BY CINDY TOOPES
COURIER STAFF WRITER
---- — OTTUMWA — The good news is that the tropical temperatures won't last long. In fact, they're already fading
That's the news from Harry Hillaker, the state climatologist.
"Today [Tuesday] has perfection, with strong south winds that are warm and dry from the south and southwest," Hillaker said. "The higher levels in the atmosphere are now a warm, dry air mass. It's just the right combination to warm us up a lot."
Hillaker noted the air mass has a lack of direct sunshine and has moved into western Iowa where temperatures reached 90 degrees after a low of 40 degrees.
"Today is our turn for heat, but by tomorrow, the heat should be east of us," he said.
Hillaker said the intense heat has been mentioned in the forecast for a while. But with the last few days, the change has been hard to comprehend. He mentioned Ottumwa's late winter weather also included a record low of 34 degrees for Sunday.
"That could be a new record low for May 12," he said. "In 1988, 92 was the high temperature, and we may have a new record. The normal high for now would be 72 degrees."
Recent wet and cool weather has helped people to forget last year's drought and heat, according to Hillaker.
"The heat won't be a long-term thing," he said. "It'll be a one-day event."
The National Weather Service's meteorologists agree with Hillaker's information. Yes, it's hot now, but it won't last ong.
"We just saw in our western United States information that the weather will be cooler over the weekend due to a Canadian air mass," Meteorologist Craig Cogil said. "That will be replaced by an air mass originating in the desert Southwest and crossing Iowa today."
The front should move down from Canada and then across Iowa during the overnight hours, Cogil said. By today, cooler weather should be in Iowa.
"The temperatures will be be above normal but not as warm as what we see today," he added.