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Accumulated Precipitation
Average Temperature Departure
Forecast Surface Map for 5/20/13
Percentage of Corn Planted  

Midwest Weekly Highlights - May 18-24, 2013

North Soaked

Plentiful rains fell in the northern states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan and parts of northern Iowa. Rainfall totals ranged from just above normal to 2" or 3" above normal in those states (Figure 1). Some locations in northern Minnesota and along the southern shore of Lake Superior picked up four to five times normal for the week (Figure 2). Another band of above normal precipitation extended across Missouri and Illinois from south of Kansas City to the Chicago area. The remaining drought in the western parts of the region continued to decrease in area and severity. Drier than normal conditions were experienced in two areas. The first stretched from western Iowa to northern Missouri to southeast Iowa and into northwest Illinois. The second dry area extended across southern Missouri and Illinois and included most of Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. Most of Ohio received less than 50% of normal while some locations were limited to just a tenth of an inch which was less than 25% of normal.

Warm Temperatures

The majority of the Midwest was warmer than normal in the third week of May. Departures from normal ranged from 3° to 4° F below normal near the western end of Lake Superior to as much as 8° F above normal along the southern shore of Lake Erie (Figure 3). Above normal temperatures were experienced across four states with parts of the five remaining states also above normal. Below normal temperatures were limited to northern Minnesota, extreme northwest Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Severe Storms Slam Midwest

A cold front slowly moved across the Midwest with severe weather and heavy rains ahead of the front (Figure 4). Severe weather was widespread on the 19th and 20th as the system moved east. The 19th brought tornadoes to Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois. The Iowa tornadoes ended a record string of 360 days without a tornado in the state, the last tornado in Iowa was on May 24, 2012. In addition to the tornadoes, Iowa was hit with hail including some locations reporting hailstones of 2" to 3.5" in diameter. Severe weather on the 20th included tornadoes in Missouri and Indiana along with widespread hail and wind damage. For the week, severe weather reports came in from all nine states (Figure 5), though Ohio only had a single report on the 22nd. There were no reports of severe weather on the 23rd and 24th, a welcome break for the region.

Field Work Progress

After a slow start to the planting season in April, more favorable conditions in May have allowed planting to rapidly progress. Corn planting has been occurring at a rapid pace over the past couple weeks (Figure 6). Planting progress was approaching the 2008-2012 average as of May 19 after being well behind normal just two to three weeks ago.

Corn Planted
% of Crop
Apr 28 May 5 May 12 May 19 May 19
5-Year Average
Illinois 1 7 17 74 77
Indiana 1 8 30 64 65
Iowa 2 8 15 71 92
Kentucky 24 42 39 56 75
Michigan 0 5 32 78 71
Minnesota 0 2 18 70 84
Missouri 15 22 28 70 77
Ohio 2 7 46 74 58
Wisconsin 0 4 14 43 68