Midwest Overview - October 2006
The Changing Face of October
October began with very summer-like conditions across the Midwest, a contrast to the cool September weather across most of the region. Record high temperatures were recorded in Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois during the first three days of the month, including some new record highs for the month of October. A little more than a week later, record low maximum temperatures, record low minimum temperatures, and were being set from Minnesota east to Michigan, and south to Missouri Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. With the cold weather came the first measurable snow of the season for locations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Average temperatures the first four days of the month ranged from 6°F to 13°F above normal in the Midwest (Figure 1), and averaged 6°F to 13°F below normal the middle week of the month (Figure 2). The remainder of the month fluctuated between near normal and much cooler than normal at time, with only an occasional day of much warmer weather. When all was said and done at the end of October, temperature departures ranged from 2°F below normal in eastern Ohio and southwestern Missouri to 6°F below normal in the upper and middle Mississippi Valley (Figure 3).
As was the case in September, the largest amounts of
fell in the Ohio Valley in October (Figure 4).
Precipitation was 150 to
200 percent of normal from the southern Ozarks of Missouri through
southern Illinois, much of Indiana, Ohio, lower Michigan, and northern
Kentucky. Unlike September, western Minnesota was very dry, receiving
less than 25 percent of normal precipitation. At the end of
October, Extreme Drought was still be depicted by the U.S. Drought
Monitor over northern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. The last Minnesota
drought situation report for the 2006 growing season issued
31 indicated little likelihood for recovery during the winter season. A
small area of Extreme Drought in Missouri improved one category to
Severe due to normal rainfall in the west central part of the state.
Severe Weather to Snow
The early surge of hot weather followed by strong cold fronts was a good recipe for severe weather in the Midwest the first two weeks of the month, including tornadoes in Michigan and Ohio. With the pattern change to colder weather the occurrence of severe storms diminished. The week of October 18-14 was the first weekly Climate Watch period since mid-March to not have any severe weather reported somewhere in the nine-state region.
Snow came early this season, even for the upper Midwest. The first measureable snow came on October 12 as far south as northern Illinois. Some locations in the lake-effect areas in Wisconsin and the Michigan UP have already surpassed two feet of snow for the season (Figure 5). However, by the end of the month there was little measurable snow on the ground in the Midwest.