12.1 The Midwest's Wet Summer of 2015: The Impacts and Comparisons to Past Midwest Summers

Thursday, 14 January 2016: 3:30 PM
Room 245 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Bryan Peake, ISWS, Griffith Dr, IL; and O. Kellner

One of the wettest meteorological (defined as June through August) summers on record (1895-2015) for the nine-state Midwest region occurred in 2015. Records for June precipitation were set in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Continued above-normal precipitation into July provided Kentucky its wettest July on record while five Midwest states recorded a top five wettest June through July on record. In this review, the climatological, atmospheric environment that led to record precipitation will be explored. This case study takes an analogous approach to drought impacts (i.e. economic, social, and environmental impacts) but from the perspective of excess precipitation and addresses the question: with the far-reaching impacts excess precipitation had on the Midwest, can these types of events be identified in advance, allowing for individuals, state and federal officials, and producers to better prepare for such climate impacts as seen in June and July 2015? Impacts on the Midwest region will be presented, including flooding, severe weather, and crop production. The Midwest Grain Belt has a large economic impact on the Midwest and is a large contributor to overall crop production in the United States. With the months of June and July critical for crop production in this region, the flooding in fields during June and early July caused significant damage to overall crop conditions and led to an economic loss of nearly a half billion dollars in Indiana alone. Impacts were not just localized to agriculture, however. River and stream flooding became widespread from Missouri through Ohio, with parts of the Illinois River in major flood stage for nearly a month. Comparisons of teleconnections between the summer of 2015 and other historically wet summers are also presented, including whether the developing El Niņo in 2015 was involved.
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