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Sunday's Snow Surprises Many In Western Iowa

Courtesy of Jeremy Stiltz in Rock Rapids, IA
A photo Jeremy Stiltz took of the Lyon County Courthouse in the Sunday snow.

Snow fell across the state on Sunday, blanketing some western Iowa communities while barely touching others. Although it has melted by now, some residents are still in shock about what they saw.
Residents in parts of Sioux County saw about two-tenths of an inch of snow, while 35 miles away, nearly seven inches blanketed Rock Rapids in Lyon County. City Administrator Jordan Kordahl says he had expected some flurries, so the heavier snow was surprising.

"It was actually a pretty sight - snow all over the place, on the trees and everything," Kordahl said, "but that was not my first thought when I saw it. It was ‘oh no, not this'."


Kordahl says some tree branches were broken, but there was no major damage.


When Rock Rapids resident Jeremy Stiltz woke up to the snow Sunday, he said he thought "at first it was pretty."



"A soft fluffy snow and no wind," Stiltz said. "Then it became depressing. It felt like summer and fall had been cut short."

While he and his wife stayed inside, did chores and then relaxed, his three kids enjoyed playing in it, Stiltz said.

"The kids loved it!" he said. "They suited up and played in it all day until it turned to mud."

The snow, however, did set back road reconstruction in downtown Rock Rapids that officials hoped to complete mid-October, but Kordahl says heavy rains earlier this year had already delayed it.


The National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, South Dakota also recorded five inches of snow in Dubuque and a half inch in Sheldon. Tim Masters, a technician with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls said the October snow in Rock Rapids is "pretty hefty snow so early in the season."


On whether or not the snow is unusual for this time of year, Masters said, "It's not unheard of, but it doesn't happen very often."


The National Weather Service received a lot of responses on Twitter when it put out a call for pictures of the snow.


Katie Peikes was a reporter for Iowa Public Radio from 2018 to 2023. She joined IPR as its first-ever Western Iowa reporter, and then served as the agricultural reporter.