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Average Temperature: Departure from Mean Multi-sensor Precipitation River Gauges Midwest Drought Monitor  

Midwest Weekly Highlights - November 22-30, 2015

Temperatures Closer to Normal

After an unseasonably warm first three weeks of the month, the Midwest experienced temperatures that were closer to normal during the last ten days of November (Figure 1).  Average temperatures in the region ranged from the lower 50s in Kentucky to the low 20s in Minnesota (Figure 2).  For the first time in November, a portion of the region had temperatures more than 1°F below normal.  Northern Iowa, southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois all had temperatures 2-4°F below normal.  Most of Michigan was also 1-3°F below normal.  However, temperatures were still warm enough to melt most of the snowpack across these areas (Figure 3).  In contrast, slightly above-normal temperatures were seen in northern Minnesota and the Ohio River Valley, stretching into Missouri.

Wet Weather Abounds

A wet and warm storm system moved through the Midwest on Thanksgiving weekend, bringing most of the precipitation to end November (Figure 4).  The system started out on Thanksgiving (November 26), where 1-3 inches of rain fell in Missouri, southern Iowa, northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin and western Michigan through the morning of November 27 (Figure 5).  The system slowly moved east and south through the morning of November 28, leaving more than an inch of precipitation in southern Missouri through western Indiana (Figure 6).  More precipitation fell the next two days across southern Missouri and Kentucky.  This heavy rain caused departures of over two inches above normal in western Missouri (Figure 7).  Minnesota, however, was well below normal for the period.  Most of the state received less than a quarter of the normal precipitation for the time frame (Figure 8).

Snowfall amounts were minimal over the period, except in Michigan where the tail end of a storm dropped up to 6-8 inches of snowfall from November 20-22 (Figure 9).  Read more about the November 20-22 snowstorm in last week’s Midwest Climate Watch.

Minor Flooding on Mississippi, Missouri Rivers

Heavy, sustained rainfall caused many gauges along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers to move into minor flood stage (Figure 10).  Minor flooding was occurring from Quincy, IL to Grafton, IL along the Mississippi River, with minor flooding also occurring around East Cape Girardeau, IL.  Sporadic minor flooding was also occurring along the Missouri River from central portions of Missouri to east of Jefferson City, MO.  Other tributaries have also reported minor flooding.  Crests were expected to occur in the first few days of December, bringing the rivers back to normal stages.

Drought Area Continues to Decrease

The National Drought Mitigation Center eliminated Missouri’s abnormal dryness in the latest Drought Monitor for November 24 (Figure 11).  While almost all of Missouri was abnormally dry with half of the state in moderate drought at the beginning of November, the state was inundated with record high precipitation in November.  Drought was eliminated in the Minnesota-Iowa-Wisconsin tristate area as well as in northern Minnesota.  Over an inch of rain fell across western Indiana and southern Michigan after November 24, meaning drought relief may have already occurred in those areas as well.