Midwest Overview - November 2012
November had drier than normal weather across the Midwest (Figure 1). Only small pockets of northern Minnesota and Upper Michigan reached normal compared to areas with less than 25% of normal that touched all nine states in the region. Most of the southeastern half of the region received less than half of their normal precipitation. Statewide totals in Ohio (4th driest), Indiana (4th), Kentucky (5th), and Michigan (7th) ranked among the 10 driest Novembers since 1895 (Figure 2).
Fall precipitation totals ranged from more than 150% of normal in southern Illinois and northern Ohio to less than 50% of normal for most of Minnesota
(Figure 3). Minnesota fall precipitation ranked among the 10 direst on record (Figure 4). Year-to-date precipitation totals were on the dry side across the Midwest ranging from 70% to 95% of normal. Iowa experienced the 8th driest January to November period while Missouri had its 9th driest, Indiana 10th driest, and Illinois 11th driest
November temperatures in the region were moderate ranging from about 2°F above normal along the Iowa-Minnesota border to as much as 5°F below normal in eastern Kentucky (Figure 6). Daily temperature records were primarily record highs during two warm spells. The first was from the 10th to the 12th and the second was on the 22nd and 23rd. Just a handful of record lows were recorded in November.
Fall temperatures ranged from near normal to below normal with Kentucky ranking as the 6th coolest November since 1895 (Figure 7) with statewide temperatures of more than 2°F below normal. The cooler weather in the fall has dropped many of the states off the pace of the warmest year in their respective records but all nine states still rank among the top five warmest January to November periods (Figure 8).
Dry weather across the region led to drought conditions persisting in November. Minnesota saw large areas of degradation during the month while some improvements were noted in northern Missouri. At the end of November, just over half the region, the western half roughly, was in drought
(Figure 9). Parts of Iowa and Minnesota were in extreme drought covering 9% of the Midwest. Low water levels were affecting the Great Lakes, Missouri and Mississippi rivers, lakes, streams, and farm ponds. Navigation on the Mississippi River is likely to cease in the coming weeks south of St. Louis due to low inflows from the Missouri River.
The only day the Midwest was affected by severe weather in November was the 10th (Figure 10). Hail fell in Illinois and severe thunderstorm winds caused tree damage in Minnesota but the big story was three EF0 tornadoes touching down not far from Minneapolis
(Dakota and Washington counties). This marked only the 4th November day in history that Minnesota was hit by tornadoes, most recently in 2000. Only once had Minnesota tornadoes occurred later in the month, November 16, 1931. The tornadoes damaged tress, power lines, and some roofs but no injuries were reported.