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Blizzards, twisters and more: Recapping Iowa's year in weather

From January's mammoth 14-inch snowstorm to December's blizzard and everything in between, Iowa's weather showed its brute strength this year.

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From feet of snow to dozens of twisters, 2022 was another year like no other for Iowa's weather

But above all, it reminded us what really matters in life.

"We're all alive. We're all safe. This is all just stuff," said Jeri Vanelsen, less than a day after her house was severely damaged by the same tornado that struck Madison County.

Read more about the March 5 tornadoes and Iowa's other major weather phenomenons of 2022 below. 

March 5 tornadoes

The March 5 tornado outbreak will be perhaps what 2022 is remembered for in Iowa.

The EF4 tornado was on the ground for more than 70 miles and at one point was nearly a half a mile wide.

The tornado took six lives on March 5. 

In addition, the tornado made history as the first EF4 or stronger tornado in Iowa since 2013, and the second longest-tracked tornado in the state since 1980. 

The tornado eventually lifted just northeast of Newton in Jasper County, not far from the Valle Drive-In Theater. 

Valle is the longest standing drive-in movie theater in the state, and although the tornado caused damage across the property, owner Jeff Namminga was able to open the theater back up on the 5-month anniversary of the tornado.

"We are excited to have people back out to the theater," Namminga said in August. "We certainly appreciate the support that we've seen throughout this year." 

3+ inch hail

The other major severe weather event this year happened right over the metro on the afternoon of Aug.19. 

A supercell formed in far eastern Dallas county and intensified as it entered West Des Moines.

3"+ diameter hail was measured across western portions of the metro, as millions of dollars of damage occurred in just minutes as the storm slowly moved east. 

Luckily, with a lack of low level wind shear, there was no tornadic threat that day.

Blizzards: Jan. 14 and Dec. 21-23

On Jan. 14, central Iowa saw the biggest snowstorm of the year, with more than 14 inches of snow at the Des Moines Airport. 

Many other spots across the metro reported totals around a foot.

More recently, the December blizzard brought several inches of snow to most of the state, creating whiteout conditions in the northern half of Iowa.

I-35 was closed Friday into Saturday morning due to the treacherous travel scene.

What it will likely most be remembered for is the sharp shot of cold air: wind chills dipped well into the -30s and -40s and made for the coldest Christmas morning since 2000.

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