On This Day in Iowa Weather History
1897: A very severe hail storm struck areas in and around Washington County including the communities of Sharon Center, Kalona, and Riverside with hail stones piling up in ditches and gullies to 6 feet deep in some places and strong winds blowing the hail into the sides of buildings. An observer in Kalona wrote that the wind and hail lasted for 20 minutes and that "nearly all the window glass on the north and west sides of the houses were broken in." Another observer described "a tract...at least sixty miles long and averaging two or three miles wide in which scarcely a stalk of corn is left standing...put on top of this the wreckage of hundreds of windmills, the destruction of all the glass in the north windows of hundreds of houses, the loss of thousands of chickens and turkeys, the wreckage of orchards, vineyards and gardens, the damage to barns, sheds, cribs, etc...at least 40,000 acres of corn have been totally destroyed, while 70,000 acres have been so pounded and wrecked by hail that half or more of the crop is a total loss...the balance of the stalks, ears, blades, etc. have been pounded off and are rotting on the ground." A local paper also reported that several farm buildings were damaged or destroyed by the force of the wind and hail and that one resident was "struck in the forehead with a hailstone and knocked senseless."
1859: A summer that began with a very late widespread frost on June 4th and 5th ended with a series of early and even more widespread and damaging frosts during the first week of September. On the morning of the 1st damaging frosts were noted across many portions of Iowa, as far south as Adams and Keokuk counties. Corn, buckwheat and sorghum crops were particularly hard hit as prospects appeared very good before being cut down by the early frost. An observer in Cedar County noted that "the early frost cut out crops short" and "sorghum has been a failure this year; the early frost has killed the crop." In Harrison County it was reported that "the quality of the corn this year is not good; frost the first of September injured the crop very materially" and in Wright County "everything looked prosperous until rather late in the season, when we were visited by a severe frost, that injured all vegetation."
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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.