughout the rest of the week.

“If it falls, it will probably be on the ground through Christmas,” Skow said.

For more information, read the full article at the Des Moines Register.

Des Moines nears record for longest stretch without snow


Photo by jakebouma, Flickr
Photo by jakebouma, Flickr

Des Moines last saw measurable snowfall on March 4th, and unless some unlikely flurries appear tomorrow, the city will break its record for consecutive days without measurable snow.

The previous record of 277 days was set in 1889, and meteorologists say that it’s about to be broken.

“There’s no snow in the next three days, so it’s looking very very likely, unless something comes up, that we’ll beat that record,” National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Skow said.

For more information, read the full article at the Des Moines Register.

Storm ends snow drought for Iowa


A snow plow clears a road in Fairfield, IA. Photo by Will Merydith, Flickr.

As the season’s first major snowstorm drifted its way across the Midwest, Iowans said farewell to an unusual stretch of spring-like weather.

The snow was an annoyance for many commuters, caused hundreds of traffic accidents across the Midwest, and resulted in at least two deaths in Iowa.

However, for businesses that rely on snowfall, this storm was more than welcome.

“If people don’t see it in their yards they are not likely to come out and ski and snowboard so this is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful for us,” Kim Engel, owner of Sunburst Ski area in Kewaskum in southeastern Wisconsin, said as she watched the snow come down out the window.

Last week Iowa experienced an unprecedented level of warmth, with some areas of the state breaking their previous record high temperatures by ten degrees or more.

For more information, view the full article at the Des Moines Register.

On the Radio: Extreme weather causes decline in Iowa’s pheasant population


Photo by gerrybuckel, Flickr.

Listen to this week’s radio segment here or read the transcript below. This week’s segment discusses the effects of extreme weather on Iowa’s pheasant population.

Year after year of extreme weather has caused a severe decline in Iowa’s pheasant population.

Continue reading

Iowa winter forecasts predict cold and snowy weather


Photo by iowa_spirit_walker, Flickr

Like the snow? Then you will be pleased by the latest winter predictions for Iowa. Current forecasts show that this winter could yield lower than average temperatures, and greater than average snowfall. If this occurs, it will be Iowa’s fifth straight winter of high-snowfall, and its fourth straight winter of below-average temperatures.

However, the Des Moines Register points out that these long-range forecasts are often incorrect:

Those who don’t like those odds might take comfort in the fact that the National Weather Service, which readily admits its long-term forecasts are statistically dicey, often misses the mark with the winter forecasts that are published each fall.

For example, the weather service predicted a significant chance of warmer than usual temperatures for each of the last five winters. The reality: All but one of those winters were much colder than the 30-year average. Forecasters generally gave us a 50-50 chance of more snow in those five years. That part proved correct. Snowfall amounts have generally been up since 2006.