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OTTUMWA — Thursday appears to have set a record for Ottumwa, thanks to an absurd amount of rain in a single hour.

The National Weather Service said the day ended with 4.19 inches of rain. That amount absolutely crushes the old record of 0.74 inches, which was set in 1985.

Most of the rain fell from 7-8 p.m. Ottumwa officially received 3.09 inches in that single hour. Even by the standards of a southeast Iowa spring storm, that’s a remarkable total.

The high rate of rainfall continued, with the official gauges picking up another 0.67 inches in the next hour. In fact, Ottumwa racked up another inch of rain between 8-11 p.m., enough to have broken the record on its own.

The storms did lead to some damage reports in the area, particularly along the Mahaska-Wapello county lines.

Limbs as large as 3 inches in diameter were reported downed near Fremont. And 1-inch hail was reported near Kirkville.

There is more rain in the forecast, particularly on Saturday. But forecasters at this time don’t expect anything like the downpours that hit Thursday evening.

Matt Milner can be reached at and followed on Twitter @mwmilner


Managing Editor

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.

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