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  • Annual Summary

Temperature The average temperature for the Midwest in 2022 was 48.4°F, which was 0.6°F below the 1991-2020 normal (Figure 1). The greatest departures were in the northwestern portion of the region where average temperatures were 1-2°F below normal (Figure 2). Small, isolated pockets of temperatures 1-2°F above normal were spread across the lower Midwest. Overall, most Midwestern states had below-normal annual temperatures, excluding Kentucky and Ohio. Statewide annual average temperatures ranged from 0.1°F above normal in Kentucky and Ohio to 1.6°F below normal in Minnesota (Figure 1). Regional and state average temperature rankings were unremarkable for 2022. Annual minimum temperatures were 0-2°F below normal across the region (Figure 3). The coolest minimum temperature departures were along and west of the Mississippi River, with minimum temperatures closer to normal in the east. Maximum temperatures were divided from north to south. Maximum temperatures were 1-3°F below normal in the upper Midwest and 1-3°F above normal in the lower Midwest (Figure 4).

Notable Temperature-Related Station Records:

  • Toledo, OH – 5th warmest maximum temperature, POR 1875-2022*
  • Red Lake Falls, MN – 5th coldest maximum temperature, POR 1913-2022
  • St. Joseph, MO – Coldest minimum temperature, POR 1914-2022
  • Detroit, MI – Greatest number of days at or above 85°F (64 days), POR 1934-2022
  • Toledo, OH – tied for 2nd greatest number of days at or above 85°F (75 days), POR 1875-2022
  • St. Louis, MO – Tied for 2nd longest consecutive stretch of high temperatures at or above 80°F (88 days), POR 1874-2022
  • Minneapolis, MN – Longest consecutive stretch of daily high temperatures at or above 70°F (118 days), POR 1873-2022
  • Akron, OH – Tied for the longest consecutive stretch of daily high temperatures at or above 70°F (112 days), POR 1888-2022

Precipitation Annual precipitation for the Midwest was 34.91 inches, which was 3.05 inches below the 1991-2020 normal, or 92 percent of normal (Figure 1). All nine states had below-normal annual precipitation, with statewide totals that ranged from 0.98 inches below normal in Ohio to 8.30 inches below normal in Iowa. Iowa had the 20th driest year on record (dating back to 1895). While conditions overall were dryer than usual, precipitation was 4-12 inches above normal across far northern Minnesota, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, central Ohio, and in isolated pockets across the lower Midwest (Figure 5).

Snowfall was highly variable across the region during the 2022 calendar year. Snowfall was 100-300 percent of normal across much of Missouri and Kentucky, and up to 200 percent of normal across northern Minnesota (Figure 6). Snowfall was 25-75 percent of normal for much of Indiana, Ohio, and western Iowa. Snowfall in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan was a mix of above and below normal.

Notable Precipitation-Related Station Records:

  • International Falls, MN – Wettest year on record, POR 1940-2022
  • Sioux City, IA – 3rd driest year on record, POR 1893-2022
  • Grand Rapids, MI – 2nd snowiest calendar year on record, POR 1904-2022
  • Akron, OH – Most number of days with greater than or equal to 0.01” of precipitation (181 days), POR 1897-2022
  • International Falls, MN – Most number of days with greater than or equal to 1” (25.4) of precipitation (9 days), POR 1940-2022

Drought Drought was widespread and significant across the Midwest in 2022. The year started with drought confined to the northwest portion of the region, a pattern that would persist through March (Figure 7). Then a wet and cool April brought drought relief to the upper Midwest. However, while most of the region was improving, drought in western Iowa expanded and intensified. Western Iowa would remain in extreme (D3) to exceptional (D4) drought through the duration of 2022. By mid-May, just 1 percent of the region was in drought and 7 percent was abnormally dry, marking the lowest drought extent for all of 2022 (Figure 8). Drought coverage remained low for May and early June, but hot early summer conditions paired with high atmospheric water demand quickly depleted moisture reserves. Conditions rapidly declined across the lower Midwest starting in late June (Figure 9). By late July, 42 percent of the region was dry or in drought, with the worst conditions in southern Missouri and western Iowa (Figure 10). Pockets of moderate (D1) and severe (D2) drought were spread across the entire Midwest. Total corn crop loss was reported in several southwest Missouri counties, along with feed shortages for livestock and declining surface water supplies more broadly in the western portion of the region. Conditions started to improve in August before again spreading and intensifying in September. Conditions peaked in late October with 51 percent of the region in D1-D4 drought and 31 percent abnormally dry (Figure 11). Persistent drought stress resulted in record and near-record low flows on the lower Mississippi and Ohio rivers that severely affected navigation. Burn bans, poor forage quality, and reduced hydropower production were reported across the Midwest. The year closed with drought or dryness affecting 67 percent of the region, including at least a portion of all nine states (Figure 12). The driest conditions were in western Iowa, southern Minnesota, and eastern Michigan.

Severe Weather There were 5,215 combined tornado (Figure 13), hail (Figure 14), and severe wind (Figure 15) reports across the Midwest during 2022, which was about 81 percent of the median annual frequency of severe weather reports from 2000-2021. Minnesota had the greatest number of total severe weather reports at 1,089, which was 202 percent of the median (Figure 16). Missouri and Iowa had the fewest number of severe weather reports relative to the 2000-2021 median at 61 percent and 66 percent, respectively. Regionwide, there were fewer tornado and hail reports than usual, 85 percent and 49 percent of the median, respectively, with severe wind near the long-term median number of reports.

Summary of Significant Events Multiple February Snowstorms: A winter storm on February 3-4 brought 6-15 inches of snow, along with ice and sleet, from Missouri to Michigan (Figure 17). Schools closed, flights were delayed, and an excessive number of accidents halted traffic on Interstates 39, 74, 55, and 57 in central Illinois. February 16-18 brought additional snow and ice accumulations that caused a 100-car pileup and a 2.5-day road closure on Interstate 39 in central Illinois (Figure 18). A fatal weather-induced crash on Interstate 65 also left northern Indiana drivers stranded overnight.

March 5-6 Tornado Outbreak: An early-season severe weather outbreak on March 5-6 affected Iowa, Illinois, and surrounding states with over 60 reported tornadoes, large hail, and widespread damaging winds. In central Iowa, three supercells produced 10 confirmed tornadoes, including an EF-4 that killed six people and injured five along its 70-mile path. Hailstones in Iowa ranged from golf ball- to baseball-size, and a wind gust of 81 mph was measured in Rockford, Illinois.

Cold and Windy April: April was notably windy and cold across the Midwest, with nearly 800 low temperature records broken regionwide (Figure 19). Minnesota had its 10th coldest April dating back to 1895. Winds were unrelenting. Minneapolis recorded 22 days with gusts over 35 mph, the most since 1973, when records began. St. Louis, Chicago, and Indianapolis all had gusts over 35 mph for half the days in April. In Iowa, 18 weather stations reported the greatest number of hours on record of winds exceeding 20 mph.

Extreme Heat and Humidity in Mid-May: A record-setting heatwave brought hot and humid conditions to the Midwest from May 8-14. More than 1,500 daily high temperature records were broken or tied (Figure 20). Columbia, Missouri, had six consecutive days with record-high temperatures. Three heat-related fatalities were reported in Chicago, where a three-day minimum temperature record was set (72.3°F). Many regional locations exceeded 90°F for the first time in 2022, about a month earlier than normal. Dew point temperatures in the upper 70s and lower 80s pushed the heat index over 100°F in Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin during the heatwave’s peak.

Record Spring Wetness and Flooding in Northern Minnesota: Above-normal winter snowpack, delayed ice-out, and repeated rainstorms in April and May spurred widespread historic flooding across northern Minnesota that lasted into summer. International Falls had the wettest spring since record-keeping began in 1895, with over 14 inches of precipitation. Record-high streamflows and inland lake levels resulted in significant flood impacts, including damaged homes, National Guard deployments, and numerous closures of roads, trails, and recreational areas.

Multiple May Severe Weather Events in Minnesota: An unsettled weather pattern contributed to one of the most active Mays in Minnesota history. Severe weather occurred over six days and, in most cases, multiple rounds per day, totaling 568 storm reports. There were 373 severe weather warnings, the highest since 1986 when reliable record-keeping began. Fifty-one tornadoes were reported, with the most happening over Memorial Day weekend. Three confirmed EF-2 tornadoes affected Grant and Wadena counties, causing damage to power poles, agricultural structures, trees, and buildings. Reports of large hail and high winds over 80 mph were numerous.

June 13 Derecho and Extreme Heat: A straight-line wind event (derecho) stretched from Wisconsin to Ohio on June 13, yielding more than 260 severe weather reports, including a 98-mph wind gust in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Over a half-million people were without power as excessive heat and humidity settled across the region. Columbus, Ohio, measured a record-high dew point temperature of 83°F (115°F heat index) on June 14. Temperatures in Louisville, Kentucky, stayed at or above 80°F for a record 120 consecutive hours from June 12-17. Regionwide, more than 1,500 high temperature records were set from June 13-23 (Figure 21).

Historic Flash Flooding in July: A stalled weather system fueled two historic flash flood events across the lower Midwest in late July. An estimated 8-12 inches of rain fell across the St. Louis, Missouri area July 25-26, leading to numerous swift water rescues, flooded homes, closed interstate highways, and at least two fatalities (Figure 22). On July 27-28, 5-10 inches of rapid rainfall drenched eastern Kentucky, where more than 1,300 people were rescued by helicopter and boat as damaged infrastructure isolated communities, and 37 lives were lost (Figure 23). Damages for these two events totaled $1.2 billion.

Drought Rollercoaster: An extended period of low precipitation, warm temperatures, and high evaporative demand led to rapid drought intensification in late June and July across the lower Midwest, stressing crops, lawns, and streams. Conditions started to improve in August before again spreading and intensifying. By October, persistent drought stress across the north central US led to record low flows on the lower Mississippi and Ohio rivers, severely affecting navigation. Burn bans, poor forage quality, and reduced hydropower production were reported across the Midwest.

Dangerous cold and wind grip the Midwest in Late December: A powerful, fast-moving Arctic cold front brought frigid temperatures, high winds, and snow to the central US from December 22-25 (Figure 24). Dangerous wind chills from -20 to -40°F gripped the Midwest as winds gusted 30-50 mph and higher. Chicago and Des Moines clocked over 80 consecutive hours with subzero wind chills. While snowfall across the lower Midwest was a modest 1-5 inches, high winds caused extensive blowing and drifting that halted ground and air transportation for days. Localized power outages, busted water mains, frozen pipes, and at least 14 fatalities were reported across the region.

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