Logan called it bipolar weather. He might have a point.
As I was working at my desk Monday, I started to hear the severe thunderstorm warnings come across, one after the other. They were getting closer. Then I heard it. There was one for Wapello County.
I got up from my desk and let people in the other departments know about it in case they needed to save items and our power or servers went down. Then I realized I needed to call home. I had left for work with the dog outside.
I called Logan. He actually picked up the phone — I was worried he might still be sleeping — and I asked him to let the dog in because we had a severe thunderstorm warning. “It doesn’t look like it,” he said, saying the sky looked bright and sunny and nothing was really happening.
That’s what my coworkers and I were seeing out the office windows, but the warning was still out there. Plus I had heard in one of the earlier warnings that the storm was moving at something like 50-70 mph. If it was going to move in, it was going to do so quickly.
“Man, the weather in Iowa is so bipolar,” Logan quipped. He had a point. After all, it’s the state where I can run both the heat and air conditioning in my car the same day. I’m used to the idea of that.
But there was something even more extreme I found while logging record highs and lows for our daily weather section last week. The record low for Ottumwa on Aug. 6 was set at 49 degrees in 2012. The following day, Aug. 7, 2012, a record high was set at 100 degrees. It was a shift of more than 50 degrees in a matter of hours.
Eventually, the storm did hit Ottumwa. I missed it as I was covering a story in a windowless space. That may have been for the better as you’re supposed to stay away from windows in weather like that.
A few hours later, I started to get messages from some family members, most notably my brother in Iowa City. He sent a series of photos of damage there to out family group message. Luckily, he said, they sustained no damage at their home. The next day, he said, he realized how lucky they were just to have power as the grocery store just blocks away was still without.
My other brother, in Omaha, commented that he was out for a morning walk with his dog when he turned around and saw the storm clouds moving in — fast. He ran to a nearby church and called his wife to come pick them up. He said he could tell it was nasty, but thankfully they got clipped by the edge of it like radar shows Ottumwa did.
Seeing all the photos and details of damage round Iowa and the Midwest made me realize how lucky Ottumwa was just to catch the edge.
I’m even more grateful all my family members and friends in areas that were hit much worse are all safe.
And Logan is right. The weather in Iowa can be bipolar sometimes.