Midwest Weekly Highlights - February 22-28, 2013
Heavy Precipitation Cuts a Swath Across the Midwest
Two storm systems that tracked across Missouri and off to the northeast brought ample precipitation to the Midwest. The first was on the 21st and 22nd (Figure 1) and the second system was on the 26th and 27th (Figure 2). Areas receiving at least two times their normal precipitation for the week extended across nearly all of Missouri, half of Iowa, and along a 100-mile wide swath from St. Louis to Detroit (Figure 3). Most of Missouri received three times normal and a pocket of northeast Missouri topped four times normal. Despite the abundant precipitation from Missouri to Lake Erie, areas to the southeast including most of Kentucky were below normal for the week and to the northwest precipitation totals dropped all the way to zero in northwest Minnesota.
With much of the precipitation falling as snow, snowfall totals were two to as much as eight times normal for the week (Figure 4). Many locations picked up more than 6" from both systems and totals reached 20" to 24" in northern Missouri. Daily precipitation records topped 200 and snowfall records topped 400 for the week. The precipitation early in the week led to slight improvements in drought status for Missouri
(Figure 5). The latter storm in the week came mostly after the cutoff for the most recent Drought Monitor (Figure 6).
Temperatures Well Below Normal in Missouri
The storm systems during the week brought not only snow but also cool temperatures especially in Missouri. Temperatures were as much as 10°F below normal in west central Missouri and ranged up to 5°F above normal in northern Michigan
(Figure 7). Daily temperature records were sparse with just a handful recorded during the week.
Snow Snarls Transportation
The two storms that moved across the Midwest snarled transportation. Hundreds of flights were affected in each storm and automobile travel was also slowed over long stretches of the region.
Ice Boulders Wash Ashore in Michigan
In northwest lower Michigan, large "ice boulders" washed ashore from Lake Michigan in Sleeping Bear Dunes Park. The rounded blocks of ice were more than a foot in diameter and stretched along roughly 100 feet of the beach. Wind and waves shaped the ice but it is not clear exactly how they formed.