RINGSTED, Iowa — Easter Sunday 2020 will be remembered around the Iowa-Minnesota state line area for a big snowstorm. There wasn’t so much major snow, but rather snow, ice, and wind.
The town of Ringsted in Emmet County came in with 11 inches of snow, the most of anywhere in Iowa.
The official measurement came from a man who has been watching the weather in this corner of the state for close to 40 years. Robert “Lightning” Petersen uses his back yard to park measuring equipment to keep track of snowfall, and rainfall.
The 11-inch measurement on Easter Sunday was a surprise.
“I was flabbergasted because it was not a blizzard activity during the day,” said Petersen. “But holy smokes, when I got that gauge up on the deck, it was plum full. I thought it can’t be. I must be seeing things.”
Petersen works in concert with the National Weather Service out of Johnston. He has to record the date from his gauge the first of every month. When the snow fell, he checked his 12-inch gauge and found the 11-inch snowfall.
This snowfall amounts varied even from mile to mile around this area.
“You can tell by your own snow at your house. One time with a big old blizzard, the next minute it’s not snowing at all or very little, very spotty,” said Petersen.
The weather guy is proud of his home town of Ringsted.
“It’s named after Ringsted, Denmark, so now you have just Ringsted, Denmark, and Ringsted Iowa,” said Petersen.
He said he likes the job of weather observer.
“It’s interesting. It’s an obligation, and you know something nobody else does,” said Petersen. “A lot of people are asking how much rain. A lot of farmers asking how much rain or snow.”