On This Date in Iowa Weather History: Six Foot Hail Drifts Occurred on August 6, 1890

On August 6, 1890, a very severe hail storm struck portions of Adair and Union counties producing incredible amounts of hail. One person wrote that near Orient “the hail destroyed all green vegetation and small animals, such as rabbits, ground squirrels, etc., and all the birds. It fell to a depth of four inches, varying in size from a quail’s egg to a hen’s egg, and drifting in many places to a depth of six feet, where it remained, when protected by the trash, for twenty-six days after the storm, or until September 1st.”

Another observer in Creston wrote that “hail commenced to fall…for forty minutes…on the bottomlands hail was drifted from four to six feet deep, and where protected by long grass, was found in large quantities twelve days after the date of the storm.”

Below are handwritten notes from the observer in Des Moines on August 6, 1890. Only pea size hail fell in Des Moines on that day, but they did mention the severe storm to the south and southeast.


From the bottom of the page after 6 reads: Falling barometer, stationary temperature, thunder heard at 1:45 pm. Loudest 2:20 pm. Rain began 2:10 pm, ended 2:30 pm. Hail size of peas 2:22-2:24 pm. Max wind 29 mph. Storm apparently more severe to the S and S.E.