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OTTUMWA — Southeast Iowa is finally getting a chance to dry out, but it will not last. What comes next could be significant.

The next good chance of thunderstorms moves in Thursday night. The Storm Prediction Center has northern Iowa in a slight risk category for severe weather. Severe storms are not expected in southeast Iowa, but the area of concern is close enough to bear watching.

On Friday, western Iowa faces a chance of severe weather. Ottumwa could see some storms, but they aren’t expected to be severe. Saturday sees western Iowa under the gun again. Ottumwa has a 60 percent chance of thunderstorms that day, and the SPC’s risk area should be monitored.

The day to watch in southeast Iowa may wind up being next Tuesday. This week the SPC issued maps showing a 15 percent chance or greater for each of the eight days in its outlook. That’s the first time that has ever happened. The final day of that set was next Tuesday.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the area of concern includes eastern Oklahoma, western Arkansas, most of Missouri and a small slice of southeast Iowa. That’s the closest any of the SPCs maps come to including the Ottumwa area.

While it is still very early, the SPC’s issuance of a risk area that far in advance is notable. Most SPC forecasts extend only three days, and the center is known for being very conservative in releasing information further in advance.

The National Weather Service gives Ottumwa a 40 percent chance of storms Monday night and a 50 percent chance Tuesday. After a break from the cold and damp, it looks like Iowa’s severe weather season is about to ramp up.

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Matt Milner currently serves as the Courier's Managing Editor. Milner is a trained weather spotter and is usually outside if there are storms. He joined the Courier in 2002.