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Midwest Weekly Highlights - February 1-7, 2018

Widespread Cold

Temperatures were below normal across the entire Midwest during the first week of February (Figure 1).  Minnesota, Iowa, northwestern Illinois and the U.P. of Michigan were all 10°F or more below normal.  Missouri and most of Illinois were 5-9°F below normal, while Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Lower Michigan were 4-6°F below normal.  While these temperatures were colder than normal, they were not record-breaking in most cases.  Less than 20 low temperature records were broken or tied during the period (Figure 2).

Wet and Snowy for Many

Heavy rain in Kentucky and moderate snow from Iowa through the Great Lakes led to a wet week for many (Figure 3).  Most of Kentucky received more than an inch of precipitation, with areas in southern Kentucky receiving more than two inches.  In some cases, this was more than twice the normal amount (Figure 4).  Liquid precipitation amounts between a quarter and three-quarters of an inch were common across Iowa, northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin and Michigan.  Most of these areas were also above normal (Figure 5).

Moderate to heavy snowfall was common across the northern half of the region (Figure 6).  More than five inches fell in parts of Iowa, northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin, northern Indiana, northern Ohio and Michigan.  Heavier amounts were found along western Lower Michigan from lake-effect snowfall.  One of the heaviest totals for the week was 21.0 inches in Petoskey, MI (Emmet County).  In many cases, the snowfall was more than twice the normal amount, with areas in northern Illinois receiving more than four times the normal amount (Figure 7).

February 5-7 Winter Storm

Heavy snow blanketed Iowa, Illinois and northern Indiana in what was a deadly winter storm on February 5-7.  Amounts between 4-6 inches were common in these areas, with locally heavier amounts over 10 inches through the morning of February 6 (Figure 8). Several more inches fell through the morning of February 7 (Figure 9).  One of the heaviest amounts was 11.4 inches in Altona, IL (Knox County).  Poor road conditions in Iowa led to many accidents, including a 50-plus vehicle pile-up on Interstate 35.  Hundreds of weather-related accidents were reported across the state. In total, nine fatalities were reported in Iowa due to the storm.