Forecasters say new record high temperatures may be set today, tomorrow and Saturday across much of the state. Meteorologist Allan Curtis, at the National Weather Service in metro Des Moines, says normal highs in the 30s will give way to the 50s, 60s and perhaps even 70 degrees.
“We could see records fall at Des Moines, Ottumwa, Lamoni, Waterloo, and in terms of what’s causing this heat, it’s a number of things, actually,” Curtis says. “Being in February and we don’t have any snow on the ground, we don’t have much in the way of frost and it’s pretty dry out there so it’s allowing the southerly winds to really heat us up pretty quickly.” As yet, the official forecast does not call for any Iowa cities to hit 70 in the next few days, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.
“There’s a lot of 68s and 69s, especially once you get from about Ames on south through the state,” Curtis says. “It is certainly possible we’ll see a couple of 70s creep in there. Typically, our warmer spots are southwest Iowa, Des Moines itself and down towards the Missouri border.” With the unseasonable warm-up, one concern is ice jams as large chunks of melting ice will clump up on waterways and cause flooding.
“Most of that is going to be secluded to the northern portions of the state where they’ve had most of the snowfall and the worst of the cold weather,” Curtis says. “Fortunately, right now, we have no current ice jam issues but as the final bits of ice and snow continue to break up across the north, we certainly could have some of those issues in some of our problem areas.”
At least two cities may see new record highs today: Ottumwa, where the current record is 61 and Lamoni where the record is 62. For tomorrow, the current records are: 68 in Des Moines and Ottumwa, 66 in Waterloo and 69 in Lamoni.