Midwest Weekly Highlights - March 11-17, 2013
Above Normal Snowfall in Northern Midwest
Precipitation values ranged from 0" to 0.05" in Minnesota to 1.5" to 2" in portions of Missouri, southern Illinois, and western Kentucky (Figure 1). The precipitation in Missouri and Kentucky was 150% to 300% of normal for this time of year (Figure 2). Much of Wisconsin, northern Iowa, and northern Michigan also received above average precipitation, ranging from 150% to 400% of normal. Several daily precipitation records were set throughout the week, mainly on the 11th and 12th.
The above average precipitation further north was a result of significant snowfall during the week
(Figure 3). The snowfall in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan came in a few different events, the first of which occurred on the 10th (reported on the 11th) and again on the 11th, 12th, and the 15th (Figure 4). The significant snowfall totals in the northern Midwest were above average for this time of year. In some locations, 6" to 12" above average
(Figure 5). Several daily snowfall records and a few monthly snowfall records were set throughout the week as well, with many falling on the 11th.
Below Normal Temperatures Continue
Below normal average temperatures continued throughout the Midwest region this past week (Figure 6). Northwest Minnesota had the largest departures of 9°F to 16°F below normal while portions of Ohio and Michigan were near normal or just slightly above normal. Minimum temperature departures were quite variable across the region, ranging from 17°F to 19°F below normal in northwest Minnesota to 5°F to 6°F above normal in eastern Ohio (Figure 7). Maximum temperatures were below normal across the region (Figure 8). Freezing temperatures are still a common occurrence across the Midwest region as well (Figure 9).
Despite the chilly temperatures, very few daily temperature records were set throughout the week. In fact, a majority of the records that were set were record highs, with record high minimum temperatures in Michigan and Kentucky on the 11th and record high maximum temperatures in Missouri on the 15th and 16th.
According to the US Drought Monitor, most of the Ozarks in Missouri shed the official drought label and is now "abnormally dry" (Figure 10). This region of the Midwest has been dealing with persistent drought (ranging from moderate to exceptional) since June 2012. However, some drought effects linger, including low reservoir and lake levels in some areas and dry subsurface soil. Table Rock Lake, which is located in southwest Missouri, was still 4 feet below normal on March 15th, and some farm ponds haven't been completely refilled, causing concerns about livestock water supply.
Other parts of the Midwest saw improvement on the US Drought Monitor this week, including portions of northwest Iowa, which were upgraded from extreme drought (D3) to severe drought (D2). Exceptional drought (D4) is almost completely gone from the Midwest, with only 0.01% of the region (western Iowa) remaining at this highest level of drought.