July 4 departure from normal

OTTUMWA — Temperatures for the Fourth of July weren’t nearly as hot as in some years. Ottumwa topped out at 89 degrees on Thursday, just one degree short of the high in Anchorage, Alaska.

Wait, what?

You read that right. Alaska’s biggest city hit 90 degrees this week. That is, to put it mildly, not normal.

It’s summer, but summer in Alaska is usually a bit different than summer in the Midwest. Records show the average high temperature for the Fourth of July in Anchorage is 65 degrees. Unsurprisingly, Thursday’s temperature was a record. The margin, though, is surprising. Records from Elmendorf Air Force Base suggest the previous record was 76, set back in 1958.

Locally, Ottumwa’s record for Independence Day dates to 1977, when it hit 99 degrees. The average high for the date is 84.

Forecasters think temperatures in Ottumwa will stay in the 80s for the next week, with sporadic chances for rain. The Des Moines River, which remains above flood stage, is not expected to fall significantly until early next week. Of course, that same forecast previously said the river would drop below flood stage this weekend.

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