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Year in Review: Extreme Weather in 2019

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We get just about every kind of weather in Iowa.

The year started with record snow and cold. A winter storm tracked through in mid-January, dropping two inches to more than a foot of snow across the KWWL viewing area.

Bluffton received 14.0", Decorah 11.8", and Lansing with 10.0". That round of snow was the first of several during the month, leading to double the normal amount for the month in Waterloo.

January ended with record cold temperatures. Lows dropped to the 20s and 30s below zero, with wind chills 40 to 60 degrees below. On the last day of January, Cedar Rapids dipped to 30 degrees below zero -- the coldest temperature on record in Iowa's second largest city.

February saw another month of above normal snowfall. Waterloo, Dubuque and Cedar Rapids received 7.0" of snow, while Decorah had 11.5".

The snow, combined with 30 to 50 mph winds led to big drifts, including one that buried a stretch of highway near Dysart.

It would turn out to be Waterloo's snowiest season on record, with 60 inches.

The record snow in eastern Iowa and to the north, along with warmer temperatures in the spring led to several rounds of flooding on local rivers. The Mississippi and Turkey Rivers had flooding in early march. Multiple crests occurred on other rivers such as the Cedar, Wapsipinicon and Upper Iowa River.

The record high water on the Mississippi was too much pressure for a temporary barrier in Davenport. The barrier broke on April 30th, leading to a "Flash Flood Emergency" in downtown Davenport.

The spring and summer months brought the typical spells of hot air and stormy days.

In any given year, Iowa usually sees 46 tornadoes. This year, 52 were confirmed across the state.

Two of the more active tornado days were Memorial Day, and May 29th.

An EF-1 tornado caused damage at the Floyd County Fairgrounds in Charles city on Memorial Day. Three more tornadoes were spotted in Chickasaw and Howard counties. Fortunately there were no injuries.

Just two days later, 15 weak tornadoes were confirmed state-wide.

Heading into the fall, flooding and heavy rainfall made news again. A heavy rain event september 11th and 12th caused additional river flooding and flash flooding in northeastern iowa.

Four to four and a half inches of rain fell in McGregor and Garber, 4.00" to 4.50" . Farther south, Dubuque received 5.68" of rain over a two day period, leading to flash flooding downtown and a three foot rise on the Mississippi river.

The first flakes of the season fell early across northern Iowa, arriving October 13th.

A more substantial snowfall, at least by October standards, moved through on Halloween, making it the snowiest on record for Waterloo, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. The latter three cities shattered old snow records for that date.

A record cold start to November in Dubuque, with another round of record cold area-wide November 12th had us wondering if we'd be in for a long, cold, snowy year starting the same way 2019 began.

Kyle Kiel


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