Midwest Weekly Highlights - February 8-14, 2011
Big Temperature Swings
Temperature departures for the second week of February were cooler than normal except for northwest Minnesota
(Figure 1). Departures ranged from a couple degrees above normal in the Red River Valley to as much as a dozen degrees below normal in southwestern Missouri. Large swings in the temperatures occurred during the week as cold air dropped temperatures below zero for most of the region on the 10th (Figure 2) followed by warm air sweeping in and raising temperatures in the 40s and 50s by the 14th
(Figure 3). The range of temperatures for the week (highest daily maximum - lowest daily minimum) were 60°F to nearly 80°F in the western half of the Midwest (Figure 4). Daily temperature records went from record lows early in the week to record highs late in the week.
Precipitation and Snowfall
Precipitation for the week fell mostly as snow
(Figure 5) except for a Kentucky rain event on the 8th (Figure 6). Lake-effect snows fell downwind of the Great Lakes during the first half of the week. A storm hit the southern plains on the 9th dropping more than 10" of snow in parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Southwest Missouri also picked up several inches before the snow moved east across Kentucky on the 10th
(Figure 7). Most of the week's daily snowfall records were set across the southern edge of the Midwest, while a few daily precipitation records were also set. Despite the large increase in snow cover from the 7th (Figure 8) to the 10th
(Figure 9) when the entire Midwest was covered, by the 14th (Figure 10) the snow had melted back considerably due to the warm temperatures. Precipitation totals were below normal across the region with no precipitation reported from southwest Minnesota to west-central Indiana
Buildings Collapse Under Heavy Snow
The winter's heavy snow took out more Midwest buildings. In Muskegon, Michigan
(Muskegon County), a parking facility at an apartment building and an indoor storage facility both collapsed during the week. No injuries were reported but numerous vehicles were damaged at both collapse sites. Also in Michigan, a Berrian County gas station awning collapsed under the weight of snow and ice. In Greene County, Missouri, a one-story building in downtown Bois D'Arc fell and preliminary investigations indicated heavy snow as the likely culprit.
Red River Flood Preparations Begin
Filling sandbags began on the 14th in Fargo, North Dakota and Moorhead, Minnesota
(Clay County) in anticipation of a third straight spring flood. Wet soils going into the winter and heavy snows have increased the chances for significant flooding from the Red River in western Minnesota to the Mississippi River as far south as St. Louis.