So our temperature dropped pretty swiftly Sunday. Maybe you noticed. But it was nothing like 11/11/1911. From the National Weather Service Des Moines office:
The infamous “Great Blue Norther” or “11/11/11 Blue Norther” swept across the Great Plains and upper Midwest then later into the eastern United States. As the powerful cold front raced across the region a few strong thunderstorms developed across far southeastern Iowa with a tornado tracking just northwest of Davenport. However, the most notable aspect of this system was the incredible drop in temperature that accompanied the front. Several locations throughout the central U.S. especially in Oklahoma, Missouri, and Illinois set both daily record high and low temperatures within a 24 hour period. These sharp temperature changes were most pronounced in regions where the cold front passed through during the afternoon and evening after ample time had passed during the daytime hours for heating to occur.
Across most of Iowa the front moved through during the morning so temperatures were never able to climb very far, but in southeastern Iowa the 11th started clear and warm with the temperature rising into the 70s at many stations by early afternoon. Between noon and 2 pm the cold front swept rapidly through that corner of the state and rain began then changed over to sleet then snow with blizzard conditions reported in some areas as strong northwesterly winds followed the front. At Keokuk the temperature peaked at 79 F at around noon before the cold front moved through, then fell 37 degrees in just one hour between 1:55 pm and 2:55 pm and another 28 degrees to just 14 F by midnight with an inch of sleet falling during the afternoon and evening.
It was front page news in the Nov. 13 Evening Gazette, under the headline: “OLD BOREAS MAKES ARRIVAL KEENLY FELT.” That was especially true for those who had been fooled by warm weather into putting off buying coal. Why didn’t they just turn up the thermostat? Olden times.
The story also included this remarkable bit of period wordsmithing:
“It sent the summer girl scurrying to cover and the fellow who had persisted in wearing his knee length underwear and decollete shoes was forced to dig Into his trunk for his flannels and high topped kicks.”
Well, sure. I suppose it would. Also, Boreas is the god of the north wind, which I did not know until today.
Here’s a descriptive clip from the Evening Gazette’s article:
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