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On this day in Iowa weather history...

1881: The earliest Iowa snowfall on record affected most of the western half of the state during the morning hours. September of 1881 was a wet month generally across the upper Midwest, and on the 15th a low pressure system moved northward over Chicago then turned west and stalled over Iowa on the 16th drawing unseasonably cool air into the state. As a result rain fell all day on the 15th then began to mix with snow at times across about the northwestern two thirds of Iowa on the morning of September 16th. At Sibley and Sac City the snow did not accumulate but observers indicated that "snow fell all day" and at Algona an estimated 4 inches of snow fell between about 8 and 11 am with another observer there noting that tree branches were broken by the weight of the snow, which all melted by noon. At Des Moines the Weather Bureau observer noted "few flakes of snow was observed 1.15 pm." Snow was also reported at Sibley and Smithland in northwestern Iowa, at McGregor in the northeast, and in the south and southwest was observed as "quite heavy" at Creston while several inches of snowfall were noted between Des Moines and Atlantic and 4 to 6 inches were estimated between Stuart and Avoca in Pottawattamie County. This incredible storm marks the earliest date of the fall on which any snow has ever been reliably recorded in Iowa.

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