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Midwest Weekly Highlights - February 8-14, 2015

Quite Dry

Most of the Midwest saw a very dry second week of February (Figure 1) as the majority of precipitation fell on the eastern states.  Only parts of the U.P. of Michigan saw more than a half inch of precipitation for the period.  In fact, a good chunk of the region did not see any precipitation at all during the period.  Parts of southern Wisconsin, southwest Indiana and western Kentucky were dry, with nearly all of Illinois, Iowa and most of Missouri left parched for the week.  This led to deficits of around a half inch (Figure 2) from Iowa through southern Michigan to as much as an inch below normal in Kentucky.  However, above normal precipitation was seen in northern Minnesota and the U.P. of Michigan, which saw mainly 3-8 inches of snow for the week (Figure 3).  This led to between 2-3 times the normal amounts of precipitation (Figure 4) in northern Minnesota.

Colder East, Warmer West

Temperatures weren’t very far from seasonal norms this week (Figure 5), with the only major temperature extremes in the state of Michigan.  Temperatures in the southern half of the state ran from 3-6°F below normal in the southern half of the state to 7-10°F below normal in the north and eastern U.P.  Across the Ohio Valley, temperatures were near to a few degrees below normal while Wisconsin and northern Minnesota generally saw temperatures 3-6°F below normal.  Warmer temperatures crept in to western Iowa and western and southern Missouri, but temperatures only varied 2-4°F above normal

Drought Conditions Expanding in Kentucky

It was another dry week in Kentucky, with most of the state having more than three quarters of an inch deficit in precipitation.  This led the National Drought Mitigation Center to upgrade areas of central and eastern Kentucky from their Abnormally Dry category into Moderate Drought conditions (Figure 6).  A major snowstorm over Kentucky may lower drought concerns slightly in the coming week, but much more precipitation is needed to make up the precipitation deficit.  Most of Minnesota continues to stay in the Abnormally Dry category with some pockets of Moderate Drought in the northwest part of the state, despite slightly above normal precipitation this week.