Midwest Weekly Highlights - October 22-31, 2012
Near to Above Normal Precipitation
A majority of the Midwest region received at least half an inch of precipitation during the last ten days of October (Figure 1). The highest precipitation totals were in the eastern Midwest, where 3" to 8" was reported, much of which came after Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the East Coast. The high precipitation totals in the eastern Midwest were well above normal, reaching 500% to 750% above normal near the Cleveland area (Figure 2). Other locations in the Midwest, mainly northern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, also received above normal precipitation during the last 10 days of the month when 1.5" to 3" of precipitation fell. The significant precipitation received in many locations across the Midwest resulted in numerous daily precipitation records. In fact, almost 40% of the daily precipitation records for October were set during the last ten days of the month. There were even a few monthly precipitation records set in Michigan, Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Ohio.
Accumulated snowfall during the last ten days of October was above normal for a few locations in the Midwest as well. A significant portion of Minnesota received at least some measurable snowfall, with the highest totals reaching 3" to 4" in the northern part of the state
(Figure 3). Locations in Upper Michigan also received anywhere from 0.1" to 2". In addition to significant rain, Hurricane Sandy also brought snowfall to some locations in Ohio and Kentucky, setting several daily snowfall records across these states.
Temperature Departures Varied by Region
Average temperatures varied across the region from below normal in the western Midwest, to near normal in the central Midwest, and above normal in the eastern Midwest (Figure 4). Maximum temperatures were either below or near normal (Figure 5) across the region, while minimum temperatures were generally near to above normal (Figure 6). There were several daily temperature records set during the last 10 days of the month, including record highs and record lows.
Hurricane Sandy's Impacts Felt in the Midwest
Even though Hurricane Sandy's impacts were most significant on the East Coast, locations in the eastern Midwest were still affected by this historic storm. As mentioned previously, after making landfall, Hurricane Sandy brought significant precipitation (both rain and snow) to the eastern Midwest (Figure 7). In addition to the significant precipitation, high winds also made their way across the Midwest region. The most significant damage in the Midwest from the storm was in eastern Ohio, specifically the Cleveland area. According to the National Weather Service Cleveland office, peak winds measured 68 miles per hour and winds gusted to 58 miles per hour for six hours straight at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. There was a lot of storm damage along the shoreline of Lake Erie, with many boats sunk or missing from marinas in the area. The Coast Guard estimated peak waves on Lake Erie to be around 19 feet in Cleveland. As a result of the high waves, portions of Interstate 90 on the east side of the Cleveland had to be closed because the waves were breaking on the road. There were about 250,000 houses that lost power and widespread wind damage across northeastern Ohio (Lorain, Cuyahoga, and Lake counties). To see what conditions were like in Cleveland during the storm, watch this video from Channel 3 News in Cleveland.
The impacts of Sandy also extended further to the west as the high winds made their way across the Midwest region. The high winds also produced significant wave heights on Lake Michigan. In fact, southern Lake Michigan experienced near record wave heights on October 30th, when waves reached 21.7 feet (record is 22.9 feet, set on September 30, 2011). To find out more about the impacts of Sandy in Chicago and photos from the lake front, read the event summary from the National Weather Service Chicago office.