Dangerous Cold Persists Across Central Iowa



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Temperatures bottomed out at -21 below zero this morning breaking the previous record low temperature for January 30, which was -17 below zero in 1965. Today also marked the coldest morning in 19 years in Des Moines.

Low temperature records broke around the state, including a new record low for January 30th of -21 and Ames of -22.

The cold temperatures aren’t the only issue, the wind chills are extreme.

The coldest wind chills were felt in Estherville and Mason City overnight where they dropped to -59. Des Moines’ coldest wind chill was -46.

We’re experiencing wind chills in the 40s below zero in the Des Moines Metro. We’re in the 50s below zero in northern Iowa. A Wind Chill Warning is in effect across the entire state this morning. The Warning will continue through 6 PM tonight for Central Iowa and the Des Moines Metro and until 10 AM Thursday for Northern Iowa.

Winds will stay brisk through the morning from the northwest at 10 to 20 mph but the winds will begin to settle down through the afternoon. This will lead to wind chill values to improve, rising to the teens and 20s below zero by afternoon.

The center of coldest air is located right over Northeast Iowa as of early Wednesday morning. That air will transition to the east now and a ridge of high pressure will push across northern Iowa and move east to Illinois on Thursday. As the center of high pressure moves across Iowa, the winds will become much lighter and the wind chills not as intense. Wednesday morning’s dangerous cold is driving by not only the cold air but also the stronger winds, creating the lower wind chill values. Wednesday night through Thursday morning, the wind will not be as  much of an issue. Wind speeds of 5 to 10 mph are expected tonight through Thursday morning. But with the clear skies and calmer conditions, radiational cooling will be the main reason for extreme cold. Radiational cooling is the escape of any heat here at the surface, built up through the daytime hours, escaping back to space on clear calm nights.

Plan on morning lows in the teens below zero again on Thursday morning with wind chills in the 20s below zero. In Northern Iowa, temperatures will drop to the 20s below zero and wind chills in the 30s to 40s below zero.

Clouds will build in on Thursday and some light snow is possible in western and southern Iowa. Temperatures will rise above zero reaching a high of 10. Temperatures will continue to steadily rise toward the 30s on Friday and ultimately 40s by the weekend.


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