OTTUMWA — Ottumwa shivered past a record early Tuesday, as temperatures fell into the low single digits.
The official low of only 2 degrees broke the old mark of 8, set in 1986. Temperatures across the state were well below normal — nearly 30 degrees colder in many cases — and the cold air hung on through the day.
Tuesday’s high of 20 set another record, this time for the coldest high temperature for the date. The old record of 27 was set in 2014.
The cold temperatures are part of an unusually powerful cold front that sent frigid air plunging into areas that rarely see such weather. Freeze warnings were in effect as far south as Galveston, Texas and the Florida panhandle. Brownsville, Texas, on the border with Mexico, had a wind chill advisory.
Temperatures will begin to rebound today. Wednesday’s high should be in the mid-30s. There is a slight chance of snow Wednesday night, but accumulations are not expected in southern Iowa.
There is good news on the horizon, though. This weekend’s warmup is the beginning of what the Climate Prediction Center expects to be a warmer than normal period for the Ottumwa area. The center’s 8-14 day outlook forecasts warmer than average temperatures. The three-month outlook, which would take Ottumwa through the winter, predicts near normal highs.