Monday, December 21, 2009

Big Storm Bad Timing

We are still forecasting a huge storm that will impact Iowa Tuesday night through Christmas Day.

The snow we getting today in northern Iowa is not part of the bigger system that will bring freezing rain, ice and snow over the Christmas holiday.

Tuesday night there will be areas of freezing rain late. Then Wednesday the storm will have freezing rain and light snow in the morning. That will change back to freezing rain and all rain Wednesday afternoon. Wednesday night and Thursday the storm will draw in the cold air from the north and we will have heavy snow with high wind through Christmas Eve Day and Christmas morning.

This storm will leave ice on the surface and then 6" to 8" of snow is expected. This will cause major travel problems.

Travel on Tuesday if you can...and plan on much better conditions Saturday and Sunday.

I'll be updating this storm often...check back and stay tuned.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Melting Today...More Snow Chances

Hey! We are in the 30s! This is going to help with many streets and highways that are begging for a melt-down.

More cold air is going to be ushered in by a fast moving cold front. That will give us a chance for show tomorrow afternoon. Friday's snow will amount to an inch or so in the Des Moines Metro. Heavier amounts of snow will fall southeast of Des Moines. Ottumwa could see 2 to 3 inches.

The next round of winter weather will move in Sunday. There is another fast moving clipper that will give us an inch to 3 inches of snow.

Then we have a storm system that will have some folks in the Midwest checking travel plans on the 23rd and 24th. As of today... that storm is tracking to the south. It looks like the brunt of the storm will be felt in extreme southern Iowa and Missouri. We will have to wait and see what the forecast track looks like over the next few days. Keep your head up and stay tuned.

Have a great Thursday night.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More Snow?

There is a chance for more snow. We are looking at a system late Sunday through Monday. There is a possibility of 1" to 3" of snow.

This could cause some travel concerns for early holiday travelers. We are waiting and watching for updates on that storm. There is a chance for the jet to shoot the storm farther south. That also means colder temperatures.

As of this evening all road conditions have returned to normal driving conditions. It is a much easier commute.

Shout out to the 200 or so Johnston Middle School students I got to meet today. You guys are fantastic.

Have a safe night.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

December Numbers

Just wanted to check in with the snow numbers for December. They are pretty impressive.

Tuesday and Wednesday we had 15.7 inches of snow. So far this month we have seen over 17 inches of snow. Since October the snow total is over 18 inches!

On the average we see about 8 inches of snow during December.

On average we have about 36 inches of snow each year.

The first day of Winter is a week from Monday...the 21st of December. We are way ahead of schedule.

The all-time snowiest winters in Des Moines top out over 60 inches. In the 1911 to 1912 winter Des Moines saw 72 inches of snow!

It will be warmer this weekend...there will be melting during the day...but anything melted will refreeze overnight.

Have a safe rest of the week.

What a storm! We are still digging out of the 15.7 inches of snow in the Des Moines Metro. That 15.7 inch total was the official measurement from the Des Moines International Airport.

Very cold air is going to hold on to the area through the rest of the week. The snow will continue to keep us cold. The sunshine will reflect off the snow and little, if any, heat will be absorbed.

Many have asked how to measure the snowfall in your area. It is difficult with high wind.

The best way is to find an area that is not affect as much by the wind. Then take several measurements in as large of an area as possible. Take those measurements and add them all together then divide by the number of measurements.

Here is a link to a tutorial.

We did have a record snow of 10 inches for the 24 hour period Tuesday. The old record for that date was 6 inches. The all-time one day record for a 24 period in December is 17 inches. That happened December 26, 1888.

Roads are improving today...but very slick conditions will make travel a bit sketchy. There is a base level of ice from the very warm temperatures when this storm started. Ice melt will not work until we hit highs in the upper teens and lower 20s. It should be sloppy by Saturday.

Stay safe and warm.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Chilling October

Hey... it's been a while. Sorry so many have been on the email and special request line on it has taken a while to get back in a rhythm on the blog site.

Our October has been a cold and rather dreary month. We are way over the average for rainfall... 2.27" of rainfall so far and that compares to 1.58 as an average between Oct. 1 and Oct. 19.

The cold air has been the big shocker. With all the rainfall our clouds have been a constant companion. Those clouds are also the shade to the warmth of the sun.

Here are some of the numbers for the cold October....

Des Moines...Record Cold October

45.8 .... 2009
47.8 .... 1952
49.5 .... 1925
50.2 .... 1959/1977

Usually the temperature records are set by just a degree or maybe a fraction of a degree. The last record was 2 degrees below the old record. This is substantial cooling. We are really watching a much cooler trend that started back in the late 1990s. There is so much talk of global warming or climate change in the news. Here it is really much cooler.

The highs today and tomorrow will be above the average... but there is more rain and cooler temperatures coming our way with a cold front on Wednesday. That front will become stationary and we will see cooler than normal temperatures.

Enjoy the day... get out and get some of those fall chores finished before we hit the next round of rain.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Iowa...9th Coolest Summer on Record. U.S. ... 34th

We have seen some cool temperatures this summer. The July average temperature was 68. That was the coldest July on record for Iowa. The old record was set in the late 1800s.

Here in Iowa we saw the 9th coldest summer on record. Nationally we experienced the 34th coldest.

The regional area of Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota had the 4th coldest summer on record.

More great weather for football Friday night and for the game tomorrow in Ames. There is a threat for some rainfall tonight and tomorrow...but the forecast is still showing the western 1/2 of the state with the best chance for showers. I think the front will become stationary over western counties and will give us much less sunshine...but should hold the heavier rainfall in the area around the Missouri River.

We will see a raindrop or bring the umbrella and poncho just to be safe.

It will remain warm through the next 48 hours. Highs should stay in the upper 70s and lower 80s.

Tonight I will be live with the Ramsey Intercept Hunger drive. We will be at the Saydel High School football field with the Ankeny/Iowa Christian Academy football team that will play last year's champions...Lenox.

Bring a non-perishable food item to the game and get a free tee-shirt...while supplies last. The food will go to the Des Moines Area Religious Council's Emergency Food Pantry. Last week we collected over 300 foot items and $30.00. It will help those who need assistance through the winter months.

Have a great weekend...root for your favorite team...we will be there to watch the action.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Calm...Cool July

So we are on the way to the last part of summer. Kids are already getting supplies for school. It is hard to believe we are on the way to August this week.

The tornado season is starting to wane. We have only seen 18 tornadoes on the ground so far this year. Last year our tornado total was 101 by this time of the year. Of those 18 tornadoes...all were very weak. 15 were EF0..3 were EF1. If we have no more tornadoes this year... it will be the lowest number of twisters since 1980. On Average we see about 44 tornadoes in Iowa by the end of July.

Cool again for the end of July.

Our highs are going to be warm today...but they will be the hottest of the week. As a cold front moves through tonight we will see a chance for thunderstorms. Then the cooler air falls in through the end of the seven day.

Highs will only be in the lower 80s and upper 70s. We are expecting a few nights with 50s.

Have a great day... tune in to Iowa's Weather Plus on channel 13.1 and cable channel 246 for coverage of the storms tonight and tomorrow morning.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Tornado Safety

Hi folks... there is a chance for severe weather over much of the state tonight. We will be watching for you and of course you can get the latest information on Channel 13... Channel 13.2 and digital 246 on cable with Iowa's Weather Plus.

Please take a little time to go over the tornado safety rules attached below. It is so important to go over the rules and memorize them to keep you and your family safe.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

May...Above Average US Temps?!

Are you kidding me? This is amazing to those of us who are wondering if we will have a real summer. (((See Carlson's Story in the Register Wednesday)))

There is a cool wind blowing again over Iowa and now the climate numbers have reached the weather desk of TV 13. It seems the United States was above average for temperatures last month.

Most of the heat recorded in the report came from the southwestern U.S. There were record highs for Arizona, Nevada and Utah.

Here is the full report:

We are still way below the average for temps in June. This is great for the electric bill. Some are telling me the flowers have never looked better. Some others want to know if there will be a time when the kids will not be shivering at the swimming pools.

The week ahead is still looking cooler than the average...and there will be chances for showers and isolated thunderstorms just about every day.

The split jet stream is one of the reasons for the cooler and wet weather. The southern jet is keeping the warmer air far south of Iowa. The northern jet is sweeping in the cooler air just to the north of Iowa. We are caught in the pinch...and that means showers... and clouds. High temperatures have remained about 10 degrees cooler than normal.

The good news is we are not seeing the severe storms...most of that is over Missouri. In fact Missouri could be caught in the heavy rain pattern we had during June and July of 1993. The low that is set up off the Pacific Northwest has similar characteristics of the storm system that sent one shot of rain after another over Iowa in 1993.

There was frost last night in North Dakota. Sweater weather in summer?

Have a great one... see you on the air tonight.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Parkersburg...One Year Later

Memorial Day has more significance in Parkersburg, Iowa this year. It will be one year ago to the day that the little town in Butler County was nearly wiped off the map by an EF 05 tornado.

6 People were killed in Parkersburg...3 more died in the New Hartford area.

The town was changed forever...but rebirth of homes and connections between family and friends in the area is amazing. It is a testament to the community and to the caring of those who were there day one and again through the last 365 days.

Parkersburg now looks like a new housing development in any suburb Iowa. The big trees that lined the streets are gone. Now there are new sprouts and saplings. There are new and bigger homes in the place where only foundations remained after the tornado last May 25th.

The numbers are amazing. 282 homes were damaged or destroyed. The cost estimate so far is around $37 million.

This weekend Parkersburg will pay tribute to those who were killed and to those who survived. Memorial Day weekend has special meaning for those folks in north central Iowa.

The National Weather Service in Johnston has a pdf poster of the track and timeline of the May 25, 2008 tornado. You can see it and find out more about the events this weekend.

Have a safe weekend.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Doppler Ground Clutter

There are many viewers who have asked about the junk that is around the center of Doppler radars. It looks like precipitation...but is always there....even on a clear night.

Here is a general explanation of ground clutter around the radar and anomalous propagation.

Ground clutter is a pattern of radar echoes from fixed targets around the radar. An example is the red and orange spots that are always around the Mega Doppler. There are farm buildings and grain silos near the radar site that always show up as red or orange spots that do not move in the center of our radar display. We built Mega Doppler outside of the metro so we would not the interference of buildings downtown. Ground clutter can hide or disrupt precipitation echoes near the radar antenna.

Anomalous propagation (A.P.) occurs with temperature or moisture gradients near the radar that cause part of the radar to bend abnormally. The beam of the radar can be turned into the ground or can bend upward. Both types of A.P. can make it look like there are large areas of rain or snow falling right around the radar. A.P. is most often visible at night with high amounts of moisture. Yellow and green are the most common colors that show up on the Doppler during anomalous propagation. The false returns are most common during nighttime hours when cooler temperatures and more moisture is pumped into the atmosphere adding to the bending of the radar beam.

We manipulate the power and tilt of Mega Doppler to eliminate most of the ground clutter and A.P.


A viewer from Ankeny noticed that it is really difficult to see storms on radar when they move over the northern edge of Ankeny. This is a portion of the email I sent to our Ankeny viewer... it will help explain why being close to the radar does not keep you safer in storms.

The issue with Ankeny is the growth of the area to the north of town since our radar was installed at Alleman. That area...just like so many in central Iowa... has expanded so much in the last several years. Many housing courses...etc have moved very close to the radar site. This has created an issue for those who live under the dome of ground clutter that will always be a part of any Doppler radar location.

I mentioned in the earlier email we purposely put the radar site away from the downtown area of Des Moines. Since the installation of our Doppler... Ankeny and Des Moines have nearly joined at the south...and Ankeny has really expanded to the north. Alleman has expanded right under the dome of silence around the radar site.

We use this site because Alleman is one of the highest points of the central Iowa area. It is where our TV towers are we own the property.

We try to eliminate as much ground clutter and Anomalous Propagation as possible... but if you are right under the radar site... there is really nothing we can do about those permanent returns of buildings and bending of the radar very close to the radar.

In the event of a very close storm over the our radar... you can cross-section the storm with the National Weather Service Doppler that is located over by Camp Dodge in Johnston.

You will notice they have more ground clutter than we do on a clear day... they put their radar into a "clear air" mode that really increases the junk around the center of the Doppler.... but during a storm that is right over Ankeny... this could help.

Keep that NOAA all-hazard weather radio in your home and in a place that will wake you up if the storms move through when your family is sleeping. You can even register to win a weather radio from Channel 13 by going to

Tornado Alley

Is Iowa really in tornado alley? It is a great and very common question we get at the Channel 13 weather office.

It is true. The most severe weather in the country typically has a target over Oklahoma to Kansas to Missouri and Nebraska and Iowa. We get the big storms because we are located where the dry and cool air collects and meets with the warm and humid air. It is the ingredients that are needed for tornado cake...and we are sometimes the frosting on that severe offering from Mother Nature.

Last night Kirksville, Missouri was the end zone for tornado touchdowns. 3 people lost their lives in that northern area of the Show-Me state.

The Weather Channel has some amazing video from a storm chaser that was in the middle of that tornado. The link above is to the storm story of Kirksville.

It is amazing to see the chaser...named "Tornado Tim"... sit in his car and have huge debris thrown on to his car. His windshield wiper was snapped off.

We have great weather today... another chance for strong to severe storms. Those storms should not hit until later in the day. The weekend is still looking fabulous.

Have a great one... living in tornado alley.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

TV 13 Weather in the Register

Good morning...and hello sunshine. We need about 12 days like today to get rid of the mini-Minnesota lake-land that is going on again in Iowa.

More on the flooding in a moment.... but we are happy to let you know that we are working with the Des Moines Register to bring you the forecast on the register weather page and on line at

This is a great friendship that has grown through the work of our sports teams and now has become a friendship with the paper the state of Iowa reads everyday.

You will see breaking weather details and the live Mega Doppler on the register's home page and find the seven day in the paper with finer details of the next 24 to 48 hours. This is for you... another way for you to get the forecast each morning.

The flood map is looking better this morning. There are still many areas of flooding over the central Iowa area...extending into southeastern counties. There will be some improvement today... but then we hit another wet weather wall tomorrow night.

Heavy rainfall is going to come our way Wednesday night through Friday. It is looking better for the weekend.

Here is how we stack-up...or float-to-the-top right now.

Normal Rainfall for the month-to-date: 3.19"
Actual Rainfall for the month-to-date: 4.95"
Last years April rainfall to date: 5.82"

Make sure you stay tuned to Channel 13 and our digital weather channel..."Iowa's Weather Plus" on channel 13.2 or 246 on your digital cable box. Watch on line at and now.. read about your weather everyday in the Des Moines Register.

Have a great day.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tornado Drill Day

Here we are...the peak of the severe weather awareness week... tornado drill day. Kind of sounds like the highlight of some religious holiday, but it is very important to check the outdoor warning sirens and have a chance to practice all the rules of staying safe during tornadoes.

At 9:50 a Tornado Watch will be issued for the state of Iowa. Then at 10:15 central Iowa will have our test Tornado Warning. The area sirens will sound and kids will move from their classrooms to the center of the school covering their heads until the sirens stop and the all-clear is given.

I remember doing this when I was in school. Back-in-the-day... we had one student that would quickly open the windows in our classroom. The thought was extreme low pressure in the center of a tornado was strong enough to create huge pressure in a building...making the structure implode. Now we know that is bunk. Buildings are not blown-up like a balloon with too much air... they are wrecked with high wind and the debris that is thrown through the air at 200 mph. Stay away from windows! To think I thought is was a cool honor to stay back and open the windows.. like I was little Super Ed...saving the class from eminent danger. Captain Storm Safe! Stop day dreaming Edwin! Oh yea.... anyway get away from windows and put as many walls between you and the outside. Stay low, in the center of the building. In the basement under a staircase or pool table or work bench is a good idea. If you can make a safe room in the basement with essentials like flashlight, blankets, weather radio. The Red Cross has a wonderful web site with a list of items for your family in severe weather or other hazardous events.

At 10:30 a special statement from the Severe Storm Prediction Center and the National Weather Service will explain what has just happened... and end the tornado warning. The tornado watch will end at 11:00.

This is time to remember what to do during severe weather. Have a safe place for your family to meet during and after severe weather events. Think it through like a fire drill.

We will make sure you stay safe with the real warnings. Keep the NOAA all-hazards radio in your home. We have a great portable weather radio available at the a-ha! Store at the Science Center of Iowa. Take it to the outdoor events or keep it in your car...stay safe all year long.

Have a great day. The sky will be blue and the temperatures warm as the sirens sound today.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Severe Weather Aware...Thunderstorms

This is severe weather awareness it is time to just go over a few basics of severe thunderstorms.

Lightning Facts:

-At any moment there are about 1800 severe thunderstorms moving over the Earth...annually about 16 million storms.

-Lightning is hotter than the sun. A bolt of lightning can be 50,000 degrees. That heat is what expands the air and creates thunder.

-If you hear thunder you are close enough to the storm to be hit by lightning.

-30 minute rule.... the moment you year thunder is time to go inside. Wait 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder to head back outside.

-If you hear thunder you are close enough to the storm to be hit by lightning.

In Iowa we are set up really well to see our fare share of severe storms. We have the moisture from the Gulf of Mexico that leaves us sweating with heat and the north cold air that sweeps through with Canadian cold fronts. High winds are pretty familiar to most of us...that adds lift and momentum to the storms as strong lows pass overhead. The perfect storm effect is located right here.

When you hear or see a Severe Thunderstorm Watch issued for the areas... that means we are experiencing all those elements of strong to severe storms. It means you should be on the watch because conditions are right for the formation of storms that might be severe.

If you see or hear a Severe Thunderstorm Warning...that means a severe thunderstorm is going on right now. You need to seek shelter if that storm warning is for the area around your home or school or office.

New Severe Storm Criteria

This year new severe thunderstorm criteria was handed down from the Storm Prediction Center. Until now.. a severe thunderstorm with 3/4 inch hail was considered severe. Now the hail size for severe storms has been increased to 1 inch in diameter. This should help to reduce the amount of time we take crawling the severe warnings across the lower 1/3 of the screen. It's a good idea because we often cried wolf over storms that were strong...but not really severe. Remember this... if you are in a storm with 3/4 inch is still a strong storm. Make sure you have a place to hide from the elements of lightning...hail and heavy rainfall.

More Lightning Facts

The odds of getting hit by lightning are one in 5000. That means if you continually stood outside during strong storms... you would have the 1/5000 chance of getting struck by lightning. So don't just stand outside in strong storms... get in a building or a car. Do not stand under trees.. or near tall objects...or even an open shelter house. You need walls and a roof between you and the storm. If you are stuck outside and there is no way to get to shelter...crouch down on your tip-toes or the balls of your feet. Pull your head down to your knees. Don't lay down. Keep as little of your body as possible in touch with the ground. Lightning strikes spread out over the ground. The less of you touching the ground the better.

Severe weather is coming... it is our time... we are in the right place. Make sure you stay with Channel 13 and Iowa's Weather Plus on Ch. 13.2 or Mediacom Ch. 246 you will always see the warnings for our viewing area. You can also see the warnings on and get weather all the time on your cell phone by signing up for weather information here: You will see news and sports on your web-enabled phone too!

Keep a NOAA weather radio in your and home. We have a portable model available at the Science Center of Iowa for $39.99 (same price the last three years!) It is perfect for you anywhere you go.

Be safe today and all year.

Ed Wilson

Monday, April 6, 2009

Flooding! Turn Around Don't Drown

This is severe weather awareness week in Iowa. The Homeland Security department of Iowa and the National Weather Service ask that we focus on severe weather this time of the year. The focus is really all year long...but we need to remind ourselves and family that we are headed into some of the most severe months of the year. We need to make sure we stay ahead of the weather with tips on safety.

Today's focus is on flooding. It is the most deadly of severe weather in the state of Iowa. Over the years more people have died in flooding than in lightning strikes..tornadoes..or winter storms.

The key is to make sure you know where flooding is common. If you are new to the area you can check out the basics on area river basins that flood by going to
This is the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service. The map highlights points along area rivers that are flooding. You can also see the flood levels for each site. You can also see the past flooding events and how the area around each point is affected by the high water.

Flooding is common in Iowa. We have been through many monster floods....last year was one for the record books in Eastern Iowa.

Make sure you remember the basics of flood survival.
- Don't drive through streets that area flooded. You can't see the depth of the water. Your car can also be swept off the road with as little as a foot of rushing water.
- No playing in flooded areas. You can't see what is below the water. Open man-holes in the streets or debris under the water can be most harmful. The water can be contaminated with human waist or chemicals.
-Flood Watch means there is a chance for flooding.
-Flash Flood and Flood warnings means flooding is happening right now. Move to higher ground.

If your home has a septic pump....check it this spring. Pour water into the septic hole and make sure the pump operates by pumping the water out of the basement. You can also purchase septic alarm systems that sound when the water gets too high. There are also battery back-ups for the pumps just in case the power is knocked out during severe weather.

Flood insurance is not perfect. Many homes owner policies do not include flood insurance. You need to check with your insurance company to make sure you have flood insurance and that includes flooding from heavy rainfall. You might be surprised how many policies do not include flooding.

Much more information on severe weather coming your way this week. Tomorrow we will go over safe living during severe thunderstorms.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

April Blizzard

April showers bring May flowers...April blizzards bring huge headaches.

We told you this one was on the the way all week. This is one of those storms that you might be telling your kids and grandchildren about some day.

The heavy rainfall yesterday set us up for the snow today. The warmer air did take some of the winter punch out of the storm for the northwestern portion of Iowa. I thought there might be a 12 inch total in the northwest corner of the state...but the heavy band of snow set up over the highway 20 line of Iowa.

In and near to Iowa Falls the snow brought down power lines as tree branches were snapped and pulled down the power to about 2000 people.

Conrad, Iowa is located in Grundy County...just north of Marshalltown. That town boasts the riches soil in the country. I grew up in that neck of the woods...and I can tell you that black dirt was covered with 10 inches of April white. 2.5 inches of snow fell in just 1/2 hour Sunday.

My parents live in Grundy Center...and as they walked out of the First Presbyterian Church yesterday....lightning was striking...thunder was rolling and the snow was coming down in buckets.

In Des Moines we had one to three inches of snow. It did melt quickly... and roads were in much better shape than Interstate 35 between Ames and Story City. I-35 was closed as cars and trucks were sliding into the ditch...and Iowa State Patrol units were also stranded. The DOT trucks were also going in the ditches.

Opening day of baseball and snow in Iowa... it has to be April.

This week is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa. Meet me back here for some info to keep you and yours safe.

One more thing... I went to the Barnstormer's game Saturday night. My wife...both kids... our best friends and 4 of their children. Everyone had a blast (with the exception of my wife who is sooo not a sports fan and did not like her drinks being spilt on her shoes). It is going to be a great year for the 'Stormers. I will be back...with just the kids. Happy wife=Happy home.

Have a great day... Ed

Friday, April 3, 2009

Snowy Sunday

Here comes an April snow. This is just what most folks here were not waiting to hear.

April snow is not that unusual. Many of us who lived here in the early 70s remember the monster storm that stalled the state. It kept me out of school for 10 days! Now that I have children of my own...there is greater understanding and appreciation for my parents.

This storm is shaping up to give northwest Iowa a winter blast. Yesterday the National Weather Service threw out a winter storm watch for the northwest 1/3 of Iowa that will go into effect Saturday night and last through the day Sunday.

I thought the winter storm watch was a bit pre-mature. I think it's great to give a heads-up to everyone on big storms that appear to be on the way to Iowa...but mentioning 7" to 18" of snow accumulations...three to four days before the storm... could send a panic to the bread and milk isles at Dahl's.

Today is for the love of spring. It is going to be beautiful. Get out there and enjoy. I will be picking up sticks in the garbage cans and throwing down some fertilizer.

Tomorrow the rain will be here by the evening. Thunderstorms are possible. The rain will change to snow on will be heavy snow at times in the northwest. The wind will be crazy by the evening and overnight hours. Be careful if you have to travel northwest. Stay tuned for the tune-up on the forecast this evening.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Big Time Rain

More rain this morning! It is not what anyone needs or wants to see right now. It is going to be a very serious issue for the folks watching the river flows increase through central and southern Iowa.

We had a record rainfall yesterday. 1.25 inches of rain fell between midnight Monday and Midnight Tuesday. The old rainfall record for March 24 was 1.01 inches in 1945.

The month of march has been very wet. We are now sitting at 4.53" of rainfall in Des Moines for March. The average is about 1.58". Spring is here... but the spring planting my have to be put on hold if we do not have a bit of drying time.

Check your sump pump. It is time to make sure the sump pump in your home is working well. You might want to have a back-up battery unit to provide power if the electricity to your home is knocked out during severe weather.

I have a back-up sump pump that is ready to drop in the was a lesson learned a couple years ago when my sump pump died during heavy rainfall. It is also wise to have an alarm system on your sump that goes off when the pump is not getting the water out of your home.

Here is the river data from the NWS. The AHPS web page.

The Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service has the river levels from every river monitor in the state. These automatic gauges show how high the rivers are at each reporting spot and how that compares to flood stages.

Keep an eye on areas that are prone to flooding...remember to "turn around and don't drown." Do not drive through or allow kids to play in flooded areas.

Have a safe day and hope for the sunshine to take over this afternoon and tomorrow.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Big Storm Thursday

Here we go with some amazing weather today through tonight.

A severe thunderstorm warning was issued this morning in western Iowa. There is a slight chance for severe weather for most of central and southern Iowa through the rest of the day.

The cold temperatures to the north and all the heat and humidity are forcing those thunderstorms and then we will see ice and snow over the northern 1/2 of Iowa this afternoon and tonight.

There is a winter weather advisory for most of the state from highway 30 north. That is from the Ames area to the Mason City area. Ice is going to be the big issue. .10" to .20" of ice accumulation is possible and then we will have about an inch or two of snow on top of the ice tonight.

North...along the Iowa/Minnesota border... we could see 6" of snow on top of .20" to .30" of ice. Big slow-downs are expected in travel...both on the ground and in the air. This morning two American flights were cancelled at the Des Moines Airport. Those flights could not make it into town from other wintry destinations.

The ice on power lines will also cause power outages in northern Iowa tonight. The wind is expected to whip up the those lines with 20 to 30 mph gusts.

More snow is expected tomorrow night. This time central Iowa has a chance for measurable snow... 2" to 4" are possible.

Make sure you stay tuned to Channel 13 through the day today... and make plans to avoid traveling in the winter weather if you can.

Have a great day...stay safe.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Windy Wednesday

Iowa...where the wind comes sweeping down the plain. It seems like Oklahoma could take a backseat to the wild wind of Iowa. There is a reason why Iowa is the third largest producer of wind energy in the U.S. We are right behind California and Texas. In fact we often are the second largest wind energy provider. Thank those amazing wind farms in northwest Iowa and the fact we build the big wind turbines right up the road in Newton.

Tomorrow the low pressure system that will grace us with some light drizzle and light snow. Little accumulation of snow or freezing drizzle will hamper our travel. The bigger issue will be the wind that is created as the low moves out and a high pressure ridge moves in quickly behind the storm. This creates gradient wind. That is why we use isobars on the weather maps. Those little lines represent about 10 mph of wind per line. So if you count 4 lines across Iowa...that means 40 mph wind. Tightly packed isobars shows big-time wind.

Tonight I will show you those lines on the map...and make sure you remember the high wind tomorrow as you deal with the light drizzle and snow.

Monday, February 16, 2009

More Snow?!

Here we go again. Another chance for rain and ice and snow. This time it will hit Tuesday and continue into Wednesday. It will be warm enough to give us all rain during the day Tuesday. Then temperatures will start to fall. There is a good chance for freezing rain before we see all snow after sunset.

One to three inches of snow is expected....right on top of the ice and freezing rain. The wind will kick up with gusts of 30 mph....right out of the northwest on Wednesday.

We are still above normal for snow this season. The average is 25.9 inches of snow by the 16th of February. We are now 38.7 inches of snow...that is over a foot above the average. Last year we had 42 inches of snow by now.

Cold temperatures last year.

We had some very cool temperatures last year. Over half of the country reported below average temps between January 2008 and January 2009. In Iowa we were much below the average in 3/4 of the counties.

Check out the information here....

Keep giving us your great pictures on photolink. You can upload your pics on the weather page...under photolink. Look for the camera.

Have a great day...get ready for the mix tomorrow.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Melting = Flooding

Get ready for the big melt-down. Highs are going to be fabulous today and tomorrow. We will be near 50 degrees both days.

The sloppy streets are going to make it tough to see through the windshield of your car. Make sure the wipers are in good shape and the washer fluid chamber is full.

The end of the weekend and the start of next week is going to be interesting. We are going to have a strong storm system swing through the state from the southwest. We are going to see up to an inch of rain. Calculate the extra 1 to 3 inches of water in the snow that is melting over the northern 1/2 of Iowa....we will see some flooding.

Ice jams are possible in rivers. The ice will start to break apart and can pile up near bridges or make dams along the river banks. It causes localized flooding.

Iowa D.O.T. and county workers can take cranes to the bridges and break up the ice. In other states dynamite is used to blow up the ice.

Next week two storm systems are going to collide. The early-week storm will be moving out as the Wednesday/Thursday storm moves into the state. This could give us more rain on Wed. Then gusty wind with a chance for snow early Thursday. Watching and favorite thing to do!

Enjoy the great weather today and tomorrow!!!


Friday, January 30, 2009

January 30, 2009

Get out there and enjoy the sunshine today. Happy Friday to all.

More cool weather is in the forecast today but tomorrow we will have a melt down. The highs on Saturday are expected to be around 40 degrees. It's going to be a super sloppy day before Super Bowl Sunday.

Snow So Far

We have seen an amazing amount of snow so far this year. In January we have seen 15.5 inches of snow in Des Moines. The average is about 8.5 inches. Last year we had 10.9 inches of snow by the 30th of January.

So far this season we have moved 31.2 inches of snow. Our average snowfall by January 30 is 20.8. Last year by the 30th of January we had 29.8 inches of snow through the 30th.

That is a ton of numbers..but when you dig down to the pavement of the issue... we are going to see another big year for snow. There is a potential for more flooding this spring. The National Weather Service will lay out the flooding forecasts on February 27 and March 13. I will pass the information along.

Ice Age

Much of the southern U.S. is still trying to get power back to their homes and businesses. The ice storm left over 1 million people without power. Central Kentucky was hit particularly hard. You can see the pictures and hear the stories of those who are now living in shelters on the weather page of

New Weather Look and Information

Use the weather pull-down on the main page of and you will see Iowa's Weather Plus, school and weather related closing information, photolink up-link and storm central.

The new Storm Central is a place to see what breaking weather is affecting our state and the rest of the country. Today the head-line is the ice storm. It makes my heart ache for those who are dealing with the massive ice storm.

Have a great day... send me your comments and questions.

Ed Wilson