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Average Temperature Departure Jan 1-15 Average Temperature Departure Jan 16-31 Accumulated Precipitation Percent - January Accumulated Snowfall - January Snow Depth as of 1-31-2015

Midwest Overview - January 2015

Cold Early, Warm Late

January temperatures ranged from 5°F above normal in the northwest corner of the Midwest to 5°F below normal in the northeast corner of the region (Figure 1). In the north central parts and most of the southern half of the region, temperatures were near normal for the month. The monthly averages masked the large cool departures in the first half of the month (Figure 2) when temperatures were 6°F to 12°F below normal and the large warm departures in the last half of the month (Figure 3) when temperatures ranged from near normal in the northeast to as much as 15°F above normal in the northwest.

Mostly Dry

January precipitation was below normal for nearly the entire region (Figure 4). Small areas of southeast Missouri, northern Ohio, and northwest Minnesota were slightly above normal, while the remaining areas were below normal with deficits of an inch or more in much of the southern third of the region. Precipitations totals were less than half of normal (Figure 5) in parts of Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, and Michigan. Snow totals for January were only above normal across northern Illinois, northern Indiana, and Ohio (Figure 6). The rest of the Midwest was below normal, especially the southern third of the region where less than two inches fell (Figure 7) and across central Minnesota and into northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where totals were less than half of normal (Figure 8).

Snow Cover

With the low snow totals in January and the warm weather during the last two weeks of the month, snow depths were low in both extent and depth for much of the region. Only the far northern and northeast areas were close to normal by the end of the month (Figure 9). On the 31st a significant storm was beginning to churn across the Midwest (Figure 10) bringing large amounts of welcome snow and moisture to a swath across the middle of the region. The snows began on the 31st and continued into the first days of February with most of the snow reported in February.

Dryness Noted

The dry conditions in the region caused the US Drought Monitor to expand Abnormally Dry conditions across large swaths of the Midwest in January (Figure 11). The storm that began on the 31st will undoubtedly reverse much of this expansion. Despite Abnormally Dry conditions expanding from 17% to 40% of the region during the month, only about 3% of the Midwest was rated in drought as of the January 27th release of the Drought Monitor.

High Pressures

On January 7th, a large high-pressure system (Figure 12) moved across the Midwest bringing very high-pressure readings to the region. In the Midwest, the readings were typically just below the record values but many locations came very close to their record values.

Travel Disruptions

Travel was impacted by winter weather due to several storms during the month. On the 9th, a pileup involving more than 190 vehicles occurred in southern Michigan (Kalamazoo and Calhoun counties) and causing one fatality, numerous injuries, fires and spilled cargo, evacuations of nearby homes, and closure of Interstate-94 in both directions for most of the day. Also on the 9th, individuals died near Ann Arbor, Michigan (Washtenaw County), near Flint, Michigan (Genesee County), and in Lake County, Indiana due to weather related accidents. Flight schedules in the region were scrambled due to massive cancellations in the northeast US. In anticipation of a major storm, multiple airlines canceled thousands of flights to and from the northeast on the 26th through the 28th.

Flooding Too

Flooding was a problem in southern Indiana in the latter half of the month. A driver died after driving into a flooded area in Greene County, Indiana. The warm temperatures also melted snow and broke up ice on rivers, leading to ice jams on the Wabash River from the 19th through the 24th.

The Indiana State Climate Office also contributed to this report.
The Iowa Climatology Bureau also contributed to this report.
The Minnesota State Climatology Office also contributed to this report.

The Indianapolis NWS Office also contributed to this report.

The Missouri Climate Center also contributed to this report.