At least three Iowa cities broke or matched 115 year old weather records this morning. National Weather Service Meteorologist Jim Lee says it was especially cold over the eastern half of the state. The Quad Cities, Waterloo, and Cedar Rapids set or tied record lows for this date. Waterloo hit 24 below zero, Moline 22 below and Cedar Rapids 21 below.
Those temperatures haven’t been recorded at this time of year since one of the most spectacular cold waves to strike Iowa and much of the rest of the country back in 1899. “In the 1899 cold wave, we had the coldest four-day stretch in history in terms of Iowa’s statewide average temperature during the second week of February,” Lee says. “It got down to minus two in Tallahassee, Florida. That was the only sub-zero reading ever in Florida.”
A gradual warming trend is expected in the coming week. Lee says while most of the state will only see highs today in the single digits and teens, highs on Wednesday will climb into the 20s and next week temperatures should be in the 40s and 50s.
There are chances for snow in the forecast, beginning tonight over the northeastern two-thirds of Iowa. “But, the accumulations look light, most areas less than an inch or a couple inches in spots of northeastern Iowa, certainly nothing major,” Lee says. “We’ll have another couple chances for light snow between Friday and Saturday, but again, nothing really substantial.”