Midwest Weekly Highlights - March 25-31, 2012
More Warm Temperatures to Close Out March
The heat continued in the Midwest during the final week of March
(Figure 1). Temperature departures ranged from 17°F above normal along the Missouri River in Iowa and Missouri to just a degree or two above normal near Lake Erie and Lake Huron. The relatively cooler temperatures in the eastern part of the region even included a freeze watch for the morning of the 27th (Figure 2), when freezing temperatures were recorded into northeast Indiana, northeast Kentucky, and most of Ohio (Figure 3). Daily temperature records were accumulated by dozens per day, rather than hundreds per day as had been the case in the preceding weeks. No record lows were reached while 202 record highs were recorded.
Rainfall totals were below normal for most of the region with large areas receiving less than 25% of normal (Figure 4). Above normal precipitation fell in northern Minnesota and from northern Missouri to southern Wisconsin. The US Drought Monitor noted the dry conditions in the central Midwest though the area had not reached drought status
(Figure 5). The March warmth had finished off the seasonal snow pack (Figure 6) in the upper Midwest but snow returned late in the month as some daily snowfall records fell on the 30th and 31st
Despite the below normal precipitation, hail ranging from 1.00" to 1.75" was reported in many locations across the southern half of the region (Figure 8). The largest hail fell near Clarence, Iowa
(Cedar County) with a report of 2.50" diameter hail stones. Along with the hail came winds strong enough to bring down limbs, trees, and power lines in a few locations. A funnel cloud was reported in Ohio
(Licking County) but touchdown of a tornado was not confirmed.