OTTUMWA — The northern hemisphere will officially welcome summer on Sunday, but Thursday will serve as a bit of a pre-game ceremony.
Temperatures in southeastern Iowa are expected to top out in the upper 90s on Thursday. Areas of southeastern Iowa could see temperatures as high as 102 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
Heat index values will be near actual temperatures thanks to relatively low humidity levels, forecasters say.
If the forecast holds, Ottumwa could blow by its 2018 record high for June 17 of 93 degrees. Should temperatures in Ottumwa reach triple digits, it’d be the first time since July 20, 2017.
The heat could bring in a marginal chance of severe weather across the area, though northern Iowa is at the most risk of damaging winds and large hail.
There’s about a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms Thursday night. Rain chances through Sunday are below 50 percent, according to the most recent forecasts for Ottumwa.
Drought conditions have continued to expand south, with about 89 percent of Iowa at least rated abnormally dry by the U.S. Drought Monitor, according to last week’s report. That status to most of Monroe County and the northwestern parts of Wapello and Appanoose counties. The weekly report is released on Thursdays.
Temperatures will remain in the low-90s on Friday, then return to the upper 80s for the weekend.