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February 2023

  • Monthly Summary

February 2023 Overview – Midwestern Regional Climate Center


The average February temperature for the Midwest was 30.4°F, which was 4.0°F above the 1991-2020 normal (Figure 1). Average temperatures were near or below normal in the northwest, warming significantly above normal to the south and east across the region (Figure 2). Statewide average temperatures ranged from 0.3°F below normal in Minnesota to 8.0°F above normal in Ohio. February average temperatures were the 2nd warmest on record in Ohio, 5th warmest in Indiana, and 2nd warmest in Kentucky. A large swath of Indiana and Ohio had monthly maximum temperatures over 10°F above normal (Figure 3). Over 460 daily high maximum temperature records were broken or tied in February, with about half of the records set in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky (Figure 4). The average winter (December-February) temperature for the Midwest was 3.1°F above normal, with Ohio reaching 5.4°F above normal (Figure 5). Kentucky and Ohio observed the 2nd warmest winter on record and Indiana had the 3rd warmest winter on record.


February precipitation totaled 2.43 inches for the Midwest, which was 0.59 inches above normal, or 132 percent of normal (Figure 1). Precipitation was 125-300 percent of normal for a large portion of the central and upper Midwest, with precipitation across the Ohio River Valley ranging from 50-125 percent of normal (Figure 6). Statewide precipitation totals ranged from 0.15 inches below normal in Ohio to 1.22 inches above normal in Wisconsin (Figure 1). Three states had a top 10 wettest February: Wisconsin (5th), Iowa (8th) and Michigan (10th). About 700 daily high precipitation records were broken or tied in February, with about half of the records set in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin (Figure 7). Winter (December-February) precipitation for the Midwest was 1.16 inches above normal, or 119 percent of normal (Figure 5). The entire region had near- or above-normal precipitation, with the greatest deviations in the northwest where precipitation ranged from 150-300 percent of normal (Figure 8). Wisconsin had the wettest winter on record, Minnesota had the second wettest, and Iowa had the fourth wettest.


February snowfall was near to above normal across the far upper Midwest and far below normal across the lower Midwest (Figure 9). Most locations in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio had 0.01-0.5 inches of snowfall reported in February, despite having near-normal precipitation. Conversely, from southern Minnesota eastward into Wisconsin and northern Michigan, snowfall totals were near to above normal, with totals ranging from 10-30 inches (Figure 10). Green Bay, Wisconsin had its 5th snowiest February (137 years of data). Conversely, South Bend, Indiana had its 6th least snowy February (123 years of data) and Detroit had its 8th least snowy (148 years of data). Winter (December-February) snowfall was less than 50 percent of normal for most of the lower Midwest, except for extreme southern Missouri which had above-normal snowfall driven by a single heavy snowfall event in January (Figure 11). Across the upper Midwest, winter season snowfall was near to above normal for most of Minnesota and Wisconsin while Michigan was below normal. Duluth, Minnesota had the 7th snowiest winter (132 years of data). Conversely, Toledo, Ohio (128 years of data) and Cleveland, Ohio (130 years of data) had the 9th and 10th least snowiest winters.


Conditions continued to improve across the month of February. By month’s end, the US Drought Monitor indicated that 12 percent of the region had abnormal dryness and 10 percent was in drought (Figure 12). The primary drought areas were in western Iowa, western Minnesota, and southeast Michigan. Across the winter season (December-February), drought conditions improved substantially. Winter began with 70 percent of the region abnormally dry or in drought and ended with about 22 percent affected. Southeast Michigan was the only region in the Midwest to have drought conditions worsen during winter, and those degradations were isolated to only a few counties.

February 16 Storm Drenches Kentucky

A potent storm system moved across the lower Midwest on February 16, bringing drenching rains along and south of the Ohio River and snow across the central region from Iowa to southern Wisconsin (Figure 13). Rainfall across a large portion of Kentucky totaled 2.5-4.5 inches, overflowing the Rolling Fork River and flooding homes and roadways. One fatality was reported in Bradfordsville (central Kentucky) when a car was swept away by the floodwaters. Strong winds reportedly downed trees and damaged buildings in central Kentucky.

February 22 Storm Brings Snow and Freezing Rain to the Upper Midwest

An intense low-pressure system moved across the central Midwest on February 22 resulting in widespread winter storm and blizzard warnings across the upper Midwest. This system was accompanied by a thin band of freezing rain from central Iowa to southern Michigan. Ice accumulations of a quarter inch to a half inch were widespread in the Detroit metro area, resulting in about 3,000 downed power lines and over 500,000 customers without power. By month’s end, over 5,000 customers remained without power due to the storm damage.

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