Twenty-first-Century Winters in Howard County
Howard county, Iowa
Although December 20, 2008, brought a recorded temperature of -26 to Riceville, Howard County residents may better remember the February 23-25, 2007 winter storm. A heavy snow, accompanied by lightning and thunder, dropped nearly a foot of snow on the night of the 23rd . (The presence of lightning and thunder in a snowstorm—thundersnow—once rare, is, in this century, more frequent.) On the 24th winds increased, blowing and drifting the snow. This was followed by some sleet and freezing rain and yet another bout of heavy snow and blowing conditions. When this storm finally moved out of the area, it had dropped nineteen inches of snow on Cresco. In its wake it left hundreds of downed power poles, a thick layer of ice, and the high wind.
The 2006-07 winter season marked the fourth highest snowfall in Cresco records.
Sitting in the dark without power, listening to the wind howl and watching heavy ice snap limbs off of trees, it is hard to imagine global weather patterns. The combined records of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) reveal that 2007 was the 10th hottest year, in recorded history, that the Earth has seen. The twenty warmest years, globally, have come since 1995; the ten warmest years, since 1998.
Sources: on-line: weather.gov, December 2008; National Weather Service-LaCrosse, Natural Hazards Assessment for Howard County, IA, 2016; climatecentral.org.