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Midwest Weekly Highlights - March 1-10, 2012

Warm Again

Temperatures for the first ten days of the month averaged above normal across the region (Figure 1). Departures from normal of 3°F to 8°F were noted across the region with a few parts of Minnesota closer to normal. Daily temperature records were set with dozens of record highs of both maximum and minimum temperature across the Midwest.

Snow North, Thunderstorms South

Precipitation was below normal in the first ten days of March for much of the western and central Midwest while above normal precipitation fell in the southeast and parts of the upper Midwest (Figure 2). Much of the area in moderate or severe drought (Figure 3) picked up less than half their normal precipitation. The upper Midwest received much of its precipitation as snow with totals of one to two feet reported across northern Wisconsin and northern Michigan (Figure 4). Marquette, Michigan (Marquette County) topped the list with 28.1" of snow. Despite the widespread snowfall, the upper Midwest was the only area with persistent snow cover during the period. To the south, rains were associated with the system responsible for the severe weather outbreak early in the week, some snow fell midweek, but most of the rain fell on the 8th and 9th.

Deadly Tornado Outbreak on March 2nd

Severe weather was limited to a single day but brought death and destruction to the southeast part of the Midwest (Figure 5). Despite the outbreak being well forecast, the terrible consequences of tornadic storms rated EF2 to EF4 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale could not be avoided. The nationwide tornado count approached 100 with eight deadly tornadoes touching down that day, two in Indiana, one in Ohio, four in Kentucky, and one in Alabama. The deadliest storm was an EF4 twister in southeast Indiana that remained on the ground for 49 miles killing 11 (Washington, Clark, Scott, and Jefferson counties). Later in the afternoon, an EF3 tornado in Kentucky killed 10 (Menifee, Morgan, and Lawrence counties). Other deadly Midwest tornadoes were an EF3 with two fatalities in Ripley County, Indiana, an EF4 with four fatalities in Kenton County, Kentucky, an EF3 with three fatalities in Clermont County, Ohio, an EF3 with two fatalities in Johnson County, Kentucky, and an EF2 with five fatalities in Laurel County, Kentucky. NWS reports on the outbreak are listed below.

  NWS Lincoln, IL

NWS Indianapolis, IN

  NWS Paducah, KY
  NWS Louisville, KY
  NWS Jackson, KY


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