All graphics courtesy of USDA, NOAA, Department of Commerce
A sprawling spring storm soaked the heart of the Midwest with more than 4 in. of rain, halting any fieldwork and sparking major flooding from the middle Mississippi Valley to Michigan. By week’s end, the Mississippi River achieved one of its five highest levels on record from just south of Moline, Ill., to just north of St. Louis, Mo. Higher crests occurred in 1993 and 2008, and in some cases, 1973 and 2001. Record-setting crests were noted in portions of several smaller basins, including the Illinois River in Illinois, Wabash River in Indiana, and the Grand River in Michigan.
Meanwhile, another round of heavy snow blanketed parts of the northern Intermountain West, northern Plains and upper Midwest, further delaying the snowmelt season and the onset of spring fieldwork. In addition, weekly temperatures averaged 10-20° below normal in a broad area covering the northwestern half of the Plains and the upper Midwest.
In contrast, warm weather covered the South and East in advance of the powerful storm. Temperatures exceeded 90° F from April 14-17 in parts of western and southern Texas, and briefly topped 80° F (mainly on April 18) as far north as the Ohio Valley. Southern fieldwork slowed during the second half of the week due to heavy showers, followed by much cooler weather.