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A ‘haboob’ reported in northwest Iowa last night

News, Weather

May 13th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – An intense dust storm hit northwest Iowa in the Little Rock area late yesterday (Thursday), causing a temporary black out due to the amount of dust in the air. The word to describe this weather phenomenon was first used in the United States in 1972.  “It is pronounced huh-BOOB.”  That’s Meteorologist Allan Curtis of the National Weather Service office in Johnston. Fifty years ago, Arizona scientists began using the word to describe the dust storms that swept through the Phoenix area. The National Weather Service uses the term, but Curtis says most Iowans probably haven’t heard it because haboobs are most common in dry, arid regions in the southwest U.S. and western plains.

“Areas where typically in large parts of the year they’re very dry, but they can also get very strong storms that can produce extreme winds,” Curtis says. “…It’s quite rare to get it into what you would call the Corn Belt region just because we’re generally not that dry and even when we are dry, we have corn in the ground, soybeans and whatnot and so there’s less opportunity to kick up that much dust.”

An example of a Haboob dust storm

In the 1930s, the “Dust Bowl” did extreme damage to parts of the Great Plains as clouds of dust swept through the countryside. Curtis says it’s hard to tell with 100 percent certainty if those storms were haboobs, but it’s likely many were.  “Given all the stories that we know that have been told from the Dust Bowl and what we are able to glean from that, it was clearly an extremely dry decade, not a lot of things growing, so there was going to be ample opportunity for dry dirt, dust, other types of debris to be picked up and carried around.”

A combination of conditions in northwest Iowa yesterday — a strong thunderstorm with high winds approaching dry, barren cropland — produced the atmosphere for a haboob. Nick Stewart, a meteorologist for K-G-A-N in Cedar Rapids, captured last night’s haboob on camera and posted video of it on Twitter.

Local 24-Hour Rainfall Totals at 7:00 am on Friday, May 13, 2022

Ag/Outdoor, Weather

May 13th, 2022 by Jim Field

  • KJAN, Atlantic  .43″
  • 7 miles NNE of Atlantic  .4″
  • Massena  .32″
  • Elk Horn  .3″
  • Anita  .11″
  • Audubon  .22″
  • Oakland  .12″
  • Neola  .1″
  • Villisca  .3″
  • Corning  .06″
  • Red Oak  .33″
  • Missouri Valley  .34″
  • Manning  .52″
  • Underwood  .11″
  • Clarinda  .17″
  • Carroll  .17″
  • Shenandoah  .22″

Skyscan Forecast for Atlantic & the Nishna Valley, Friday, May 13, 2022


May 13th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

Today: Scattered showers & tstrms ending; Partly cloudy. High 82. NW @ 10-15 mph.
Tonight: Fair to P/Cldy. Low 48. Winds light & variable.
Tomorrow: Mostly sunny. High 81. S @ 10.
Sunday: Mostly cloudy w/scatterd shwrs & tstrms. High 72.
Monday: P/Cldy. High 77.

Thursday’s High in Atlantic was 91. Rainfall overnight amounted to .43″ Our Low this morning, was 60. Last year on this date the High in Atlantic was 69 and the Low was 35. The Record High on this date was 95 in 1915. The Record Low was 23 in 1997.

NWS needs Cooperative Weather Observers

News, Weather

May 12th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Johnston, Iowa) – The National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) was formed in the late 1800s and has continued across much of Iowa to this day. Officials with the Weather Service in Central Iowa said the volunteer program is currently struggling however, with numerous vacancies leading to gaps in the climate record in many locations.

KJAN photo from Jan. 6, 2014.

The official records, officials says, are invaluable to learning more about floods, droughts, heat and cold waves, agricultural planning and assessment, engineering, and litigation. Observations can also play a critical part in deciding whether local communities receive state and federal disaster declarations and benefits. If observations are not available for your location, officials may determine these declarations, with hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars on the line, based on surrounding observations, which may or may not be representative of your community.

CoOp Observer taking rain gauge measurement. (NWS)

The NWS in Johnston is asking for persons to help with record keeping, especially persons who are able to record data at the same time every day. Co-op observers are volunteers who use equipment (digital thermometers, an official rain gauge and other tools) provided by the National Weather Service, and routinely record daily high and low temperatures, as well as precipitation and snowfall amounts, at a particular time, often 7am (a 24-hour cycle). You will receive instructions on how and where to measure snow. The observations should only take you a few minutes per day.

In southwest Iowa, a Co-Op observer is needed in Bedford, which began keeping the official records in 1898, and in Beaconsfield, where records have been kept since 1951. If you, or another weather enthusiast you know, would be interested in being a part of this long standing network or would like more information, please contact either Cory Martin or Allan Curtis by emailing the office at dmx.coop@noaa.gov or calling (515) 270-4501.

Here is the list of communities where Observers are needed the most (and the year the records were first recorded)

Albia (1894); Ankeny (1950); Beaconsfield (1951); Bedford (1898); Britt (1897); Clarion (1944); Conrad (1977); Gilman (1899); Harcourt (1963); Hubbard (1973); Jewell (1949); Lorimor (1950); Ottumwa (1894); Parkersburg (1951); Tripoli (1946); Winterset (1893).

Skyscan forecast for Atlantic & the area: Thursday, May 12, 2022


May 12th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

Today: Areas of fog this morning; Partly cloudy, warm & humid. High 93. S @ 15-25 mph.
Tonight: P/Cldy to Cldy w/scattered showers & thunderstorms. Low 68. S @ 10-15.
Tomorrow: Showers & tstrms ending; P/Cldy. High near 80. NW @ 10-15.
Saturday: P/Cldy. High 80.
Sunday: Mostly cldy w/showers & tstorms. High 75.

Wednesday’s High in Atlantic was 90. Our this morning, 71. Last year on this date the High in Atlantic was 64 and the Low was 32. The Record High on this date was 94 in 1956. The Record Low was 25 in 1895.

Skyscan Forecast for Atlantic & the area: Wed., May 11, 2022


May 11th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

Today: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 4pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 91. Breezy, with a south southeast wind 6 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.
Tonight: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 7pm. Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly clear, with a low around 68. South wind 10 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Tomorrow: Mostly sunny, with a high near 93. Windy, with a south wind 10 to 15 mph increasing to 16 to 21 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 29 mph.
Friday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 1pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 80. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 79.

Skyscan Forecast for Atlantic & the area: Tue., May 10, 2022


May 10th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

Today: Partly cloudy w/isolated morning showers. High 82. E/NE @ 10 mph.
Tonight: P/Cldy w/isolated showers & thunderstorms late. Low 64. SE @ 5-10.
Tomorrow: P/Cldy. High near 90. S @ 10-20.
Thursday: P/Cldy. High near 90.
Friday: A chance of showers/thunderstorms. High 82.

Monday’s High in Atlantic was 93. We received just .01″ rain overnight. Our Low was 66. Last year on this date, the High in Atlantic was 64 and the Low, 35. The Record High was 97 in 2011, and the Record Low was 26 in 1966.

Temperatures to drop back near normal after 90s today

News, Weather

May 9th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Temperatures have shot up into the 80s and 90s today across Iowa. National Weather Service meteorologist, Roger Vachalek says the temperature isn’t the only thing making it warm.  “Along with that you’ve noticed a rapid increase in a humidity level so it feels exactly like you would expect for summertime,” he says, “and that’s going to continue for the next couple of days across the region. A little cooler tomorrow but we’ll be back up again around 88 or 90 come Wednesday, and then Thursday. not so much of a change — and then into the weekend we start to cool off.”

We’ve already seen a lot of ups and downs in temperatures this year — but Vachalek says the next one won’t be as extreme. Gonna be a stairstep. Friday we’ll have a high of around 80 And then Saturday we’ll be back to 77. And then towards Sunday and Monday right around 70 degrees,” Vachalek says “So we really get into somewhat we would call more seasonal weather towards the end of the weekend and into early next week, but for now we’re way above normal or normal highs right around 70 or so this time of the year.” There’s good news for those itching to get their gardens planted.

“We’re probably not going to see freezing temperatures again at least next week it’s just going to be that lows will be in the 40s and 50s,” Vachalek says, “so certainly plants can survive that, and we’re getting past the time of the year when it’s less much less likely to see that sort of thing.” The high temperatures have been accompanied by heavy winds — but that will change.

“A trough of low pressure which is really a wind shift line is going to approach the state. Now keep in mind that it’s going to do a number of things overnight tonight. That is going to bring us a pretty good chance for showers and thunderstorms, especially over northeastern Iowa. And those storms may begin to build back into central and southern Iowa during the later evening and overnight,” he says.”We do have a risk tonight for some strong to severe storms, and maybe some locally heavy rainfall and some of the storms that do get going.”

“The winds will die off but we will have a threat then for some severe weather as we get into the nighttime hours tonight, especially in parts of Northern Iowa and then possibly extending back into southern Iowa a bit later on,” Vachalek says. He says it’s not looking like we will get many record highs today.

Local 24-Hour Rainfall Totals at 7:00 am on Monday, May 9, 2022

Ag/Outdoor, Weather

May 9th, 2022 by Jim Field

  • KJAN, Atlantic  .47″
  • 7 miles NNE of Atlantic  .18″
  • Elk Horn  .18″
  • Anita  .11″
  • Audubon  .22″
  • Manning  .15″
  • Carroll  .61″
  • Corning  .03″

Skyscan Forecast for Atlantic & the Nishna Valley


May 9th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

Today: Partly cloudy & windy. High near 90. S @ 20-35 mph.
Tonight: P/Cldy w/isolated showers & thunderstorms. Low 62. S-NE @ 5-10.
Tomorrow: Isolated morning shwrs & tstrsms; Becoming P/Cldy.  High 86. SE @ 10-15.
Wednesday: P/Cldy & breezy. High near 90. Cloudy, breezy & warmer. High 89. S @ 15-30.
Thursday: P/Cldy & breezy. High again near 90.

Sunday’s High in Atlantic was 66. Our Low was 56. We received .47″ rain Sunday. Last year on this date, the High in Atlantic was 60 and the Low, 36. The Record High was 96 in 1895, and the Record Low was 24 in 1980.