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Midwest Weekly Highlights - August 11-17, 2019

Seasonable Temperatures

Average temperatures were near normal across most of the Midwest for the week (Figure 1).  Only a few areas of Minnesota and Michigan were more than 1°F below normal, while only a few areas in Missouri, Kentucky and Ohio were more than 1°F above.  Maximum temperatures tended to be slightly cooler (Figure 2) while minimum temperatures were slightly warmer (Figure 3), leading to the near-normal average temperatures.

Scattered Heavy Thunderstorms

Scattered thunderstorms brought heavy rain to some while leaving other areas with little precipitation during the period (Figure 4).  Missouri and southern Illinois received 1-3 inches, with locally heavier amounts up to 5 inches.  Near Maryville, MO (Nodaway County), 5.61 inches fell during the week.  Meanwhile, less than half an inch of rain fell across parts of Michigan, northeastern Minnesota, northern Iowa, central Indiana and Kentucky.  Some of these areas had less than half the normal amount of precipitation (Figure 5).

Strong Winds

Thunderstorms brought severe winds from Missouri through Ohio and in Minnesota during the week (Figure 6).  More than 150 reports of severe weather were recorded, with 140 due to strong winds.  An EF-1 tornado was surveyed near Edinburg, IL (Christian County) on August 12 with an EF-0 tornado also reported nearby in Assumption, IL (Christian County).  Several weak tornadoes were reported in Minnesota on August 13 as well.  A 75 mph wind gust was reported in Peotone, IL (Will County) on August 16, while strong winds and several tornadoes spawned in southern Minnesota and Iowa on August 17.

Drought Returns to the Midwest

For the first time in 2019, drought was added to the Midwest in the August 15 U.S. Drought Monitor (Figure 7).  This ended the longest stretch of drought-free conditions in the Midwest since the inception of the U.S. Drought Monitor in 2000.  Dry conditions throughout a large portion of the summer in parts of Iowa and Illinois, along with decreasing soil moisture contributed to the addition of moderate drought.  Abnormally dry conditions also expanded across the region.  Nearly a quarter of the region was considered abnormally dry or in drought.