You will probably notice that Iowans love to talk about the weather! Though it can rain at any time of the year, the rainiest months are in the spring. Iowans like to say, "April showers bring May flowers." Another popular phrase is, "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb." This means that weather may be winter-like in the beginning of the month, but more mild as April approaches. It is the variability and occasional severity of the weather that makes it such a popular topic of conversation.
The climate in Iowa changes dramatically during different times of the year. As the attached chart from the National Weather Service shows, temperatures are hot in July and August; cold in January and February. Remember this as you choose what clothes to bring! In the winter, warm hats, scarves, mittens and boots are essential and people “layer” their clothes for maximum insulation. In the summer, sandals, shorts and t-shirts are the norm.
The most likely time for snow is from mid-November until mid-March. Often it melts quickly. But if the snow comes with wind, it may blow into deep piles called "drifts" which make walking and driving difficult. Occasionally when the snow is a little wet, children roll it into huge balls to make "snowmen" or into small balls to throw at each other in "snow ball fights". You will find that Iowans have many different words for snow: slush, sleet, freezing rain, powder, even "snirt", which is a combination of the words snow and dirt.
Another dramatic form of weather that Iowans occasionally experience is tornadoes. Tornadoes may develop in the spring, but most Iowans have never seen one. Part of the reason for this is that the Weather Service is able to predict when tornadoes are most likely to occur. The Weather Service then sounds sirens and issues warnings on radio and TV so people can seek shelter. By moving to basements or protected areas of buildings away from windows, people are generally able to avoid injury if a tornado develops.
Average Monthly High and Low Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
from the National Weather Service
|Month||High||Low||Average||Precipitation (in inches)|