Midwest Overview - February 2009
A Mixed Bag
The Midwest was cold north and warm south, with some exceptions during February. Temperatures were 4F to 5°F below normal in northwestern Minnesota, and up to 4°F above normal across southwestern Missouri (Figure 1). In much of the central Midwest, temperatures were near normal. In general, during the first two weeks of February temperatures were well above normal, and much below normal the last two weeks of the month. In Kentucky, a mild and dry February allowed emergency workers and power crews to gradually put electric and water utilities back online in the state. More than 700,000 people were without power as the month began due to the lingering impact of the late-January ice storm.
Precipitation was at or above normal in Minnesota and the Michigan U. P., and from southwestern Missouri northeastward through Michigan (Figure 2). In far northwestern Minnesota and from northeastern Illinois through central Lower Michigan precipitation reached 200 percent of normal for the month.
Snowfall was normal to well above normal across much of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan (Figure 3), as well as the central Ozarks in southern Missouri. The Missouri snow was the result of one storm on February 27-28. At the end of the month, snow cover was normal to above except in portions of Iowa, southern Wisconsin and southern lower Michigan (Figure 4). Snow cover was well above normal in western Minnesota, and the heavy snow this winter combined with a wetter than normal fall has led to a high probability of major flooding along the Red River this spring as the snow melts.
This was a colder than normal winter (December-February) across the Midwest, with only a small part of southwestern Missouri with slightly above normal temperatures (Figure 5). Temperature departures from northeastern Iowa north through Minnesota and Wisconsin were 4°F to 7°F below normal, while across's the central Midwest temperatures were 2°F to 4°F below normal. Precipitation was normal to above normal except in much of Missouri and far southern Illinois, where it ranged from 60 to 75 percent of normal (Figure 6). The persistent rain and snow helped wipe out drought conditions across Kentucky, which were labeled as Extreme in the southeastern portion of the state the first week of December. Dry conditions across central and northern Wisconsin persisted through the winter, with some expansion of Severe drought by the end of February. Snowfall was normal to much above normal north of a line from the Iowa/Missouri border across northern Illinois, northern Indiana and northern Ohio (Figure 7). Snowfall was also above normal in the Ohio Valley.
For more details on weather and climate events during February 2009, click on the individual weekly report links on the upper right.