OTTUMWA — An extraordinarily strong cold front will send temperatures into the single digits tonight, likely breaking records across southeast Iowa.
Ottumwa’s record low for Nov. 12 is 8 degrees, set in 1986. The National Weather Service expects the overnight low to fall to only 4 degrees above zero, easily enough to set a new mark.
Temperatures Monday are expected to rise to about 23 by noon, but then they will rapidly fall. Blustery winds of 15-22 mph, and occasional gusts of 30 mph, will make it feel much colder.
Temperatures will rebound, but it will take a couple days. Tuesday’s high will be around 22 degrees. Wednesday should get back above freezing, though, and near normal temperatures are expected by Friday.
While snow and cold temperatures in November are hardly unusual, the strength of this front is. The NWS said records could be set across a huge swath of the country. Most of the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains was expected to see unseasonably cold temperatures, with records being set all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. “This will make it feel like in the middle of winter rather than in November for much of the eastern two-thirds of the country for the next few days,” it said.
Monday saw the region’s second significant snowfall of the season, making the morning commute slick and delaying classes for many area school districts. Southern Iowa avoided the worst of the storm this time, with totals generally around an inch. Central and east-central Iowa saw considerably more, with some areas approaching six-inch totals.
It was just enough to break Ottumwa’s record for Nov. 11. The old mark was 0.8 inches in 1959.