Midwest Weekly Highlights - October 15-21, 2009
Cold Weather Persists
Colder than normal weather continued across the Midwest during the third week of October, with much colder than average weather of the southeastern half of the region. Temperatures were only 1°F below normal in extreme northwestern Minnesota, but reached 8°F below normal across much of Kentucky (Figure 1). The first few days of the period were the coldest, with daily high temperatures only in the 40s north of the Ohio River, and in the low 50s south of the Ohio River. There were 743 record low maximum temperatures and 34 record low minimum temperatures set this week across the Midwest. Freezing temperatures were recorded in the remainder of the Midwest on the mornings of October 18 and October 19, although a substantial portion of the southern Midwest still has not experienced a hard freeze (Figure 2). A gradual warm up began on October 18 as the axis of high pressure moved east and winds turned into the south and southwest across the region (Figure 3). On October 19 and 20 high temperatures finally pushed into the low 70s across the southern half of the region. However, another cold air mass was already pushing into the northern portions of the Midwest.
Agriculture Gets Break from the Rain
With crop development and harvest well behind schedule in much of the Midwest, agricultural producers in the Midwest finally were able to make some progress in the fall harvest as high pressure dominated the region most of this week. Precipitation was near to above normal across much of Minnesota and the southern half of Kentucky, but ranged from just 5 percent of normal in parts of Michigan to 60 to 75 percent of normal in a broad swath in between these two areas (Figure 4). The most significant precipitation was in western Minnesota and in southern Kentucky. Most of the precipitation in Kentucky occurred at the very beginning of the week, while in Minnesota precipitation fell at the beginning of the week and at the very end of the week as another storm system entered the region. Some snow fell in Minnesota, with snowfall totals of 1 to 4 inches reported over the west-central portion of the state on the morning of October 15 (Figure 5).
There was little change in the status of drought across the Midwest this week, with Moderate to Extreme drought depicted over the northern third of Wisconsin on the October 20 U.S. Drought Monitor (Figure 6).