Wet Early, Dry Late
Rainfall in the area varied both in location and timing. Generally the wetter periods were early in the month and with widespread dryness late in the month. The swaths that received above average rainfall extended from east central Minnesota to northern lower Michigan and from Iowa and northern Missouri to the western shore of Lake Erie. The wettest location was in central Illinois where totals approached 200% of normal. The driest areas with less than 50% of normal rainfall included west central Minnesota, central and southeast Ohio, and western and central Kentucky
(Figure 1). Drought was limited to less than 2% of the Midwest throughout the month, dropping from about 1.8% early to less than 0.4% by the end of September (Figure 2).
Cool Early, Warm Late
Temperatures also varied from early to late in the month. Cool temperatures in the first half of the month gave way to warmth across the region by the last week of September. After averaging for the entire month
(Figure 3), temperatures were within a couple degrees of normal across the region. A large area of slightly cooler than normal temperatures in the center of the region was surrounded by near normal to slightly warmer than normal temperatures in the south and east and also in the northwest parts of the Midwest. The first frosts of the season were scattered across Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Iowa occurred between the 11th and the 20th.
January to September Ranks Among the Coolest on Record
Statewide year-to-date, January to September, temperatures ranged below normal by 1.7°F (Kentucky) to 4.0°F (Wisconsin). Only Kentucky (17th) and Minnesota (14th) fell outside the top 10% (ranks 1-12) of years in the past 120 years of records. Illinois and Indiana ranked 6th coolest, Wisconsin 7th, Iowa, Michigan, and Missouri 8th, and Ohio 11th. The Midwest as a whole ranked as the 6th coolest on record and the coolest since 1979.
Mixed messages were being reported from the agriculture sector in the Midwest. Harvest of corn and soybeans was running behind the 5-year average in all nine Midwest states. However the crop condition of corn (Figure 4), soybeans
(Figure 5), and also prairie lands was promising (Figure 6). Statewide corn condition fell between 65% to 86% in the Good or Excellent categories with only 2% to 15% in the Very Poor or Poor categories. Soybean condition ranged from 61% to 78% Good or Excellent and just 4% to 13% Very Poor or Poor. Pasture and range condition was also good across the region with better condition for this late in the season than in most recent years.