On This Day in Iowa Weather History

January 26

2002: Unseasonably warm weather sent the temperature all the way up to 72 F at Webster City, setting the all-time January record at that location and coming in just one degree shy of the state January record. All-time January records were also set at numerous other locations including Rockwell City with a high of 70 F, Ames with a high of 67 F, and Waterloo with a high of 65 F. Amazingly, Oelwein set its all-time January high temperature record for the fourth time during the month. On the 8th Oelwein had initially broken its record with a reading of 57 F then that record was broken again on the 23rd at 59 F, the 25th at 61 F, and on the 26th the temperature soared to 64 F.

1996: A major winter storm moved from southwest to northeast across southern, central, and northeastern Iowa on January 26-27. Heavy snow of 10 to 14 inches fell along this path while in southeastern Iowa totals were lower. Thunder accompanied the snow for as long as four hours at the peak of the storm with snowfall rates of around 3 inches per hour reported at some locations. The heavy snow combined with wind gusts of 35 to 45 mph, ranging up to as high as 64 mph at Ankeny, to produce whiteout conditions across much of the state bringing travel to a standstill. The blizzard struck central Iowa and the Des Moines metro area during the afternoon commute hours on the 26th causing severe traffic problems and numerous accidents. Two day snowfall accumulations from January 26-27 included 17.5 inches at Cresco, 16.5 inches at Dorchester, 16.0 inches at Waukon, 14.6 inches at Osceola, 13.7 inches at the Des Moines airport, and 12.7 inches at Albia. This was one of the worst winter storms in Iowa since the blizzard of April 8-10, 1973.

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The "On This Day in Iowa Weather History" feature contains some memorable weather events and trivia from the early 1800's to the present day for Iowa. Many sources were used to research and compile the data and the above information may represent official, unofficial, or estimated values. As noteworthy weather events occur, they will be added to the database.

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