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Equipment failure jeopardizes Ottumwa's weather history

An Automated Surface Observing System, similar to the one that malfunctioned at Ottumwa Regional Airport (Courtesy: National Weather Service)

The weather records in Ottumwa may be a bit skewed due to an equipment malfunction at Ottumwa Regional Airport.

The weather observing system at the airport experienced a loss of power from 6 AM on New Year’s Eve until 1 PM on New Year’s Day.

Consequently, no air temperature was taken to verify if Monday was in fact the coldest January 1st in Ottumwa's history.

When the system came back online, the coldest temperature recorded on January 1st was -4 at 12:53 PM.

The coldest part of an average day is usually just before sunrise.

KTVO meteorologist Chris Arbino reached out to the Des Moines National Weather Service office about the issue.

They said they were aware of the malfunction and acknowledged that the air temperature was most likely well below the previous record set of -11 set in 1979.

They said they would work with the Iowa state climatologist to estimate a reading that would potentially set January 1st, 2018 as the new record low.

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