Midwest Weekly Highlights - January 24-31, 2006
The last week of January has continued where the first three weeks of January started...warm! Anomalously warm weather and several record high temperatures were one of the biggest stories this week, and is reflected in average temperature departures across the region for the third week of January (Figure 1). Average daily mean temperatures for the final week of January ranged from near normal to 4°F above normal in southern Kentucky to 20°F above normal across north central Minnesota. The remainder of the Midwest saw average daily temperature departures between 8°F and 18°F above normal, with much of Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and northern Illinois experiencing departures greater than 10°F above average this week.
Precipitation for the
week was far more homogeneous across the Midwest than it has been
for the past several weeks. This week, Wisconsin, Minnesota,
Iowa, and the upper peninsula
and much of western and northern Illinois experienced precipitation
surpluses ranging from 150 to 400% above normal, while much of Ohio and
eastern Kentucky saw generally less than 50% of the normal
Due to the warmer than average
temperatures again this week, precipitation was mainly in the
rain, and the snow depth map on January 31 clearly shows the general lack of snow across the Midwest (Figure
In addition, the total snowfall for the month of January is significantly lower than average (Figure 4).
Despite the welcome precipitation across portions of the Midwest
this week, large long-term precipitation deficits remain.
Consequently, there was little
the drought status this week (Figure 5).
January Ends Like a Lion
On January 24, an area of deepening low pressure moved southeast out of Canada, sweeping a cold front across the Midwest (Figure 6). Very strong winds were associated with this area of low pressure, and a host of wind advisories were posted across the Midwest (Figure 7). A summary of the peak wind gusts are provided in the following table:
Across central Iowa, a man sitting in the lobby of the Polk County Human Services building was injured when the wind dislodged a plate glass window. In addition, a semi-tractor trailer was blown over on I-35 just north of the Missouri border, and another was blown over on Iowa-14, just south of Newton, IA. Finally, the mile-long bridge across the Saylorville Dam, just northwest of DesMoines, IA, was closed for forty-five minutes because the bridge was swaying heavily in the gusty winds.
Quiet and seasonable weather prevailed for much of the final
week of January. Just prior to the end of the month, however, a
powerhouse storm system barreled through
the Midwest on January 28-29 (Figure 8),
bringing copious rain and
thunderstorms to parts of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan,
while snowy conditions were found further north across extreme northern
and Wisconsin. Snowfall values were generally on the light side,
between 2 and 4 inches, with a maximum in the lee of Lake Superior
greater than 5 inches (Figure 9). Moderate rain fell across Missouri and Illinois (Figure 10)
during the daylight hours on the 28th, and this area of rain headed
east and north into Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio on the 29th (Figure 11). A large area of the Midwest saw over 0.50" of rain from this storm system (Figure 12), and much of it fell across the drought stricken areas of eastern Iowa and northern Illinois.
Winter Warmth Continues to Set New Records
The last week of January saw more record high maximum temperatures (and high minimum temperatures) than any week yet this month! The following table clearly demonstrates the expanse and magnitude of the warmth across the Midwest this week:
Where is the cold air? Will it spill into the Midwest during the first week of February? Find out in next week's edition of the Midwest Climate Watch.