NWS Quad Cities Top Weather Events of the Decade 2000-2009

Significant Weather Events of the Decade 2000-2009

The end of 2009 provides an opportunity to reflect on a decade of weather across eastern Iowa, northwest Illinois and northeast Missouri. In this decade there was no shortage of high impact weather events, and below we attempt to highlight some of the more memorable ones. This is by no means a comprehensive list, as all kinds of weather can be a significant impact to people on a daily basis. Nor are these events ranked, instead we begin in the year 2000 and work up to the most recent events. This is merely a list of weather events that were most definitely significant, and either impacted a large part of the Quad Cities county warning area (CWA) or were especially noteworthy because of their extreme nature.

             Blizzard/Record Snow - December 2000

December 2000 was notable for the record cold conditions across the upper Midwest. National Weather Service records indicate the average temperature for December was the coldest on record in the Quad Cities, and the third coldest in Dubuque. Numerous other communities throughout eastern Iowa also set new monthly temperature records. A number of daily record low temperatures were established as well. In the Quad Cities, it was the coldest Christmas day on record, as the mercury dropped to -18. With all of this cold air in place, December 2000 also became noteworthy for record-setting snowfall amounts at many locations. Snowfall amounts of 8 to 10 inches were common from a major storm that swept across the area on December 10th and 11th. Much of the remainder of the month was characterized by a persistent northwest flow pattern with frequent Alberta Clipper storm systems, which produced snowfall amounts of generally 2 to 6 inches over eastern Iowa, as well as the periodic Arctic air outbreaks. In the Quad Cities, the total snowfall for the month was 32.0 inches, which broke the old mark for the month of 22.0 inches. December was also the snowiest month ever in the Quad Cities, breaking the previous record of 26.7 inches in January of 1979. The snow depth on Christmas Day was 11 inches, which topped the old record of 8 inches. Dubuque also had a record-setting December. The total snowfall was 37.6 inches, which established records for December and all-time monthly snowfall.

           Flooding - Spring 2001

Record-setting early winter snowfall and cold temperatures combined to ensure that a considerable snowpack lingered into spring 2001. Snowmelt had already sent the Iowa and Wapsipinicon Rivers over flood stages in March, when during the first week of April a strong storm system fanned warm temperatures northward accelerating the snowmelt across the upper Mississippi River basin. Another storm system mid month sent even warmer temperatures surging northward along with severe thunderstorms and heavy rain. The prolonged abnormally warm conditions resulted in rapid snow melt and produced near record flooding over counties bordering the Mississippi River. Additional heavy rain fell over the headwaters of the Mississippi during the third week of April. This added streamflow led to secondary crests over Minnesota, northern Iowa, and Wisconsin, and helped to prolong the flooding, or broaden crests on the Mississippi from the Wisconsin/Illinois border to counties north of St. Louis, MO. Strong winds accompanying the storms forced water over sandbag dykes and levees causing additional damage. At Moline additional flooding occurred when backwaters from the Mississippi caused flooding at the mouth of the Rock River. To aid with flood preparations, the Illinois Department of Transportation distributed and pre-positioned 692,000 sandbags to flood prone areas. Communities impacted by the flooding called upon the National Guard, prison inmates, and hundreds of volunteers to help with flood fighting efforts. By late month 8 Illinois and 10 Iowa counties had been declared disaster areas, with damages and related flood costs estimated to be several million dollars. Flooding continued along the Mississippi River from Dubuque, IA to Quincy, Il into May. The month began with idespread major to near record flooding continued on the Mississippi River into May. The month began with continued major flooding along the Mississippi River generally from Burlington northward, and moderate flooding south of Burlington. Continued rain, heavy at times, kept the river above flood stage for most of May. In fact heavy rains helped lead to a second crest on the Mississippi River. This second crest was higher than the first crest, from Keithsburg southward. Persistent heavy rains, especially over southeast Iowa, northeast Missouri and westcentral Illinois, led to flooding on Mississippi River tributaries, which in turn led to a third crest on the Mississippi River, along with prolonged flooding. The third crest was higher than the second crest, from Burlington southward. Once the Mississippi River began falling, it fell rapidly at times. During the falling limb, Mississippi River stage changes over 24 hour periods were as much as around 1 foot or more.

Listed are the crests for the month of May 2001 for points along the Mississippi River:

Dubuque Lock and Dam 11                 22.14 feet on the 6th
Dubuque                                 23.81 feet on the 6th
Bellevue Lock and Dam 12                21.36 feet on the 6th
Fulton Lock and Dam 13                  22.07 feet on the 7th
Camanche                                22.58 feet on the 8th
Le Claire Lock and Dam 14               15.96 feet on the 8th
Quad Cities Lock and Dam 15             21.31 feet on the 8th
Illinois City Lock and Dam 16           21.49 feet on the 11th
Muscatine                               22.75 feet on the 11th 
New Boston Lock and Dam 17              22.33 feet on the 12th
Keithsburg                              20.72 feet on the 12th
Gladstone Lock and Dam 18               17.65 feet on the 13th
Burlington                              21.82 feet on the 15th
Keokuk Lock and Dam 19                  22.94 feet on the 15th
Gregory Landing                         22.81 feet on the 12th
 
          Large Hail - Maquoketa, IA - September 18, 2002

A cluster of thunderstorms weakened while moving into northeast Iowa toward the noon hour near and northwest of Cedar Rapids, IA. An isolated single cell continued to track east however, and with the mid afternoon heating intensified over Jones County. The storm eventually became a high precipitation supercell as it moved into Jackson County producing a swath of damaging hail, up to baseball size, and winds of 70 to 80 mph. The city of Maquoketa, IA was hardest hit, as most residents reported some property damage. Nearly 1,000 new and used vehicles from several automotive dealerships suffered hail damage. One owner of a car dealership was quoted as saying that the cars on his lot looked like they had chicken pox. The pea to golf ball sized hail was so frequent, lasting nearly 20 minutes, that melting remnants left a nearly 2 inch thick sheet of ice in the bed of one pickup truck. Damage to the city of Maquoketa alone was estimated at nearly 20 million dollars.

          Microburst - NWS DVN - August 20, 2003

Thunderstorms developed during the afternoon in central Iowa along an old stationary front, in hot and humid conditions. These thunderstorms moved into eastern Iowa and became severe. Winds of 50 mph were common along the main gust front breaking many small limbs from trees. The storms reached maximum intensity between 5:00 and 6:00 PM in eastern Iowa, where a downburst caused severe damage to the NWS office in Davenport, Iowa.  Winds of 58 mph began at 5:58 PM according to DVN ASOS. At 6:00 PM measured gusts of 67 mph were recorded, and at 6:01 PM DVN ASOS measured a gust of 77 mph. Before the ASOS could update for 6:02 PM a power failure occurred at the ASOS site. NWS personnel at WFO DVN estimated winds of at least 90 mph lasting for 2 or 3 minutes (Review of archived data indicated the DVN 88D measured winds of 80+ knots (92+ mph) about 3 miles east of the office at 200 AGL). During this time about one third of the outer roof of the NWS building was peeled off (the roof is designed to withstand 90 mph winds). Only the air conditioning units on the roof prevented the peeling from going the entire length of the building. With the outer roof gone, water fell into the operations area necessitating a shut down of all equipment and implementation of service backup by WFO Des Moines. The only damage sustained to equipment inside the building was the phone system, 2 monitors, and 2 computer mice. Downed powerlines were noted in the 9000 block of Harrison Street near the office along with numerous trees down. Once the storms crossed the Mississippi River, they quickly lost strength due to the setting sun and distance away from the better moisture convergence along the old front.

          Heat Waves - June/July 2005

During the first half of summer 2005 hot and dry conditions developed across eastern Iowa, northwest Illinois and northeast Missouri, especially along and east of the Mississippi River. In late June the mercury climbed over 90 degrees in the Quad Cities and Iowa City, with daily high temperatures remaining at or above that value from the 21st until the 27th. Other locations in the CWA experienced temperatures near 90, with little relief at night as lows only dropped into the upper 60s and lower 70s. A couple weeks later another bout of extreme hit settled over the region. On the 8th of July temperatures in the Quad Cities once again rose to 90 in the afternoon, and reached or exceeded that each of the next 17 days. The lone exception was the 12th, when light rain and clouds kept the daily high at 80 degrees. The most intense heat occurred just before the heat wave finally broke. Temperatures on the 24th and 25th of July soared above 100 degrees over a wide area. Highs topped out at 103 at Moline, IL and at Burlington and Iowa City, IA, and as high as 106 at Muscatine, IA on the 24th. During June and July the high temperature at Moline was greater than or equal to 90 degrees on 28 days(10 in June and 18 in July), 15 more than normal (5 in June and 10 in July).

                     
 
Monthly Data for June 2005 for Davenport, IA CWA

 

Monthly Data for July 2005 for Davenport, IA CWA

 

 

State

Station

Max Temp

No. of Days  Max Temp        >= 90         

 

State

Station

Max Temp

No. of Days  Max Temp        >= 90         

 

 

IL

ALEDO

93

7

 

IL

ALEDO

99

9

 

 

IA

ANAMOSA 1 WNW

94

6

 

IA

ANAMOSA 1 WNW

97

10

 

 

IA

BELLE PLAINE

94

3

 

IA

BELLE PLAINE

97

8

 

 

IA

BELLEVUE L&D 12

95

8

 

IA

BELLEVUE L&D 12

100

13

 

 

IL

BENTLEY

97

12

 

IL

BENTLEY

105

17

 

 

IA

BURLINGTN RADIO KBUR

94

8

 

IA

BURLINGTN RADIO KBUR

103

13

 

 

IA

BURLINGTON MUNI AP

94

9

 

IA

BURLINGTON MUNI AP

103

13

 

 

IA

CASCADE

93

5

 

IA

CASCADE

97

11

 

 

IA

CEDAR RAPIDS

93

7

 

IA

CEDAR RAPIDS

98

10

 

 

IA

CEDAR RAPIDS MUNI AP

93

5

 

IA

CEDAR RAPIDS MUNI AP

96

9

 

 

IA

CEDAR RAPIDS NO 1

94

8

 

IA

CEDAR RAPIDS NO 1

97

13

 

 

IA

CLINTON #1

95

10

 

IA

CLINTON #1

100

13

 

 

IA

COGGON

94

6

 

IA

COGGON

96

9

 

 

IA

COLUMBUS JUNCT 2 SSW

94

6

 

IA

CRAWFORDSVILLE

99

13

 

 

IA

CRAWFORDSVILLE

95

10

 

IA

DAVENPORT MUNI AP

97

10

 

 

IA

DAVENPORT MUNI AP

93

10

 

MO

DOWNING

100

12

 

 

MO

DOWNING

93

6

 

IA

DUBUQUE L&D 11

98

12

 

 

IA

DUBUQUE L&D 11

96

8

 

IA

DUBUQUE RGNL AP

95

6

 

 

IA

DUBUQUE RGNL AP

92

3

 

IL

ELIZABETH

98

9

 

 

IL

ELIZABETH

93

6

 

IA

FAIRFIELD

102

15

 

 

IA

FAIRFIELD

94

10

 

IL

FREEPORT WWP

97

10

 

 

IL

FREEPORT WWP

95

9

 

IA

FT MADISON

102

13

 

 

IA

FT MADISON

95

7

 

IL

FULTON DAM

102

12

 

 

IL

FULTON DAM

94

10

 

IL

GALVA

100

12

 

 

IL

GENESEO

97

13

 

IL

GENESEO

101

15

 

 

IL

GLADSTONE DAM 18

95

9

 

IL

GLADSTONE DAM 18

101

12

 

 

IL

HENNEPIN PWR PLT

101

19

 

IL

HENNEPIN PWR PLT

103

18

 

 

IL

ILLINOIS CITY DAM 16

95

6

 

IL

ILLINOIS CITY DAM 16

100

15

 

 

IA

IOWA CITY

96

11

 

IA

INDEPENDENCE #1

95

12

 

 

IA

IOWA CITY MUNI AP

97

13

 

IA

IOWA CITY

101

17

 

 

IA

KEOKUK LOCK DAM 19

96

8

 

IA

IOWA CITY MUNI AP

103

17

 

 

IA

KEOSAUQUA

96

12

 

IA

KEOKUK LOCK DAM 19

104

14

 

 

IL

KEWANEE 1 E

95

8

 

IA

KEOSAUQUA

104

18

 

 

IL

LA HARPE

96

12

 

IL

KEWANEE 1 E

101

12

 

 

IA

LE CLAIRE L&D 14

94

7

 

IL

LA HARPE

102

15

 

 

IA

LOWDEN

95

6

 

IA

LE CLAIRE L&D 14

100

12

 

 

IA

MANCHESTER #2

95

6

 

IA

MANCHESTER #2

95

7

 

 

IA

MAQUOKETA

94

5

 

IA

MAQUOKETA

100

11

 

 

IL

MOLINE QUAD CITY INTL AP

98

10

 

IL

MOLINE QUAD CITY INTL AP

103

18

 

 

IL

MONMOUTH

93

10

 

IL

MONMOUTH

107

15

 

 

IL

MORRISON

98

12

 

IL

MORRISON

103

14

 

 

IL

MT CARROLL

96

12

 

IL

MT CARROLL

99

14

 

 

IA

MT PLEASANT 1 SSW

94

7

 

IA

MT PLEASANT 1 SSW

103

15

 

 

IA

MUSCATINE

98

12

 

IA

MUSCATINE

102

15

 

 

IA

MUSCATINE

96

11

 

IA

MUSCATINE

101

15

 

 

IL

NEW BOSTON DAM 17

95

10

 

IA

MUSCATINE 2 N

99

12

 

 

IA

OELWEIN 2 S

92

3

 

IL

NEW BOSTON DAM 17

102

14

 

 

IL

PRAIRIE CITY 2S

97

10

 

IA

OELWEIN 2 S

92

2

 

 

IL

PRINCETON

98

15

 

IL

PRAIRIE CITY 2S

106

15

 

 

IL

ROCK ISLAND L&D 15

95

8

 

IL

PRINCETON

102

12

 

 

IA

SIGOURNEY

93

7

 

IL

ROCK ISLAND L&D 15

99

11

 

 

IL

STOCKTON 3 NNE

93

6

 

IA

SIGOURNEY

101

11

 

 

IA

TIPTON

92

5

 

IL

STOCKTON 3 NNE

95

7

 

 

IA

VINTON

95

5

 

IA

TIPTON

97

8

 

 

IL

WALNUT

94

7

 

IA

VINTON

94

11

 

 

IA

WASHINGTON

95

10

 

IL

WALNUT

101

12

 

 

IA

WILLIAMSBURG

94

7

 

IA

WASHINGTON

100

13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IA

WILLIAMSBURG

98

11

 
                     

          Drought - Summer 2005

A dry winter, early summer heat, and lack of rainfall set the stage for a drought that began in June continued through July and into September, and spread from northwest Illinois into eastern Iowa and northeast Missouri. The drought became severe to extreme across northwest and west central Illinois, while becoming severe across eastern Iowa and northeast Missouri. The drought, combined with high heat during the second half of June, decimated the corn crop. By late June, the Governor of Illinois had activated the Drought Response Task Force in response to severe drought conditions. By late July, much of the state was declared an agricultural disaster area by the USDA. Crop loss estimates varied across the entire area. Across Illinois, the worst losses were along the Illinois River Valley with an estimated 40% yield reduction that decreased to around 25-30% along the Mississippi River Valley. Soybean crop losses generally were estimated at a 10-15% reduction in yield across Illinois, eastern Iowa, and northeast Missouri. There were pockets across eastern Iowa and northeast Missouri where an estimated 20-30% reduction in yield for soybeans was expected. Although rainfall was more plentiful during July, it continued to remain widely scattered. What rainfall did occur helped keep soybean losses to a minimum and preserved what was left of the corn crop. By the end of August, the Governor of Iowa had requested areas south and east of a line from Dubuque, to Independence, to Ottumwa (save Buchanan County) be declared an agricultural disaster area. In Iowa, loses rapidly decreased the further west one went from the Mississippi River Valley and were near or just slightly below normal upon reaching an Independence to Oskaloosa, IA line. At one point during the month of July, the dryness for the calendar year across parts of the area equalled or exceeded the dry conditions during the drought of 1988. The severe dryness of the drought continued to place it equal to or exceeding the drought of 1988.

          Large Hail - Princeton, IL - September 22, 2005

Scattered thunderstorms developed along an outflow boundary across northwest Illinois in a moist to near tropical atmosphere. A lone storm developed into a supercell across Bureau County and produced hail up to baseball size. In Princeton, IL a car dealership had 400 of its 500 cars damaged by the storm. Additionally, a downburst produced damaging winds in the city. The storm turned to the right at Princeton and moved in a southeast direction toward the Illinois River and Putnam County. A survey of the damage indicated a sporatic to near continuous damage path across Bureau County. The damage path started out about 2 miles wide west of Princeton and expanded to around 5 miles wide southeast of Princeton along the Illinois River. The storm weakened rapidly after exiting Bureau County but not before producing significant severe hail in Putnam County.

          Tornado - Iowa City, IA - April 13, 2006 / StormReady Award

During the late afternoon hours April 13th, thunderstorms developed in Central Iowa, and moved east along a warm front.  These thunderstorms became supercells as they moved toward Eastern Iowa.  The supercells brought wind and hail to locations along and north of Interstate 80, before three storms intensified as they approached Johnson and Linn counties.  One supercell moved east from southern Benton, through Linn, and into Jones county and produced 3 tornadoes.  Another supercell moved southeast across Johnson, Muscatine, Mercer, and portions of extreme western Rock Island counties. This storm produced many tornadoes, including a strong F2, in Iowa City.  A third supercell moved southeast across Johnson and Muscatine county behind the other storm, and produced a tornado in eastern Johnson county.   In addition to the tornadoes, these supercells produced numerous wind and large hail reports, as well as heavy rain.  Other severe thunderstorms occurred in Eastern Iowa and Illinois through the late evening and early morning hours, mainly producing large hail and strong winds.

          Ice Storm - February 24, 2007

A widespread and crippling ice/snow storm affected eastern Iowa, northwest and westcentral Illinois, and extreme northeast Missouri on February 24, 2007. This massive ice storm was the worst to affect the region since January 22-23, 1965. Ice accumulations of around one inch were common, with some reports to near two inches! To make matters worse, east winds gusting over 50 mph, combined with the heavy ice accumulation, brought down numerous tree branches and power lines, along with several thousand power poles. There were even whole trees felled from the weight of the ice. Widespread power outages occurred, affecting over 180,000 people, which lasted more than a week in some of the rural areas. Many shelters were opened to accommodate those without power. The governor of Iowa declared much of the state a disaster area, and requested the President to declare much of eastern Iowa a federal disaster area. In the northern portions of the region, entrenched in the colder air, snow was the problem. Accumulations of up to 7 inches occurred, with strong winds combining to create blizzard conditions.

          Tornado - Grandview/Fruitland/Muscatine - June 1, 2007

A line of thunderstorms pivoted northeast into parts of southeast Iowa during the mid-morning hours of June 1st. Much of the area was just breaking out of a blanket of dense fog, where visibilities were reduced to less than a quarter mile. Dew point temperatures were in the middle 60s to around 70 degrees. The line of storms appeared to become more broken through the late morning hours, while the area from Iowa City to Waterloo, IA appeared to stratify out into a large area of showers. Just before 12:00 PM, rapid intensification of storm cells on the southeast end of the original line occurred as it moved into northern portions of Louisa County. The supercell re-intensified as it entered the southeast part of Cedar County just before 1:00 PM producing a brief tornado near Wilton, IA. The storm then moved across northwest parts of Scott County and Clinton County producing damaging wind gusts and large hail. The supercell continued northeast into Jackson County producing a tornado near Bellevue around 2:30 PM, which moved across the Mississippi River into Jo Daviess County before lifting. The storm produced yet another tornado just south of Scales Mound, IL around 3:15 PM before moving into southwest Wisconsin and dissipating. During the early afternoon hours, additional storms strengthened on the south end of the original line of storms, which went on to produce wind damage and large hail as they moved through northwest Illinois through the late afternoon hours.

The tornado that touched down on the southern edge of Grandview, moved through the center of town intensifying in rural areas as it approached the county line. In Grandview, several homes sustained severe damage. About 1.5 miles north of Grandview a farm house was completely destroyed. Other homes and trees along the path sustained damage. The tornado crossed the Louisa-Muscatine county line just south of Fruitland, IA. It progressed to the northeast through the center of Fruitland destroying the post office and city hall building, numerous homes, and overturning some railroad cars. The tornado weakened as it approached the southwest portions of Muscatine, where the western sections of town sustained varying degrees of damage. Although it was mainly confined to roof damage, at a car dealership some cars were displaced. The tornado eventually lifted on the northeast side of Muscatine near the junction of highways 22 and 61. Debris from Muscatine and Fruitland eventually fell in Lowden, IA, including some personal papers found 1 to 4 miles northwest of Lowden. Lowden is approximately 30 miles NNE of Muscatine.

             Record Flooding - Spring/Early Summer 2008

Major to record flooding occurred during the month of June 2008 with most forecast points above flood stage for the majority of the month. The flooding during this month was more prolific and severe than the flooding in April 2008, and the flooding in April had been the most prolific flood event since 1997. While some locations were still experiencing flooding as June began, many of the tributary rivers to the Mississippi in Iowa rose above flood stage during the first few days of the month. At locations that were already above flood stage, the rivers stopped their fall and began climbing again. Persistent heavy rain from late May into early June resulted in record crests on the Cedar and Iowa Rivers in Iowa as well as other tributary rivers to the Mississippi River in eastern Iowa and southern Wisconsin. This resulted in record flooding on parts of the Mississippi River, even exceeding flood levels reached during the Great Flood of 1993 in some locations. Both the Mississippi River and the Rock River rose above flood stage at most locations around June 10th. Most locations on the tributary rivers and the Mississippi River fell below flood stage during the last two-thirds of the month. The Cedar, Iowa and Mississippi Rivers were hardest hit by this flooding. (The Mississippi River was most affected downstream of New Boston Lock and Dam 17.) All forecast points on the Cedar and Iowa Rivers saw record crests during the month. Three locations on the Mississippi River downstream of New Boston Lock and Dam 17 saw record crests. In some locations, the new record crests were considerably higher than the previous record crests. The most significant example was the Cedar River at Cedar Rapids, IA. The crest during this event was 31.12 ft set on 6/13/2008.

The previous record crest was 20.00 feet set on 6/1/1851. The crest on the Cedar River became increasingly higher as it moved through the eastern IA from Waterloo, IA because of additional rainfall. Additional heavy rainfall occurred between when the crest left the Waterloo area and when it arrived in the Cedar Rapids area. In addition, heavy rainfall led to flash flooding when the Cedar River crest reached Cedar Rapids. Unprecedented flooding occurred at many locations along the Cedar River, including the cities of Vinton and Cedar Rapids. On the Iowa River, water flowed over the spillway at the Corps of Engineer"s Coralville Reservoir for only the third time since the reservoir began operation on September 17, 1958. (The other two times occurred during the Great Flood of 1993.) Unprecedented flooding occurred downstream of Coralville Reservoir including the cities of Iowa City and Coralville. The University of Iowa sustained serious damage in Iowa City due to the flooding. Many roads in eastern Iowa and northwestern Illinois sustained severe damage from the flooding. The flooding also forced the closure of many roads including I-80, I-380 and US 34. On I-80, flood waters from the Cedar River flowed over the interstate resulting in its closure between interchanges #265 and #267. This location is between Iowa City, IA and Davenport, IA. The detour route was designated as US 61 to US 20 to I-35. This detour added 115 miles to the normal route.

          Derecho - July 21, 2008

A complex of thunderstorms developed over portions of Wyoming on the afternoon of July 20th. The storms became severe while shifting east through northern Nebraska in the evening. The severe thunderstorms moved into northwest Iowa very early the next morning on July 21st. As the severe thunderstorms continued moving southeast they further intensified and produced widespread and destructive straight-line winds of 60 to 90 mph through eastcentral into southeast Iowa, and northwest into central Illinois.  The highest measured wind gust was 94 mph in Moline, IL.  Other measured wind gusts included 84 mph in Princeton, IL and 72 mph in Mount Pleasant, IA.  These extreme winds produced a large swath of wind damage 20 to 40 miles wide comprised largely of downed trees and power lines. Wind gusts estimated to be 70 mph blew down some large tree limbs about 3 miles west southwest of Mc Nabb, IL at 7:05 AM July 21st. Winds gusting over 70 miles an hour toppled trees, ripped siding and shingles off homes and businesses, and left much of the region without power. Power was knocked out to over 130,000 residents in the Quad Cities. 

          Extreme Cold - January 14, 2009

After the two heavy snow events of January 9-10 and January 13-14, snow depths ranged from 4 inches at Burlington, IA to 15 inches at Cedar Rapids, IA. Widespread snow depths of 6 to 12 inches were measured across eastern Iowa and northwest Illinois. The deep snow cover set the stage for a strong surge of arctic air that brought record minimum temperatures to the region on January 14th-16th. In fact, an all-time record low temperature was established at Cedar Rapids on January 15 when the mercury dropped to 29 below. All of eastern Iowa, northwest and westcentral Illinois and extreme northeast Missouri experienced extreme cold. Actual temperatures were as low as 20 to 40 below north of Highway 34 with 10 to 20 below south of Highway 34, with wind chills to 30 to 50 below.

          Large Hail - Edgewood, IA - July 24, 2009

A cold front from Lake Superior across northwest Iowa coupled with an upper level low over southwest Ontario with an associated short wave dropping across southern Minnesota sparked the development of thunderstorms during the afternoon and evening of July 24th. Severe storms producing copious amounts of large hail up to the size of a tennis ball and damaging wind gusts between 60 and 90 mph were common. Reports of hail up to 2 inches in diameter were common from storm spotters, law enforcement officials and the public, with a report of close to softball size hail near Ossian, IA (Winneshiek County), just north of the DVN CWA. In addition, wind gusts between 55 and 65 mph occurred. Crop damage due to the large hail was severe, with many corn and bean fields stripped clean. 

          Blizzard - December 8-9, 2009

A long lived storm system brought heavy amounts of snow to the region December 7th and 8th. In addition to the heavy snow, blizzard conditions spread over much of the area on the 8th. Snowfall was heaviest from southwest Iowa through southern Wisconsin, where amounts of 12 to 15 inches were common. Significant snows were also found farther south, through the Quad Cities and southeast Iowa, where amounts ranged from six inches to upwards of one foot. The strength of the system pulled warmer air northward, wrapping around the low pressure center. This resulted in a change-over to mixed precipitation along and east of the Mississippi. Western Illinois changed over to all rain, while farther northwest, freezing rain coated elevated surfaces along a line from Burlington, IA to Sterling, IL. To the northwest of that line sleet was common, even being reported as far west as Cedar Rapids, IA. However, across east central Iowa, northeast Iowa and extreme northwest Illinois the precipitation remained all snow. This included reports of thundersnow in Vinton, IA and Ridott, IL as the low pressure began to rapidly strengthen in the vicinity of Peoria, IL.

Early on Wednesday the 8th, the low pressure was continuing its explosive strengthening, and air began to rush towards the center. This meant strong winds out of the north, then northwest, began to blow across eastern Iowa. Sustained winds between 25-35 mph, with higher gusts, started to blow and drift the freshly fallen snow. Meanwhile, heavy snow continued in a band from east central Iowa, through the Quad Cities, and up into northwest Illinois and southern Wisconsin. By late morning blizzard conditions were being felt across most of the Upper Midwest. In rural areas blowing and drifting was widespread, with frequent whiteout conditions common, especially west of the Mississippi River. All the while heavy snow continued to further restrict visibility. Despite the storm being over northern Lower Michigan these winds and the snow continued into the early evening. Final accumulations ranged from as little as 1 inch, to over 15 inches. As one final display, the departing storm also brought down bitterly cold air into the region. The air mass blasted through, dropping temperatures from near 32 degrees at midnight, to the single digits by Wednesday afternoon.
$$
Philip/Legro/Haase


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