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The arrival of European trade goods and diseases in the Protohistoric period led to dramatic population shifts and economic and social upheaval, with the arrival of new tribes and early European explorers and traders.

There were numerous Indian tribes living in Iowa at the time of early European exploration.

Iowa's all-time hottest temperature of 118 °F (48 °C) was recorded at Keokuk on July 20, 1934; the all-time lowest temperature of −47 °F (−44 °C) was recorded at Elkader on February 3, 1996.

Iowa has a relatively smooth gradient of varying precipitation across the state, with areas in the southeast of the state receiving an average of over 38 inches (97 cm) of rain annually, and the northwest of the state receiving less than 28 inches (71 cm).

Iowa summers are known for heat and humidity, with daytime temperatures sometimes near 90 °F (32 °C) and occasionally exceeding 100 °F (38 °C).

Average winters in the state have been known to drop well below freezing, even dropping below −18 °F (−28 °C).

When American Indians first arrived in what is now Iowa more than 13,000 years ago, they were hunters and gatherers living in a Pleistocene glacial landscape.The average annual temperature at Des Moines is 50 °F (10 °C); for some locations in the north the figure is under 45 °F (7 °C), while Keokuk, on the Mississippi River, averages 52 °F (11 °C). Spring ushers in the beginning of the severe weather season.Iowa averages about 50 days of thunderstorm activity per year.The subsequent Woodland period saw an increased reliance on agriculture and social complexity, with increased use of mounds, ceramics, and specialized subsistence.During the Late Prehistoric period (beginning about AD 900) increased use of maize and social changes led to social flourishing and nucleated settlements.

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