The Ottumwa Courier

Wapello County

March 19, 2013

Spring ready to rise, but winter weather continues

OTTUMWA — Once again Ottumwans had a snow white view when they opened their  window blinds Monday morning.

Spring arrives later this week, but citizens don’t want any more snow or ice in their yards or on the sidewalks and cars.

Will there be an end to it? Of course winter’s end will come,  but it won’t be as soon as Ottumwans want.

Iowa Department of Agriculture State Climatologist Harry Hillaker said Monday that the general answer is that citizens must put up with cold or frozen precipitation for a while yet. He admitted March has been relatively cooler than usual.

“The general answer is that people should still expect colder weather for a while,” Hillaker said. “The weather has been in a relatively cooler pattern since mid-February and it’s a general pattern that will continue for a few weeks.”

Hillaker noted mid-March isn’t as cold as February, which can be colder than usual this time of year. The southeast area of the state hasn’t had storms but the lower temperatures do increase the odds that precipitation could still be snow or rain.

Hillaker said no snowfall has been predicted, and neither has been forecast, and there’s no big storm on the horizon for the southeast Iowa sectors.

“There’s  no big storm on the horizon and, looking at the Ottumwa forecast, the chance of flurries will be Monday night and Tuesday,” Hillaker said. “After looking at Ottumwa’s forecast for the near future, there is a chance of flurries Tuesday. For this time of year, 50 degrees isn’t  bad.”

On Wednesday, the temperatures will still be cool, with a high reading of 29 degrees for in Ottumwa. Last Friday offered a “steady diet on the cool side.” Also, with spring on the way, most people would be disappointed with weather that  doesn’t meet their expectations.”

Hillaker said the usual weather for March is more cooler than people recall. Predicting March weather is a hit and miss effort so there will be a few days here and there when the weather will be in the 70s.

“Nice days aren’t common this time of year,” Hillaker said. “Last year, the record high temperature for March 19 was 81 degrees, then the next day was 82 degrees. The weather set a lot of records.”

So far this month,  March has been about five degrees cooler, according to Hillaker. In 2012 , March was 14 degrees cooler.

“This year is closer to typical,” Hillaker said.

The National Weather Service said Monday that March came in like the lion with the colder than normal temperatures.

Meterologist Frank Boksa of the National Weather Service said southeast Iowa was cold and dry. The second week of March was still below normal in temperature and there was “a little bit normal amount in precipitation.

“But, the precipitation was lost because the ground was frozen and couldn’t absorb it,” he said. “We’re still below normal in precipitation for this time of year.”

Boksa also noted the normals are 50  for a high temperature with the low temperature of 29.

“It looks like we'll continue our trend of below temperatures and the highs will remain in the 30s,” he said. “It does look like Ottumwa will get a couple of degrees warmer at the first of the week.”

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