Midwest Weekly Highlights - May 11-17, 2009
Temperatures were at or below average in the region for May 11-17. Departures ranged from near normal in Kentucky to as much as 10°F below normal in northern Minnesota (Figure 1). Most of Iowa and Minnesota averaged 5°F or more below normal for the week. Most of the daily temperature records for the week occurred on May 17 with record low maximums and/or minimums set in seven states.
More Rain in Soggy Illinois and Indiana
Heavy rains fell in northern Missouri, southeastern Iowa, across Illinois, and most of Indiana. The rain fell in two systems, the first of which moved eastward across the region May 12-14 and the second May 15-16. Precipitation totals topped 2" in large parts of those states (Figure 2). 57 stations reported 7-day precipitation totals over 4.00" with 3 stations receiving over 6.00" . As a percentage of normal, precipitation totals ranged from about 25% in southwestern Minnesota to greater than 300% in parts of Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana (Figure 3). Heavy rains led to flooding in the hard hit areas (Figure 4).
Field work in Illinois and Indiana remained well behind schedule with corn planting at only 20% complete in Illinois versus normal of 92% (24% in Indiana versus normal of 83%). Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky were also behind their typical corn planting schedule but to a lesser degree.
Some of the drought stricken parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin received half an inch of rain. Even in areas that received rain, it did little to alleviate the long-term drought conditions (Figure 5).
Fatal Weather Strikes Again
Less than a week after killer tornadoes in southern Missouri and Kentucky, another round of severe weather caused fatalities, this time in northern Missouri. Tornadoes touched down in the late afternoon and early evening of May 13 in northern Missouri. An EF1 tornado near Milan, Missouri (Sullivan county) killed a resident of a mobile home and less than an hour later an EF2 tornado moved through Kirksville, Missouri (Adair county) killing two.
Flash flooding was a problem across several states with one fatality attributed to the flooding in Knox county, Illinois. Near the Spoon River, a car was washed off the road and submerged shortly after midnight on May 16. Search and rescue located the car on Sunday, more than 36 hours later. The search was put on hold at times due to the strong currents.
Widespread Severe Weather
Severe weather impacts were felt across the region on May 13-14 and May 15-16. Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana were hit the hardest. In both events, the strongest storms were triggered ahead of a cold front moving to the east and south.
The May 13-14 storms brought tornadoes to Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. Large hail also fell in Missouri (1.50") and Illinois (1"). Wind damage was widespread across Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana with additional reports from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio (Figure 6).
Storms on May 15-16 brought hail and high winds to many of the same locations (Figure 7). Golf ball size hail (1.75") was reported in four states ( Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky). Flash flood warnings blanketed the affected areas as storms dumped their rain on saturated ground. Roads were closed due to flooding in many rural and urban areas.