2015 Versus 1993 in the Midwest

I have had several people say that all this summer feels like 1993. If you compare 2015 with 1993 in the maps below for June 1 – July 13, you can see that in 2015 the heavy rains were more concentrated in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana (shades of light blue and pink, indicating between 12.5 and 20 inches of rain). In fact, Illinois has been wetter in 2015 than in 1993 during the last 6 weeks.

The rains of 2015 have lead to moderate to major flooding on the Illinois River, as well as moderate flooding on the Mississippi River from Quincy southward according to the National Weather Service.

On the other hand, in 1993 the heaviest rains were shifted northward and westward (second map) and Missouri and Iowa took the brunt of the heavy rains. That northward and westward shift in the heavy rains resulted in major flooding impacts on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. 

Another key difference between 1993 and 2015 is that the winter and spring of 1993 was wetter than average across the Midwest.  As a result, the soils were wetter and the rivers and streams were fuller before the rains of summer began that year. The winter and spring of 2015 were drier than average across the Midwest.

In 2015, the heaviest rains are in Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. Meanwhile, most of the Missouri and Upper Mississippi River basins received less rainfall. Click to enlarge.
In 1993, the heaviest rains fell in Iowa and Missouri with widespread heavy rains all through the Missouri and upper Mississippi River Basins. Click to enlarge.

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