OTTUMWA — Summer heat and, possibly, summer storms will return to southeast Iowa this week.
The National Weather Service expects Tuesday to be the first 90-degree day of the year in Ottumwa. Records from the Midwestern Regional Climate Center show the last time Ottumwa hit 90 was Sept. 3, 2019.
The arrival of 90-degree highs is right on time. Most of the past decade shows a late-May to early-June arrival of the heat, though how much there is varies considerably. Summer of 2014 had only four summer days with highs of 90 degrees or higher. But 2012 had 45 of those days.
But being on time doesn’t mean this is normal. Average highs for early June should still be in the upper 70s and, with no time to adapt before the heat hits, it’s going to feel very uncomfortable.
The National Weather Service expects Tuesday to have a high of 91, with a heat index of about 97. Experts recommend slowing down and reducing strenuous activities during the heat of the day. Staying inside, and in air conditioning when possible, is the best way to avoid heat-related medical issues. Know the signs of heat exhaustion, such as weakness, nausea and muscle cramps. Give yourself a break and get out of the heat if you experience such symptoms.
Heat stroke is characterized by dry, hot, red skin, a temperature of 103 or higher, and possible loss of consciousness. It is a medical emergency, and people should call 911 immediately.
Temperatures will cool slightly into the mid- to upper-80s for the remainder of the week. Chances of storms arrive Wednesday. Storms are not guaranteed. No day has a chance greater than 40 percent, but it’s in the forecast from Wednesday through Friday night.