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  • Annual Summary


The preliminary average temperature for the Midwest in 2023 was 51.2°F, which was 2.2°F above the 1991-2020 normal. Final rankings indicate 2023 tied the 4th warmest year since 1895 for the Midwest. The entire region experienced warm conditions with temperatures ranging from 1-3°F above normal (Figure 1). Statewide annual average temperatures ranged from 1.7°F above normal in Kentucky to 2.5°F above normal in Wisconsin. The following seven states had a top five warmest year on record: Illinois (5th), Indiana (4th), Kentucky (4th), Michigan (Tied-3rd), Missouri (Tied-5th), Ohio (Tied-4th), Wisconsin (Tied-4th). Annual minimum (Figure 2) and annual maximum (Figure 3) temperatures followed a similar pattern, with all parts of the region above normal by about 1-4°F.

Notable Temperature-Related Station Records:

  • Milwaukee, WI – Warmest average annual temperature on record (151 years)
  • Louisville, KY – Warmest average annual temperature on record (151 years)
  • St. Louis, MO – 2nd warmest average annual temperature on record (148 years)
  • Lansing, MI – 2nd warmest average annual temperature on record (157 years)
  • Peoria, IL – Tied for warmest average annual temperature on record (138 years)
  • Waterloo, IA – Tied for 2nd warmest average annual temperature on record (129 years)
  • Minneapolis, MN – Greatest number of days at or above 80°F (151 years)


Annual precipitation for the Midwest was 32.64 inches, which was 5.32 inches below the 1991-2020 normal, or 86 percent of normal. Most areas had below-normal precipitation with the exception of southern Michigan and a few isolate pockets across the region (Figure 4). A large swath of the western and southern Midwest had annual precipitation deficits of 6-15 inches for the year, with the greatest deficits in Iowa and Missouri. Statewide precipitation totals ranged from 0.58 inches below normal in Michigan to 8.75 inches below normal in Iowa.

Snowfall for the 2023 calendar year varied from 100-150 percent of normal in the northwestern Midwest to less than 25 percent of normal in the southeast (Figure 5). Snowfall deficits in lake-effected areas downwind from Lakes Superior, Michigan, and Erie ranged from 20-50 inches (Figure 6). Most of Kentucky had less than an inch of snowfall during the entire 2023 calendar year (Figure 7).

Notable Precipitation-Related Station Records:

  • Cedar Rapids, IA – 3rd driest year on record (127 years)
  • Indianapolis, IN – 2nd latest first measurable snowfall on record (since 1884)


The year was defined by large hydrologic swings throughout the Midwest starting with very wet conditions before drought rapidly onset mid-year and then ebbed and flowed to close the year. Abnormal dryness and drought covered 57 percent of the region in early January, affecting all nine states but with the most severe conditions in western Iowa (Figure 8). Widespread above-normal precipitation from January to early April reduced dryness and drought coverage to just 18 percent by late April, with dryness confined to west of the Mississippi River (Figure 9). Conditions started to rapidly decline across the region as the growing season ramped up. By late June, drought and dryness were widespread, covering 93 percent of the region and impacting all nine states (Figure 10). By July, exceptional (D4) drought spread across a multi-county stretch of central Missouri and extreme (D3) drought was present in Missouri, Iowa, and Wisconsin according to the U.S Drought Monitor map (Figure 11). Conditions started to improve in the southeastern Midwest and into the central Midwest throughout July (Figure 12) and August while lingering elsewhere (Figure 13). Drought severity peaked in the northwest in mid-September (Figure 14), with D4 drought affecting portions of Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin before conditions started to gradually improve during the fall. Regional improvements stalled in the northwest and began to wane across the lower Midwest in November (Figure 15) and December (Figure 16). The year ended with dryness and drought affecting 77 percent of the region, including all nine states, with the most intense drought in Iowa and across the lower Midwest from central Missouri eastward through Kentucky.

Originally posted: