OTTUMWA — Powerful storms swept southern Iowa on Tuesday, but the worst of the weather stayed south of Ottumwa.
The National Weather Service received multiple reports of large hail. The first in the immediate area came from the Corps of Engineers in Appanoose County, which reported 1.75-inch hail at 6:02 p.m. That’s approximately the size of golf balls.
Another report from law enforcement in Centerville an hour later said hail the size of golf balls “fell for several minutes.” The report also said branches of 1/2 inch diameter were snapped by the storm.
Davis County also saw damage, with a tree reportedly falling on a power line southwest of Drakesville.
Ottumwa saw rain, but felt the storms’ passage in other ways as well. Temperatures near 80 degrees at 5 p.m. fell by about 10 degrees by 7 p.m.
The storms herald a significant change in the weather for southeast Iowa. Temperatures will rise into the 90s over the next several days, much warmer than what area residents had enjoyed thus far this summer.
Returning rains have also made a difference for river levels. Forecasters had expected the Des Moines River to fall below flood stage in Ottumwa last weekend. That didn’t happen.
On Wednesday, the river was at 12.8 feet, and is expected to remain at that level for the foreseeable future. Releases from the dam at Red Rock Lake are expected to remain at current levels for the next week, before a reduction on July 3. If all goes as expected, further cuts to the reservoir’s releases will take place daily from July 6-9.