Midwest Weekly Highlights - January 22-31, 2013
Wet End to the Month
The last 10 days of January brought abundant precipitation to most of the region
(Figure 1). Precipitation totals exceeded an inch for areas south and east of a line from the western edge of Upper Michigan to Kansas City, Missouri. The largest amounts were in west central Lower Michigan where precipitation totals topped 3 inches. A few locations in western Iowa and Minnesota received below normal totals but widespread areas of the Midwest received more than twice their normal precipitation with some areas on either side of Lake Michigan topping 500% of normal (Figure 2). Most of the northern two-thirds of the region received snow. Ten or more inches of snow fell in large parts of Wisconsin and Michigan along with smaller areas in Minnesota and Ohio
(Figure 3). A couple hundred daily snowfall records were set, along with over 500 daily precipitation records, in the last days of January. Precipitation records topped 100 on the 28th and 29th and were just short of 300 records on the 30th. The records were spread across the region with dozens recorded in each of the nine Midwest states.
Cold then Warm
Some of the coldest temperatures of the winter hit the Midwest at the beginning of the period with morning lows on the 22nd dropping to below -20°F in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin and sub-zero temperatures extending to cover Michigan, northern Illinois, and most of Iowa (Figure 4). Temperatures rose well above normal near the end of the month with highs in the 60s and 70s on the 30th for most of the southern half of the Midwest
(Figure 5). Another push of cold air brought a return of winter weather on the 31st. Daily temperature records followed the same pattern with record lows for the first few days of the period and numerous record highs later in the month. Averaged for the 10 days, temperatures were a few degrees above normal in the south and a few degrees below normal in the north (Figure 6).
Severe Weather Strikes Southern Midwest
(Figure 7) and 30th
(Figure 8) saw widespread severe weather across the southern half of the Midwest. Numerous tornadoes along with severe thunderstorm winds caused injuries and damage to buildings and trees. Seven tornadoes were reported in Kentucky alone, with other tornado reports in Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. NWS offices (St. Louis, Paducah, Louisville, and Jackson) covering these areas provide more detailed information on storms in their areas.
Multiple Vehicle Crashes
A strong cold front swept across the Midwest bringing winter conditions back to the region to close out the month. The winter weather led to dangerous driving conditions across the northern two-thirds of the Midwest. Hundreds of accidents were reported across the upper Midwest related to the conditions and several were large multi-vehicle pileups. Near Detroit on the 31st, three people were killed and 20 injured along a mile-long accident scene on I-75 that involving about 30 vehicles. On the same day, other multi-vehicle accidents occurred near Indianapolis on I-70 (40 vehicles, 1 fatality, 5 hospitalized for injuries) and near Flint, Michigan on US-23 (32 vehicles, 12 injured). In each case, the highways were closed for several hours to clear the wreckage.