Temperature departure
Month to date temp departure
Precip percent of normal

Midwest Weekly Highlights - October 11-17, 2006

What A Difference a Week Makes

The changeable nature of autumn weather in the Midwest was never more in evidence than it was the first 17 days of October.  The first ten days of the month were highlighted by unseasonably warm weather, and this week had all the marks of early winter with record cold and the first snow of the season in many locations.

Temperatures this week ranged from 7F below normal in eastern Ohio to 13F below normal in parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota (Figure 1). The coldest weather occurred the first three days of the period, with temperatures gradually moderating the last half of the period. Temperatures for the month through October 17 now range from near normal in southwestern Missouri to 4F below normal across the far northern portions of the region (Figure 2).

Precipitation was abundant across much of the region this week, with the exceptions of southwestern Minnesota and northeastern Iowa, and a small portion of southwestern Missouri (Figure 3). The northeastern portion of the region received much of its precipitation the early part of the period as the cold front sweeping through the region produced showers and some thunderstorms, and later snow. Precipitation in the the central and southern portions of the region came the last three days of the period as a low pressure system produced widespread and heavy rain. Precipitation this week ranged from only 10 percent of normal in far southwestern Minnesota to five times normal from the Missouri Ozarks through the Ohio Valley (Figure 4). Some precipitation fell in both areas of Extreme Drought in the Midwest, especially in Missouri (Figure 5), but these areas missed out on the heaviest precipitation.

Goodbye Summer, Hello Winter

As this week began a strong upper level trough was swinging down out of Canada and into the upper Midwest (Figure 6). The first of two cold fronts moved through the Midwest on October 11, dropping temperatures to near to below normal levels (Figure 7). The unseasonably cold air spilled in behind the second cold front which pushed through the Midwest and into the Appalachians by the morning of October 12 (Figure 8). Numerous low temperature and low maximum temperatures records were set across the region October 12-15 (see table below), ending the growing season for most of the region. Records for both daily snowfall amount and earliest measurable snowfall in the season were set at a number of locations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, and as far south as northern Illinois (Figure 9).

Lake effect snow fall was heavy in parts of the Michigan Upper Peninsula and along the western shore of Lake Michigan in lower Michigan. In the western UP, Herman (Baraga County) received 25 inches of snow, Watton (Baraga County), 19 inches; Pelkie (Houghton County), 18-20 inches; Twin Lakes (Muskegon County), 17 inches; and Ironwood (Gogebic County), 16 inches. In lower Michigan, Hastings (Barry County) received 8.0" inches of snow, and the heavy wet snow combined with the strong winds brought down trees and power lines in Barry County.

Most of the temperature records were set on October 12 as the surge of cold air invaded the region. Low temperatures the morning of October 12 ranged from the upper teens to low 20s in Minnesota to the mid 30s along the Ohio River (Figure 10). Temperatures made only a slow rise during the day as the cold air poured in, reaching only the mid 30s in the northern Midwest and the low 50s in the southwest and southern portions of the region (Figure 11). High temperatures on October 12 ranged from 15F to more than 25F below normal (Figure 12). 

Strong Winds, Severe Storms

The strong low pressure system near James Bay pulling in the cold air also generated strong winds across the upper Midwest. Winds gusted in excess of 40 mph across Wisconsin and Michigan, with South Haven, MI reporting a gust to 62 mph. Some severe thunderstorms developed ahead of the strong cold front on October 11 across Ohio and eastern Kentucky, including one that produced a tornado in central Ohio. The tornado touched down near New Albany, OH (Franklin County), causing damage to several homes.

Cold Weather Outbreak Records

TypeRecordOld Record/Year
International Falls, MNLow19F23F/1957
LocationTypeRecordOld Record/Year
Chicago/O'Hare, ILDaily snow0.3"0Earliest measureable, previous 10/18/1989
DeKalb, ILDaily snow0.50Earliest measureable, previous 10/20/1989
Springfield, ILDaily snowT0
South Bend, IN
Daily snow0.3"T/1988
South Bend, INLow max41F44F/1988
Jackson, KYDaily rainfall0.89"0.66"/2002
Detroit/White Lake, MIDaily snow1.6" Earliest measureable, previous 10/13/1909
Flint, MIDaily snow2.3"Earliest measureable, previous 10/19/1989
Grand Rapids, MIDaily snow2.0"0.2"/1909Earliest 1 inch.  Old record 10/19
Grand Rapids, MILow max38F38F/1909
Houghton Lake, MIDaily snow0.4"0.1"/1979
Lansing, MIDaily snow1.5"0.5"/1909Earliest 1 inch
Lansing, MILow max37F42F/1988,1917
Marquette, MILow max32F33F/1988
Duluth, MNDaily snow2.3"1.5"/1969
Embarrass, MNLow15F27F/1996Period of record 1994-2006
International Falls, MNDaily snow0.5"0.4"/1958
Rochester, MNLow23F23F/1988
Rochester, MNLow max36F39F/1959
Antigo, WILow19F21F/1936
Antigo, WIDaily snow0.6"0.5"/1909
Appleton, WILow max36F36F/1936
Green Bay, WILow max36F41F/1967
Mantiowoc, WILow max36F38F/1909
Marshfield, WILow21F21F/1967,1936
Marshfield, WILow max34F35F/1917
Marshfield, WIDaily snow0.1"T/1959, 1917
Milwaukee, WIDaily snow0.1"0.1"/1909
Oshkosh, WILow max37F39F/1909
Rhinelander, WILow20F20F/1919
Rhinelander, WILow max30F33F/1909all-time record for earliest max temp <=32F
Wausau, WILow23F23F/1967, 1936
Wausua, WILow max32F34F/1909all-time record for earliest max temp <=32F
Wausua, WIDaily snow0.2"T/1979
Wisconsin Rapids, WILow max35F36F/1917
LocationTypeRecordOld Record/Year
Ottumwa, IALow28F28F/2002
International Falls, MNDaily snow2.8"0.7"/1986
Joplin, MOLow35F35F/1977
St. Joseph, MOLow24F25F/1979
Vichy/Rolla, MOLow26F31F/1979
LocationTypeRecordOld Record/Year
Dubuque, IALow26F26F/1984
St. Joseph, MOLow24F26F/1969
Springfield, MOLow31F31F/1969
LocationTypeRecordOld Record/Year
Fort Wayne, INLow28F30F/1991
Cincinnati, OHLow28F29F/1937
Mansfield, OHLow28F31F/1961
Appleton, WILow26F26F/1944
Green Bay, WILow24F27F/1970
Marshfield, WILow21F23F/1937
Wausau, WILow22F22F/1944

Week Concludes With Widespread Rain

Rain spread over much of the southern half of the region on October 15-16 as an upper level trough lifted out from the southwestern United States. An associated surface low gathered strength over central Texas and headed northeastward (Figure 13) October 16. The heaviest rainfall amounts occurred from southern Missouri through the Ohio Valley (Figure 14). One to two inch rainfall amounts were common as far north as central Illinois and Indiana. A number of locations in southern Missouri reported 3 to 4 inches of rain from the system, which caused creeks and roads to flood. West Plains, MO (Howell County) set a new daily rainfall record of 3.74 inches on October 16, breaking the old record of 1.30 inches set in 1967.

The week ended quietly on October 17, with only some lingering light rain over northern lower Michigan and the eastern Michigan UP. By late in the afternoon of October 17, however,  the next weather system was poised to enter the Midwest from the Northern Plains. A Snow Advisory was in effect for northwestern Iowa for October 18 in anticipation of a possible 2 to 4 inches of snow. 


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