Top 2018 weather events
The National Weather Service office in Paducah says that the year 2018 was noteworthy for the lack of spring and fall in the region.
As the year came to an end, the weather service took a look back at the 10 biggest weather events of 2018. The review was shared on the website for the weather service’s office in Paducah.
Along with the missing spring and fall seasons, the top weather events in Southern Illinois, Southeast Missouri and Western Kentucky, as well as southwest Indiana included:
•Rare late season snowfall in April, followed by rare early season snowfall in November.
•Several severe weather events impacted the region during the year, including Feb. 24, April 3, May 31 and June 28.
•The biggest river flooding event of the year occurred around March 1, due to excessive rainfall amounts in February.
•Relentless heat and humidity occurred during the first half of the summer season, resulting in one of the most uncomfortable July 4ths on record.
Here’s a look at the top weather events of 2018:
Jan. 12 Winter Storm
An Arctic cold front moved rapidly southeast across the lower Ohio Valley on the evening of Jan. 11.
Rain changed to a brief period of freezing rain, then to sleet during the overnight hours.
The sleet changed to snow on Jan. 12 as Arctic air flooded in.
A vigorous disturbance in the upper levels of the atmosphere prolonged the snow through much of the day on Jan. 12.
Snow amounts were the greatest over Western Kentucky, with amounts of 3 to 5 inches common. A few areas observed as much as 7 inches of combined snow and sleet accumulations.
Snowfall on Jan. 15
A cold front moved south into the area and stalled out in the region’s southern counties.
The result was an extended period of snow. Snow fell for over 12 hours in Paducah and several other locations.
The heaviest amounts of snow were seen in parts of Southeast Missouri into Western Kentucky.
The weather service recorded 2 inches of snow in the Anna-Jonesboro area.
Severe Weather Outbreak on April 3
A strong cold front moved rapidly east. A broken line of strong to severe thunderstorms formed along the front during the warmth of the afternoon hours over Southeast Missouri.
The line of storms progressed rapidly east across the lower Ohio Valley, accompanied by scattered reports of large hail and wind damage.
National Weather Service storm damage surveys revealed 11 tornadoes occurred across portions of Southeast Missouri, Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky.
The two strongest tornadoes were rated as EF-2s: these occurred from far eastern Williamson County into Saline County in Southern Illinois and in Livingston County, Ky.
Spring 2018 Climate Summary
Despite temperatures averaging near normal across the region for the season, the spring of 2018 was anything but normal when you look at the individual months.
March was the only month that was anywhere near what you would typically expect, with temperatures averaging slightly below normal.
As the region progressed into April, many of the days felt like we were still in March.
In fact, it was one of the coldest Aprils on record across the area, with some locations experiencing their coldest April on record.
The region even had measurable snow in April for the first time since 1983 for several communities.
Then May 1 came, and temperatures suddenly warmed up quite abruptly. A flip in the weather pattern resulted in above normal temperatures occurring on every single day of the month of May.
The end result was one of the warmest Mays on record across the region.
Paducah was one of many cities that experienced their warmest May on record. It literally felt more like you would expect in June.
“So essentially we flipped the switch and went straight from March to June, skipping April and May and all the nice mild weather that typically occurs in those months. 2018: The year without a spring? It sure felt like it,” the weather service stated.
As far as precipitation, it was generally a wet spring for a large portion of the region.
This was particularly the case from Perry and Jackson counties in Southern Illinois, southeastward into the Jackson Purchase area of western Kentucky and also across much of southwest Indiana and into far northwest Kentucky.
There were some locations that were drier than normal, including across much of the Missouri Ozark counties (Carter, Ripley, Wayne) and up along the I-64 corridor in Illinois. Portions of Wayne and Jefferson counties in Illinois observed less than 10 inches for the season, compared to many locations observing 14 to 17 inches.
Seasonal snowfall was generally above normal across the region. Many locations even observed measurable snow in April for the first time since 1983, including Paducah.
Severe Weather Event on May 31
Multiple rounds of thunderstorms impacted the region on the last day of May.
Damaging winds, large hail, flooding and three tornadoes were observed with this event.
The first round of storms moved through Southern Illinois, mainly north of Route 13 and into southwest Indiana and northwest Kentucky during the morning and early afternoon hours. Widespread damaging winds were associated with this line of storms.
Scattered thunderstorm development then began by mid to late afternoon, with coverage increasing as we progressed further into the evening hours.
Even after midnight, storms were still ongoing mainly up in southwest Indiana. By this time flooding had become the main threat.
An EF-1 tornado was reported at 7:54 p.m. near Wolf Lake.
The tornado touched down 3 miles southwest of Wolf Lake and lifted 2 miles south of Wolf Lake.
A very large equipment barn collapsed and another barn was destroyed with the loss of the roof and collapse of walls.
A one-story house was partially shifted off its foundation and had a window broken from flying debris.
All structural damage was along the Ware Wolf Lake Road. Dozens of trees were snapped or uprooted.
An EF-0 tornado was reported at 7:55 p.m. near Wolf Lake.
The tornado touched down 2.5 miles southwest of Wolf Lake and lifted 1 mile east of Wolf Lake.
Several tree limbs, mostly small, were broken. The roof of a barn was blown in on one side.
June 28 Derecho
Two rounds of severe thunderstorms occurred on Thursday, June 28.
The first round during the midday hours was relatively minor.
The more significant outbreak occurred during the evening hours, when a thunderstorm complex raced southward across Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky.
Widespread wind damage occurred with the complex, which met the definition of a derecho.
Oppressive Heat and Humidity, June 29 through July 5
Upper level high pressure set up across the region to end the month of June and lasted through the 4th of July holiday week.
This resulted in high temperatures routinely reaching into the low to mid 90s across the region.
Oppressive humidity levels were in place much of the time as well, with dew points up into the mid to upper 70s on a daily basis. We even had some dewpoint temperatures hit 80 degrees, which is considered extremely oppressive and uncomfortable.
This resulted in daily heat index readings of 100 or above for seven straight days.
The most intense heat and humidity occurred on July 5th when high temperatures reached into the mid to upper 90s and heat index readings soared to between 110 and 115 across much of the region.
At 4 p.m. on July 5 in Jonesboro, the heat index was 118 degrees, local weather observer Dana Cross reported.
Remnants of Tropical Storm Gordon
The remnants of Tropical Storm Gordon merged with a cold front over the mid-section of the country.
The tropical moisture squeezed out by the front produced widespread heavy rainfall Sept. 7-8.
Some flash flooding occurred in Southern Illinois and southwest Indiana.
During the afternoon hours, thunderstorms increased across southwest Indiana and western Kentucky.
Enough low-level wind shear was present for a few rotating storms in southwest Indiana and northwest Kentucky.
Fall 2018 Climate Summary
Temperatures averaged near normal for the fall season (Sept. 1 through Nov. 30), but the season was far from normal.
September into the first 10 days of October were a continuation of summer, with many record highs being established.
It was the warmest start to October on record with highs well into the 80s and lower 90s.
The region flipped the switch abruptly in mid-October, and for the most part, the rest of the fall season experienced below normal temperatures.
The region had a stretch of near record cold temperatures in the middle of October and several more stretches in November.
Typical highs in the 60s and 70s just weren’t there in 2018. The region experiences about 43 to 44 days like this in a typical fall season. In 2018, there were only 31 days with high temperatures in the 60s or 70s in Paducah and 30 days in Cape Girardeau.
There have only been one or two other fall seasons on record to have fewer such “comfortable” days.
The majority of the region experienced a wetter than normal fall. The exception was portions of the Missouri Ozark Foothills that were slightly drier than normal, especially portions of Carter and Ripley counties.
Most locations east of the Mississippi River finished 2 to 6 inches above the seasonal normal, with a few locations even wetter than that.
Most of the region doesn’t typically experience measurable snow in the fall season, but it happened this year with a system spreading wintry precipitation across the region Nov. 14-15.
Rare Snow, Ice Event
A rare early season winter storm impacted the region from the afternoon of Nov. 14 into the early afternoon of Nov. 15.
The worst conditions were experienced during the late afternoon and evening hours on the 14th.
The rush hour commute was impacted as snow increased in intensity and began to accumulate on roadways, particularly across western Kentucky along and west of the Lakes region, far Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois along and south of Route 13.
Snow continued to spread north and westward through the evening. In the Pennyrile region of west Kentucky into southwest Indiana, the predominant precipitation type was freezing rain or sleet, with a warm layer aloft present in this region during much of the evening/overnight period.
When the event wrapped up, many areas had 1 to 3 inches of snow, with a few locally higher totals in Southern Illinois centered near Marion.
Paducah received 1.9 inches, making this the second earliest snowfall of 1-plus inches on record, behind an Oct. 30, 1993, snow event when 2 inches occurred.