OTTUMWA — For the first time in 2020, the Storm Prediction Center believes there’s a real chance of severe weather in Iowa this week.
Much of Iowa is at an enhanced risk of severe storms, including Ottumwa, Fairfield, Bloomfield and Albia. The enhanced risk continues into central Iowa, with the eastern edge of the Courier’s coverage area at a slight risk.
The midday update on Wednesday reflected increasing concerns about the possibility for severe weather. Damaging winds, large hail and some tornadoes are all possible.
For Ottumwa, the National Weather Service expects some thunderstorms to be possible until about 2 p.m. Thursday. They will become more widespread in the afternoon and evening hours, with high temperatures near 70 feeding plenty of warm air into the atmosphere.
The thunderstorm risk will continue until about 11 p.m. Thursday night. Temperatures will plunge after the storms leave, with Friday’s high reaching only 38 degrees. While daytime highs will regain some ground over the weekend, temperatures won’t reach 50 again until Monday.
Next week is severe weather awareness week in Iowa, but there’s a major change to the plans. The statewide tornado drill, traditionally held at noon Wednesday during the awareness week has been called off. The NWS said many tornado shelters are comparatively small spaces, and people are being encourage to avoid close confines amid the COVID-19 outbreak.