OTTUMWA — Heat, humidity and rain are back in the forecast for Ottumwa. Storms arrive Friday, and a daily chance of rain is expected to remain through the middle of next week.
The National Weather Service’s Des Moines office gives the Ottumwa area a chance of storms Friday, but the odds go up Friday night. Forecasters said there is an 80 percent of thunderstorms, mainly between 8 p.m. Friday and 2 a.m. Saturday. The rain will be widespread, and as much as three-quarters of an inch could fall.
Some of the storms could be severe. The Storm Prediction Center on Thursday gave the southeastern two thirds of Iowa — a line from roughly Council Bluffs to Decorah — a slight risk of severe weather. Hail and damaging winds are the main concerns for the area, though there is some uncertainty over how the storms will come together.
A chance of storms continues through the rest of the forecast, with a 40-50 percent chance each day through next Wednesday.
Fittingly, this is lightning safety awareness week. Lightning strikes killed an average of 26 people in the United States each year in the past decade, according to the NWS, though the figure varies considerably. Strikes killed 40 people in 2016, the highest number in the past 10 years. The next year lightning killed 16 people, the decade’s lowest figure. Hundreds more are injured annually.
Unsurprisingly, the summer months have the highest volume of fatal strikes. It’s both when the most storms form and when people are more likely to be outdoors.
Daytime highs for the next week will be in the upper 80s to near 90. Overnight lows will be near 70. That’s a little bit above normal for this time of year, but certainly unsurprising for Ottumwa in the summer.