2016 Midwest Warmer and Drier Than Average

Despite a few cold and snowy days, the Midwest was been both warmer and drier than average for 2016. As this map shows, most of the Midwest has has seen less than 2 inches of precipitation since January 1. That includes any rainfall plus the water content of snowfall. Areas in orange have received 1 to 2 inches, and areas in red have received less than an inch.


However, this is the driest time of the year for most of the Midwest. As a result, precipitation is slightly above average in a swath across Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan, thanks to several winter storms. However, the southern half of the Midwest is down 1 to 3 inches. Of course, this same area received much-above-average precipitation in December thanks to the late December storm. As a result, the drier weather may be welcome news for many in that area.


Despite a few days of cold weather in recent weeks and the chilly forecast for this weekend, temperatures since January 1 have been running above average across the Midwest. This map shows the temperature departures for 2016. Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, as well as northern Indiana and Ohio, are running 2 to 4 degrees above average. The rest of the Midwest is running up to 2 degrees above average. Meanwhile, colder-than-average conditions have prevailed in Kentucky and Tennessee.


2 Replies to “2016 Midwest Warmer and Drier Than Average”

  1. Jim, your title seems somewhat deceiving (no offense). I checked various soil moisture sites and most of Illinois except the extreme southern area has excessive soil moisture. The dryness is not going to dry the soil and it will be getting quite cold next week with snow predicted.

  2. The dryness was in reference to the below-average precipitation. From the soil moisture perspective, you are correct that the soil moisture is still adequate to surplus as NASS would say. One thing to consider is that since the soils have remained largely unfrozen this winter, except at the surface, fields have had a chance to drain off a lot of water in the last six weeks. I drove from St. Louis to Champaign yesterday and did not notice any standing water. That was not the case a month ago. Thanks for helping me clarify this. I may do a separate post on soil moisture next week because this is the second conversation I’ve had today on the subject.

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