Month and description Month and description
Month and description Month and description

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 6F to 13F above normal in the Midwest (Figure 1), and averaged 6F to 13F 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 2F below normal in eastern Ohio and southwestern Missouri to 6F below normal in the upper and middle Mississippi Valley (Figure 3).

September Precipitation Pattern Repeated in October

As was the case in September, the largest amounts of precipitation 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 on October 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.

A total of 6.70 inches of rain fell during October in Columbus, OH, establishing this as the second wettest October on record. The much above normal rainfall in the Ohio Valley during October pushed the Ohio River to a record high stage of 41.7 feet at Cincinnati on October 22. The previous record was 40.5 feet set in 1959. Records for the Ohio River at Cincinnati date back to 1858.

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.



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