National Weather Service

National Weather Service Meteorologist Jeff Zogg in Johnston describes the criteria for determining if weather events will be storms or if winter weather advisories are more appropriate. He gives advice about driving in the first snow and offers a look ahead to what travelers may expect for Thanksgiving.  

Flickr / David Morris

Severe weather is moving rapidly from the southwest through Iowa this afternoon. The National Weather Service has issued tornado warnings, and severe weather has damaged buildings, trees, or knocked out power in several Iowa counties. 

Flickr / Phil Roeder

The jet stream responsible for Iowa’s unseasonably warm November weather isn’t going to last long enough for weekend picnics. A cold front will come through the state Thursday night.

Bob Elbert

Lake City is quickly recovering from an EF1 tornado that touched down Sunday night, tearing the roof off the community’s high school. Mayor Gary Fahan says around 25 percent of homes in the town are damaged, but clean-up is well underway.

UPDATE 12:35 pm Monday, January 5, 2015 - The "General" in charge of the Iowa Department of Transportation's battle plan for the approaching snow storm says they're ready to go. 

Baby It's Cold INSIDE

Nov 25, 2014

The U.S Energy Administration this week predicted Midwesterners could enjoy utility bills as much as 38 percent lower than last winter. While that sounds good, the man who oversees a low income heating assistance program believes the numbers are flawed.

Justin Valas

The President's order to protect five million undocumented immigrants from deportation has been welcomed by some, condemned by others.


NASA just released news that back in 2012, the Earth came very close to being hit by a solar flare – an event that could have wiped out electrical power for tens of millions of people.

Iowa's Rising Waters

Jul 8, 2014
Amy Mayer / Iowa Public Radio

Iowa’s rivers and reservoirs have not reached flood stages of 1993 or 2008, but many communities are still dealing with significant flooding.

William Ingram

True or False - If taller things are around you, you're safe from getting hit by lightning.

True or False - You should determine whether it is safe to be outside based on the amount of seconds between lightning and thunder.

True or False - You can develop tree looking "tattoos" if you survive a lightning strike.

Clay Masters / IPR

  Torrential downpours in northwest Iowa caused rivers to swell… floodwaters damaged homes, businesses and farmland.  Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are assessing the area to see if it qualifies for federal help. State officials on Monday said public infrastructure sustained more than $15 million worth of damage in the state.

That doesn’t include homes, businesses and farmland in Rock Valley and other parts of the region that were destroyed.

“We’ve had a few (floods), but nothing remotely close to this,” said Rock Valley Mayor Kevin Van Otterloo.

Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this week, a levee broke in Rock Valley, Iowa, flooding several homes and businesses. Yesterday Sioux City residents flew into action sandbagging along the river.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

It continues to be a tough year for trees in Iowa. The Polar Vortex left its mark on many trees and shrubs, and now a tenth county has been added to the list of counties in Iowa where the Emerald Ash Borer has been discovered. That county is Johnson County, and an adult female Emerald Ash Borer was found in Iowa City.

Also, listeners have their plant and garden questions answered by Jeff Iles, Professor and Chair of the Horticulture Department at Iowa State University, and Richard Jauron, Iowa State University Extension Horticulturist.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

On a Saturday morning in Mason City, city officials give a group tour of eight homes once flooded in 2008, in the hopes that someone will come to buy one. and move it out of the floodplain.

It can cost thousands of dollars to pay a contractor to move a two-story, historic house, and turnout is minimal. But a handful of former residents show up to walk through their homes one last time.

Cedar Rapids artist, Louis / flickr

This week, Iowa has been pummeled by strong winds, rain, hail, and even a tornado – with Sunday’s storm taking the lives of two Iowans.

Today on River to River, severe weather in the Midwest. Two Iowa climatologists, Bill Gallus (ISU) and Alan Czarnetski (UNI), join the program to talk about this year’s spring season.

Ben Kieffer / Iowa Public Radio

Is winter almost over?  And how has the long, harsh season affect Iowa's waterways and aquatic life?  Also, the latest Quinnipiac poll, 2014's Cancer in Iowa report, Iowa's new tourism ad campaign and Pi Day at the Science Center of Iowa.

Joe Wilkinson / Iowa DNR

In a News Buzz edition of River to River, Host Ben Kieffer talks with IPR's Clay Masters about debate over a plan to ban the sale of e-cigarettes containing nicotine to minors. 

We hear from Cedar Rapids Democratic Senator Liz Mathis about the need for emergency funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.  She says one family found it less costly to spend a week in a hotel, rather than heat their home using propane. 

We get local reaction to a new study on the effectiveness of mammograms. 

johnny9s / flickr

In this News Buzz program, hear six short interviews about: the Iowa Juvenile Home, the Olympics in Russia, an embarrassing phone conversation involving the U.S. State Department, a cyber-security competition, a deadly snowmobile accident and safety concerns, and the analysis of flood prediction. 

Thomas Favre-Bulle

In the first half of this program, host Ben Kieffer talks with two members of the new Iowa Department of Education commission charged with strengthening the core curriculum.  Guests are D.T. Magee, the Executive Director of the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners, and Tom Downs, Executive Director of the Iowa Association of School Boards.

In the second half, hear about new attention given to sexual assault, doubling of propane prices, and what is behind the latest cold weather.

Evan Long

In this News Buzz show we talk with state maintenance engineer for the Iowa DOT Bob Younie about the winter driving conditions for today and the weekend, State Certified Sign Language Interpreter Lindsey Kang about what makes for good sign language, Captain Jim Steffen from the Iowa City Police Department about protecting police dogs, Dennis Lee and Daren Schumaker from Team 99 Counties, and The Des Moines Register's Kyle Munson about his coverage of odd stories about animals this year.

Alan Light

In this 'News Buzz' edition of River to River, hear about new rules for traffic cameras in Iowa, a stopgap farm bill passed in the U.S. House, a new hydrocodone-related drug which is meeting opposition from Iowa's Attorney General, the Hawkeyes will meet LSU, and what's with the early bout of cold weather?

Durrie Bouscaren / IPR

In the period between 2008 and 2012, Iowa experienced a record amount of flooding and variability in rainfall, leading to damage that cost the state billions. Today on River to River, host Ben Kieffer asks how climate change is impacting extreme weather patterns, the economic impact, and, how we in Iowa can best prepare for the years to come.

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Library and Archives Canada

Humans developed in warm climates, but eventually our ancestors made their way into colder and more inhospitable regions.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with physiologist Kevin Kregel and anthropologist Robert Franciscus of the University of Iowa about how humans have acclimated to cold and challenging environments.

Stefanie Seskin

Nearly all gasoline sold in the U.S. contains up to 10 percent of ethanol—a corn-based liquid often added to gasoline. As a renewable fuel ethanol reduces the amount of petroleum-based gasoline on the market and many farmers receive subsidies to grow corn for the biofuel. But now the Environmental Protection Agency is considering a reduction in the required amount of ethanol for the country's gasoline supply.  Harvest Public Media's Ames-based reporter Amy Mayer and host Ben Kieffer discuss the future of ethanol in the U.S.

EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection / World Vision

Yesterday the aircraft carrier the U.S.S. George Washington arrived off the coast of the Philippines to deliver aid to survivors of Typhoon Haiyan.  The U.N. says that almost half a million people have been displaced and it is feared that as many as 10,000 have perished.

Dr. Rosa Reyes, the business manager for the Filipino American Association, and Filipino immigrant Mary Sherrill of Waukee talk with Ben Kieffer about how the typhoon has affected the Filipino community here in Iowa. 

Dean Borg


In Iowa City, a highly visible end of an era for a fine arts icon: Hancher Auditorium’s walls will fall to demolition crews Monday – five years after the Iowa River’s  muddy flood waters surged over the stage where the world’s best dancers, musicians, and thespians once performed. Demolition crews have been working inside since early summer, gutting Hancher’s interior.

Since the 2008 flood, the University of Iowa spent nearly $2 million, using 500,0000 gallons of propane to meet FEMA requirements to keep the building climate-controlled.

Jimmy Emerson / jimmywayne / Flickr

Host Ben Kieffer gets the latest on news from around Iowa.  MidAmerican Energy gives an update on the power outage which left almost 40,000 Des Moines-area residents in the dark. IPR's Joyce Russell discusses changes to the problematic Toledo Juvenile Home.  The DNR has a new report which looks at drought conditions in Iowa.  Also, Dubuque native Brooks Wheelan joins the cast of "Saturday Night Live."

Bob Elbert

This River to River includes discussion about gun laws in Iowa, high pollen counts and allergies, an Iowan who was appointed to the National Council on the Humanities, ISU has a new very fast computer, hot weather, a holiday weekend State Park preview, and Des Moines and Cedar Rapids are supposedly good places for frugal living.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

"Crystal Impressions" will stand at the entrance to the new Cedar Rapids amphitheater along the Cedar River. The floodable, concrete amphitheater incorporates earthen berms and flood walls to protect some of the city's west side.

Husband-and-wife duo Tom and Jean Latka created the piece in their Pueblo, Colorado studio.

Kasper Nybo / Flickr

The catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011 was the most costly natural disaster in the history of the world and killed almost 16,000 people.  Host Ben Kieffer sits down with Daisuke Ogata, a Japanese college student visiting Des Moines for the summer, and Mary McCarthy of Drake University to discuss how this tragic event has changed U.S.-Japan relations.