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Midwest Weekly Highlights - May 1-10, 2013

Temperatures Vary Widely

Temperatures in the Midwest during the first ten days of the month ranged from 8-10°F above normal in lower Michigan to 8-10°F below normal in western Iowa (Figure 1). Despite the wide range of departures from normal, just a handful of record high maximum temperatures were set (mostly in Michigan) and likewise just a handful of record low minimum temperatures were set (mostly in Missouri). Maximum temperatures averaged in the 70s for the eastern half of the region while 50s and 60s were recorded across the western parts of the Midwest (Figure 2).

Precipitation Also Varies

The same dip in the jet stream that caused the regional variation in temperature brought heavy precipitation along the boundary between the warm and cool air masses. The heaviest rains fell along the Mississippi River where totals of 3" to 4" were common (Figure 3). These values were as much as 2" to 3" above normal for the period (Figure 4). Totals dropped to less than 0.5" in northern Minnesota and in southern Michigan, northern Indiana, and northern Ohio. Daily precipitation records were set by the dozen on the 2nd through the 5th, and at least 2 records were set on the other days except the 8th which had no records set. All nine states recorded a precipitation record, with Michigan (2) and Ohio (6) recording the fewest.

Late Season Snow

May snow fell on the first three days of the month. Snow fell from southwest Missouri, north across parts of Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Upper Michigan (Figure 5). Totals were mostly under 5" in Missouri but from north central Iowa to the southwest shore of Lake Superior, one-day totals ranged up to 15" and totals for the system ranged up to 17". In the few places that snow is normal for the first 10 days of May, normal totals would be less than an inch.

Planting Continues to Lag

The cool and wet spring conditions have prevented field work and planting across the Midwest. As of May 5th, corn planting remained well behind the 5-year average percentage complete. Most other crops are also behind normal planting progress. Soybean planting has usually begun in all Midwest state by this time, but in 2013 only Kentucky (normal 9%) and Ohio (normal 15%) had even reached 1%.

State May 5, 2013 2008-2012 Average

Severe Weather

The cool spring weather has reduced severe weather and early May was no exception. Severe weather reports numbered only a couple dozen during the first ten days of the month (Figure 6), with reports limited to just three days. May 2nd saw thunderstorm wind damage in central Illinois where power poles were blown down in Douglas and Moultrie counties and gusts were reported at 58 miles per hour in Piatt CountyMay 9th saw a couple of severe weather reports scattered across central Illinois and Indiana with two EF0 tornado confirmations in Vigo County, Indiana. May 10th was the busiest day of the period with Ohio reporting hail (up to 1.75") and wind damage (trees and power lines downed) at just over a dozen locations.