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Midwest Weekly Highlights - March 8-14, 2021


Early Spring Warmth

Temperatures were unseasonably warm during the week (Figure 1). Most of the region was 8°F or more above normal, with southern Minnesota, western Wisconsin and Iowa more than 12°F above normal. A significant amount of this warmth came from maximum temperatures, with some areas in northern Iowa averaging more than 18°F above normal (Figure 2). Maximum temperatures averaged in the 60s in the southern half of the region (Figure 3), with 50s in a large portion of the Upper Midwest. Temperature records were more evenly divided in the region, with more than 300 maximum and minimum temperature records tied or broken each (Figure 4).
 

Heavy Rain in Southern Missouri

After a dry first few days of the period, a strong storm system impacted the Midwest through the mornings of March 11-14, bringing heavy rain to southern Missouri (Figure 5). Some moderate rain (Figure 6) and snowfall (Figure 7) impacted the upper Midwest through the morning of March 11. Snowfall amounts in northern Minnesota were over 12 inches in some areas. Moderate to heavy rain then impacted southern Missouri, southern Illinois, southern Indiana and northwestern Kentucky through the morning of March 12 (Figure 8). Heavy rain continued in southern Missouri through the morning of March 13 (Figure 9). Totals for the week in southwestern Missouri were more than three inches, with isolated amounts over 5 inches. Some of the heaviest amounts included 7.20 inches near Marshfield, MO (Webster County), 6.51 inches near Springfield, MO (Green County) and 5.70 inches near Salem, MO (Dent County). Many areas in southern Missouri had precipitation amounts of more than three times the normal amount for the week (Figure 10). Precipitation in the Upper Midwest also led to areas receiving more than twice the normal amount. More than 100 daily precipitation records were broken across the region (Figure 11).
 

Drought and Abnormal Dryness Expand

With increased soil mositure stress from warm temperatures and drier conditions, abnormally dry and drought conditions expanded across the Midwest in the first few weeks of March. As of the March 9 U.S. Drought Monitor (Figure 12), more than 50 percent of the Midwest was either abnormally dry or in drought. More than 11 percent of the region was in drought, with most of the new drought in the region in northern Minnesota. Continued dry weather in portions of the region were being monitored as further deveolopment of drought could be possible throughout spring.
 

-BJP-