Nature’s fury in the form of straight-line winds and torrential flooding rains impacted the Highland area hard this summer, and they make the top weather stories of 2016.
The high temperature of 88 degrees for May 7 was reached in the late afternoon ahead of a strong cold front. Storms developing with this front were preparing a damaging blow to the area. At 5 p.m., the storms hit with 60 to 70 mph winds.
Around Highland, Marine, New Douglas, Breese, and points around and in between, mature trees were uprooted or had large branches snapped off. A large tree just south of the Louis Latzer Library gave in to the winds and fell — intact — between two homes, the tree’s root system pulling up the sidewalk as it fell. Buildings lost siding and shingles and nearly 17,000 customers lost electricity in the region. Injuries were few and not severe. Power was restored within a day or two in most cases.
A second, even more widespread severe thunderstorm blew through the area from the west on July 13. A high temperature of 92, along with an approaching cold front, triggered another round of straight-line winds that knocked down or damaged more trees and interrupted electrical service to more than 200,000 customers across the metro-east. Young trees planted along Veterans Honor Parkway in Highland were snapped off and laid into the nearby bike lane.
A storm moving from out of the east hit the Highland area on Aug. 26. All of the storm’s 1.49 inches of precipitation fell within an hour. Streets in Highland were flooded as drains could not keep up with the deluge. Basements were flooded, and cars and their passengers were stranded in waist-deep water.
By The Numbers
The mean temperature for the 2016 was 58.0 degrees, well above the 2015 mean temperature of 56.1 degrees and the typical mean temperature of 56.2 degrees.
The thermometer rose above the 90-degree mark 32 times but did not reach the century mark for the fourth consecutive year. The high temperature for 2016 was a toasty 95 degrees, reached on Aug. 11. In 2015, Highland experienced 18 days of 90 degrees or higher temperatures and no days that hit 100 degrees.
Regarding cooler temperatures, 2016 experienced nine nights of 10 degrees or below and no nights at or below zero degrees. The low for the year was 3 degrees on Dec. 19. Highland experienced 19 nights with temperatures of 10 degrees or less and 2 at or below zero in 2015.
Highland received 40.95 inches of liquid precipitation in 2016, compared to the 55.51 inches of liquid precipitation in which the area floated in 2015. This is just slightly above the typical precipitation total of 38.75 inches. The Highland area experienced 11 rainfalls exceeding 1 inch. The 3.27 inches received Aug. 15 was the most rainfall received for any day in 2016 and the only rainfall of the year to exceed 2 inches. The area also received a paltry 9.2 inches of snow in 2016, compared to the 12.8 inches received in 2015 and the typical average snowfall of 22.2 inches. The biggest snow event of the year dropped a mere 3 inches from Jan. 19-20.