2019 Winter in Iowa is Memorable But Not Unique

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DES MOINES, Iowa — While this winter goes on and on with snowstorm after snowstorm, this is not the first time Iowa has experienced very high amounts of snow.

The State Historical Museum has an account from the 1930s of a steam locomotive being dwarfed by giant snowbanks on either side. That was taken near Leland in northern Iowa with dozens of men trying to shovel the engine out of a snow bank.

In Ringgold County in the 1930s, a photo of a man standing by a rural electric power pole. The drift is up to the wires and insulators.

In Ames in 1942 there was a huge blizzard which blanketed downtown. A LIFE Magazine photographer was stranded in Ames and did a national story on that storm.

In April of 1973, much of Iowa was marred after a blizzard left as much as 20 inches of snow in some places across the state.

Iowa is also known for cold and warm weather extremes.

“The coldest temperature ever recorded in Iowa, that was recorded in Cherokee County January 12, 1912, when the mercury dropped to  negative 47 degrees without windchill,” said Jessica Rundlett of the State Historical Museum. “The highest temperature recorded in Iowa was in Lee County in Keokuk in the far southeast corner by the state. [It] was recorded [a] high of 118 degrees on July 20, 1934.”


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