Review of the Unusual Winter of 1982–83 In the Upper Midwest

W. M. Wendland Regional Climate Coordinating Office, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Champaign, Ill. 61820

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L. D. Bark Regional Climate Coordinating Office, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Champaign, Ill. 61820

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D. R. Clark Regional Climate Coordinating Office, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Champaign, Ill. 61820

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R. B. Curry Regional Climate Coordinating Office, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Champaign, Ill. 61820

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J. W. Enz Regional Climate Coordinating Office, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Champaign, Ill. 61820

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K. G. Hubbard Regional Climate Coordinating Office, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Champaign, Ill. 61820

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V. Jones Regional Climate Coordinating Office, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Champaign, Ill. 61820

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E. L. Kuehnast Regional Climate Coordinating Office, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Champaign, Ill. 61820

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W. Lytle Regional Climate Coordinating Office, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Champaign, Ill. 61820

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J. Newman Regional Climate Coordinating Office, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Champaign, Ill. 61820

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F. V. Nurnberger Regional Climate Coordinating Office, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Champaign, Ill. 61820

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P. Waite Regional Climate Coordinating Office, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Champaign, Ill. 61820

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Climatologists from the climate centers of 12 states of the upper Midwest contributed temperature, precipitation, and related data for December 1982, January and February 1983. Analyses present the month-to-month spatial anomaly patterns of these parameters. Mean monthly temperatures were much above normal (30-year means) during the three months in virtually the entire region, with maximum magnitudes (+4 to +9°C) extending from the Dakotas to Iowa, and to Indiana (December) and Missouri (January and February).

December precipitation was also above normal with anomalies of + 100 mm in much of Missouri, Illinois, extreme southwest Michigan, and Indiana. The maximum anomaly was over +250 mm in southern Illinois. January and February precipitation anomalies showed only little deviation from normal.

Impacts of the mild winter were generally favorable to consumers in that heating demand was reduced from normal, and particularly reduced from that of the previous year. Costs for urban snow removal were much under budget, as well. The only potentially negative impact was a relatively high survival rate of insect larvae, which is usually controlled by normally colder winter temperatures.

The 1982 peach crop of southern Illinois was essentially lost during the 1981–82 winter due to record cold temperatures. The 1983 crop was also lost largely by a late spring frost, even though the winter was one of the warmest on record.

Climatologists from the climate centers of 12 states of the upper Midwest contributed temperature, precipitation, and related data for December 1982, January and February 1983. Analyses present the month-to-month spatial anomaly patterns of these parameters. Mean monthly temperatures were much above normal (30-year means) during the three months in virtually the entire region, with maximum magnitudes (+4 to +9°C) extending from the Dakotas to Iowa, and to Indiana (December) and Missouri (January and February).

December precipitation was also above normal with anomalies of + 100 mm in much of Missouri, Illinois, extreme southwest Michigan, and Indiana. The maximum anomaly was over +250 mm in southern Illinois. January and February precipitation anomalies showed only little deviation from normal.

Impacts of the mild winter were generally favorable to consumers in that heating demand was reduced from normal, and particularly reduced from that of the previous year. Costs for urban snow removal were much under budget, as well. The only potentially negative impact was a relatively high survival rate of insect larvae, which is usually controlled by normally colder winter temperatures.

The 1982 peach crop of southern Illinois was essentially lost during the 1981–82 winter due to record cold temperatures. The 1983 crop was also lost largely by a late spring frost, even though the winter was one of the warmest on record.

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