OTTUMWA — Iowa’s severe weather awareness week will end with thunder, and could end with even more.
Strong to severe storms are forecast for southeast Iowa Friday and Saturday. The Ottumwa area is at a slight risk Friday, according to the Storm Prediction Center. Saturday sees a greater risk.
The SPC outlook for Saturday gives a section of Iowa along the Mississippi River from approximately Davenport to Keokuk a moderate risk of severe weather. That’s the second-highest risk category for SPC forecasts and indicates a widespread risk of severe weather. Long-lived and intense storms are possible in that area.
Forecasters for the SPC said confidence in the forecast “is increasing for a potentially potent severe weather setup as ingredients needed for this area are appearing to favorably align on Saturday.”
Temperatures Saturday will help boost storm formation. Ottumwa’s high on Saturday is forecast to be 74 degrees.
Much of eastern Iowa is at an enhanced risk of severe storms, though forecasts updated during the day Friday suggested the threat was shifting slightly to the east. Most of the area was at a slight risk of severe storms.
While broadly useful for understanding risk, the regions are a best guess for forecasters. Being at only a slight risk does not mean severe weather will not hit. In fact, most of the Ottumwa area’s severe weather in recent years has hit while the region was at a slight risk.
Area residents should make sure they have a way to receive warnings Friday evening, overnight and on Saturday.
Wapello County residents along the Des Moines River will need to pay attention as well. The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for Sunday and Monday for the river.