Seasonal December 30, 2018
In 1978, Iowa Plunged Into An Arctic Freeze That Makes This Year’s Winter Look Downright Mild
Winter in Iowa is always pretty brutal, but we get by with the occasional warm day and gorgeous snowfall that turns our favorite towns into winter wonderlands. One year, though, winter was far from a wonderland. Do you remember the incredibly cold winter of 1978-1979?
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
The winter of 1978-1979 was one of the most brutally cold in Iowa's history.
The average temperature was just 12.4 degrees for the entire season, and anyone who lived through it remembers a neverending chill in the air and seemingly constant snowfall.
The Quad Cities area was hit particularly hard.
One of the worst blizzards in US history affected the Midwest in January 1979, and the Quad Cities were slammed with snow and freezing temperatures. The storm dropped nearly 20 inches of snow on the area, contributing to Janaury's record of 26.7 inches of powder. The total for the season was a whopping 52.9 inches of snow. Can you imagine?! January 1979 was also the coldest month ever in the Quad Cities, with an average temperature of just 6.3°F. On January 2nd, a record low of -27°F kept most Iowans inside their homes.
Throughout Iowa, record breaking snowfall snarled transportation and disrupted Iowans from every corner of the state.
Trains were getting stuck in high snow drifts, roads were blocked and shut down, and even the roads that stayed open were treacherous to drive on when the snow melted and re-froze.
Kids had a blast playing in the snow, but for adults, it was quite a headache.
Rather than a winter wonderland, Iowa became a total nightmare. It was hard to leave the house for any reason without bundling up like Ralphie from A Christmas Story. Mostly, we just stayed inside, built fires, and hoped it would pass soon.
Historically, the winter of 1978-1979 was the second coldest winter of the 20th century.
While Iowa was hit with a brutal cold snap in 2014, it paled in comparison to the winter of '78-'79! With any luck, we'll be able to escape a brutal winter this year, and be able to enjoy the bright winter skies and crisp
occasional snowfall that makes Iowa a winter wonderland... most years.
Do you remember the winter of 1978-1979? Share your snowy memories with us in the comments below!
If you think another winter could qualify for Iowa’s worst, read about these
10 Impossible To Forget Winter Storms In Iowa’s History and decide for yourself!