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Midwest Weekly Highlights - January 1-7, 2019

Very Warm

Temperatures were very warm during the first week of 2019 across the Midwest (Figure 1).  Many areas had temperatures 8-10°F above normal.  Maximum temperatures in Iowa, Minnesota, and most of Wisconsin were even warmer at 10-13°F above normal, with a few areas in northern Minnesota as much as 15°F above normal (Figure 2).  More than 150 daily high maximum and minimum temperature records were broken combined during the week (Figure 3).

Wetter for Many

Moderate to heavy amounts of precipitation were widespread across the region during the week (Figure 4).  Amounts of over half an inch were common in northern Missouri, Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin, while areas along the Ohio River Valley and southern Missouri had more than an inch.  Many of these areas had one and a half to two times the normal amount (Figure 5).  Meanwhile, western Iowa and most of Minnesota were much drier, with less than half the normal amount of precipitation.

Snowfall was common in the Upper Midwest despite warmer temperatures (Figure 6).  Amounts of 2-4 inches were common across southern Wisconsin, with amounts of 4-8 inches in northern Wisconsin and northern Michigan.  Locally heavier amounts were recorded due to lake effects.  Some of the heaviest amounts included 15.2 inches in Sault Ste Marie, MI (Chippewa County), 13.9 inches near Kalkaska, MI (Kalkaska County) and 13.2 inches near Northport, MI (Leelanau County).  Most of this snow fell through the mornings of January 1 (Figure 7) and January 7 (Figure 8).

Midwest Drought Free Once Again

After several weeks of moderate drought in southwestern Missouri, the Midwest was once again drought free in the January 1 U.S. Drought Monitor (Figure 9).  The Midwest was last free of drought during a 4-week period from early November to early December 2018.  With less than one percent of the region rated abnormally dry in the January 1 update and decreased water demand in the winter months, the Midwest entered 2019 with little worry about drought impacts.