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Average Temperature Departure from Mean Accumulated Snowfall Feb 22-28 Accumulated Snowfall Feb 28-Mar 1 Drought Monitor  

Midwest Weekly Highlights - February 22-28, 2015

Cold End to Meteorological Winter

The cold air stuck around the Midwest over the last week of February, continuing well below normal temperatures across the region.  Temperatures were at least 15°F below normal for all but areas of southeast Kentucky (Figure 1).  Areas of 20°F below normal were seen across eastern Iowa into central Illinois as well as around Lakes Superior and Erie. Below zero average lows continued for Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, northern Ohio and most of Iowa (Figure 2).  While the first two weeks of February were slightly below normal for many (Figure 3), these past two weeks have been downright bone-chilling as the entire region has been at least 15°F below normal (Figure 4).

Snow Comes With the Cold

With cold temperatures in place, snow fell across almost the entire region at some point during the week (Figure 5).  The only areas spared were in the far western Ohio Valley, west central Missouri and central Wisconsin.  The heaviest snow fell through Iowa and northern Illinois, where 3-6 inches were common.  Extreme southeast Kentucky also saw isolated areas of 3-6 inches.  Lake effect snows continued in northwestern Lower Michigan, piling up another 3-6 inches.  However, snow ratios were high leading to lower precipitation totals (Figure 6).  Other than Kentucky and eastern Ohio, the region saw mainly less than a quarter inch of precipitation.  Where the heaviest snow fell in Iowa and Illinois, totals were only between three tenths and a half inch of precipitation.  This led to mainly below normal precipitation across much of the region (Figure 7).  Southern Kentucky, however, did see above normal precipitation over the week as a storm brought 1-2 inches of precipitation across the area.

Snowstorm February 28-March 1

Yet another major snowstorm impacted the Midwest late on February 28 into March 1, making sure March came in like a lion.  A large swath of over 4 inches of snow fell from Missouri through Ohio (Figure 8).  The heaviest snow fell in east central Illinois through central Indiana where snow totals of 6-9 inches were common.  This was the 4th major snowstorm in the past 30 days, with this storm being the second to affect central Illinois, Indiana and Ohio in the past two weeks..

Drought Relief Finally Comes for Kentucky

After spending much of the winter in the Moderate Drought category, western Kentucky was downgraded to the abnormally dry category this week (Figure 9) as much of the state has seen above normal precipitation over the past two weeks (Figure 10).  The Missouri bootheel was even taken out of the abnormally dry category.  A small area of moderate drought still remains in Kentucky however in the north central part of the state.  Isolated moderate drought conditions still continue in northwest Minnesota.