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October 2022

  • Monthly Summary

Mid-October Cold Snap, Followed by Above-Normal Temperatures

The average Midwest temperature during October was 51.1°F, which was 0.3°F below the 1991-2020 normal. Temperatures were generally above normal in the northwest and below normal in the southeast (Figure 1). Statewide average temperatures ranged from 2.1°F above normal in Minnesota to 2.6°F below normal in Kentucky. Temperatures swung dramatically mid-month from unseasonably cold to unseasonably warm. Overnight lows dipped into the teens across Minnesota and Iowa, and into the 20s across Missouri, on October 18 and 19. Regionwide, 324 daily low maximum and minimum temperature records were broken or tied across those two days. For the entire third week of October, there were 459 low temperature records broken or tied (Figure 2). Conversely, daytime high temperatures from October 22-23 exceeded 80°F from Missouri northward into Minnesota. Regionwide, 362 daily high maximum and minimum temperature records were broken or tied from October 22-25. There were 379 total high temperature records broken or tied in the last week of October.

Below-Normal Precipitation Continued

October precipitation totaled 1.64 inches for the Midwest, which was 1.46 inches below normal, or 53 percent of normal. October 2022 precipitation was ranked as the 19th driest for the Midwest since 1895. All nine states were drier-than-normal, ranging from 0.63 inches below normal in Michigan to 2.21 inches below normal in Kentucky. Only a narrow corridor from Missouri to Michigan measured near-or above-average precipitation (Figure 4). The season’s first accumulating snow was measured in mid-October across the upper Midwest. Locations across northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin measured about 0.5 inches to 5 inches of snow. Across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, snow totals for October reached 10-15 inches. Lake-induced snow blanked portions of Indiana and Ohio with 0.1-3 inches of snow (Figure 5).


Drought conditions intensified throughout October, with over 80 percent of the Midwest abnormally dry or in drought by month’s end (Figure 6). Conditions deteriorated rapidly across the lower reaches of the Mississippi River and throughout the Ohio River Valley. Mississippi River levels neared historic lows at Cairo, Illinois and New Marid, Missouri, severely affecting navigation. Ongoing and intensified drought throughout Iowa resulted in widespread burn bans and reduced hydropower production. Topsoil moisture was rated short to very short on 58-80 percent of land across the lower Midwest, excluding Illinois, which ended the month with soaking rain that helped improve soil moisture conditions compared to neighboring states.

2022 Harvest

Corn harvest was near or ahead of average for most of the Midwest. Statewide corn yields were within five percent of last year’s yields, except in Kentucky, where yields were down 22 percent, and in Minnesota, where yields were up 7 percent. Soybean harvest was ahead of schedule across the region. Soybean yields were 1.5 percent to 9.8 percent below last year’s yields, except in Minnesota where yields were 6.4 percent above. Winter wheat emergence was significantly slowed across the region due to drought.

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