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Midwest Weekly Highlights - October 15-21, 2013

Above Normal Precipitation and First Measurable Snowfall in Upper Midwest

Precipitation was above normal across much of the upper Midwest during the third week of October, with at least 200% of normal falling across portions of Minnesota, northwest Iowa, northern Wisconsin, and northern Michigan (Figure 1). The largest departures of 400% to 500% of normal fell in central Minnesota. On the other hand, much of the central and southern Midwest only experienced 10% to 75% of normal precipitation for this time of year. Weekly totals ranged from only 0.05" in eastern Iowa to over 2" in central Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, and northern Michigan (Figure 2). Overall, there were just over 85 daily precipitation records set throughout the week, with many of the records occurring in Minnesota or Iowa. Three of the daily records broke the monthly record as well.

Some of this precipitation came in the form of snowfall for the upper Midwest, marking the first measurable snowfall reports for the Midwest this winter season. The measurable snow fell late in the week, on the 20th and 21st, across portions of Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, and northern Michigan (Figure 3). Since the ground is still warm across a majority of the region (Figure 4), much of the snow that fell has already melted. Snow depths as of the morning of October 22nd are 1" to 3" in northern Wisconsin and northern Michigan (Figure 5).

Below Normal Temperatures

A majority of the region experienced below normal temperatures throughout the third week of October (Figure 6). The largest departures of 6°F to 7°F occurred in the western Midwest, in central Minnesota and western Missouri. Temperatures were near normal and slightly above normal in eastern portions of the region. Maximum daily temperatures were unseasonably cool, with some locations experiencing maximum temperatures that were 9°F to 11°F below normal (Figure 7). On the other hand, minimum temperatures were closer to normal across the region (Figure 8). Despite the unseasonably cool temperatures, there were only a handful of daily temperature records set throughout the week, a majority of which were record highs in Kentucky and Ohio.

Drought Update

The October 15th release of the U.S. Drought Monitor indicates that almost one-quarter of the Midwest is experiencing some level of drought, while an additional quarter is abnormally dry (Figure 9). The highest level of drought in the region at this time continues to be extreme drought (D3), which is impacting a portion of central Iowa (0.2% of Midwest region). Severe drought (D2) is affecting portions of Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Missouri, while moderate drought (D1) is affecting those same states plus Minnesota. The states that are drought-free at this time are Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky.

Harvest Continues Across Region

The harvest of corn and soybeans continues across the Midwest (see table below). The majority of states are behind the 5-year average for percent harvested by October 20th, however not by more than 10% to 15% in many cases. The corn and soybean crop is reported to be in good condition in a majority of states as well (Figure 10) (Figure 11). In fact, Kentucky reports that 92% of corn and 87% of soybeans are in either good or excellent condition. The greatest percentage of crops in either very poor or poor condition are in Wisconsin, Missouri, and Iowa.

Corn % Harvested by October 20th Departure from 5-year Average   Soybeans % Harvested by October 20th Departure from 5-year Average
Illinois 51% -10%   Illinois 68% +1%
Indiana 43% -9%   Indiana 64% -2%
Iowa 35% -15%   Iowa 70% -11%
Kentucky 65% -19%   Kentucky 25% -27%
Michigan 21% -11%   Michigan 56% -10%
Minnesota 19% -30%   Minnesota 80% -3%
Missouri 63% -10%   Missouri 36% -10%
Ohio 31% -5%   Ohio 71% +10%
Wisconsin 27% -8%   Wisconsin 53% -15%