Warmest Year to Date for the Midwest, Near Normal August, Illinois State Water Survey

ISWS Press Release

For Immediate Release September 11, 2012
Warmest Year to Date for the Midwest, Near Normal August

Allan Curtis, Assistant Climatologist – (217) 244-6349, acurtis9@illinois.edu
Mike Timlin, Regional Climatologist – (217) 333-8506, mtimlin@illinois.edu
Beth Hall, MRCC Director – (217) 265-7610, bethhall@illinois.edu
Lisa Sheppard - (217) 244-7270, sheppard@illinois.edu

August 2012 brought relief to much of the Midwest region in the form of near-normal temperatures and much needed rainfall.  No state in the nine-state Midwest region ranked in the top 40 warmest Augusts on record, according to the Midwestern Regional Climate Center (http://mrcc.isws.illinois.edu) at the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS).  Records date back to 1895.

While August was not an extraordinarily warm month, the June through August summer season was above average in all nine states of the region.  All states ranked in the top 35 of their respective records with Kentucky (34th) and Indiana (tied for 22nd) being the lone states outside of their respective top 20 warmest.  Iowa (t-10th) and Wisconsin (t-8th) were the states with top ten summers, while the region as a whole tied for eighth.

Even with the cooler August across the region, all states remained ranked first or tied for first for year-to-date (January through August) average temperatures.  The Midwest region finished with a value of 55.4 degrees, beating out the previous record of 54.2 degrees in 1921.  Statewide values for the January-August period were 58.9 degrees in Illinois (previous record of 58.3 in 1921), 58.2 degrees in Indiana (57.8 in 1921), 55.6 degrees in Iowa (54.6 in 1987), 50.8 degrees in Michigan (50.7 in 1921), 49.3 degrees in Minnesota (49.1 in 1987), 62 degrees in Missouri (59.9 in 1921), 56.9 degrees in Ohio (56.1 in 1921), and 50.7 degrees in Wisconsin (49.5 in 1987).  Kentucky tied the record of 61.2 degrees with 1921.

The summer was not record breaking in many respects, but the unseasonably warm year-to-date temperatures have been.   Another way to look at the unseasonably warm temperatures is the number of days with a maximum temperature greater than 90 degrees.  Across the region, many cities have experienced two to three times the normal number of days with temperatures 90 degrees or greater, such as Indianapolis, IN, with 51 days greater than or equal to 90 degrees, 38 days above normal.  The table below highlights select cities across the region.

Number of Days with a Maximum Temperature Greater than or Equal to 90 Degrees Fahrenheit for Select Cities - Jan 2012 to August 2012

The region and all nine states have a chance to break their annual temperature record this year.  In Missouri, normal temperatures over the last four months of the year will be enough to set a new annual record.  The region and the remaining states would need to average above normal temperatures, typically by a degree or two, over the remaining months of 2012 to break their annual records.

The Midwestern Regional Climate Center is a cooperative program of the Illinois State Water Survey and the National Climatic Data Center (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce).

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