Warm and dry weather punctuated by severe thunderstorms ruled the first couple months of 2017, and a lack of precipitation highlighted the second half of the year. These are the top weather stories of 2017.
January 2017 began with the coldest air of that winter season. Three nights (from the 6th through the 8th) experienced single-digit low temperatures and were the coldest temperatures until the following Christmas. A quick warmup and an approaching winter storm system set the stage for an ice storm warning from the 13th through the 15th. Over 0.2 inches of ice glazed the area.
Precipitation was difficult to come by from Jan. 21-Feb. 27, with only 0.11 inches of liquid precipitation falling over that time. The severe thunderstorm on Feb. 28 dropped golf ball- to ping-pong ball-sized hail, damaging cars and residences in the Troy and Edwardsville areas. Mean temperatures for January and February were 8 degree and 11.6 degrees above typical for the respective months.
Temperatures and precipitation were more seasonal from March through mid-August.
A severe thunderstorm with straight-line winds cut through the area on July 23, damaging many area trees and nearly toppling the new pavilion at Rinderer Park off Veterans Honor Parkway.
The 1.46 inches of rain on Labor Day (Sept. 4) was the last rainfall to exceed 1 inch in 2017. Precipitation became scarce again and that continued through the end of the year. No month after August received its typical amount of precipitation, with December receiving only one-fourth of its typical (1.16 inches vs. 4.67 inches). The entirety of Madison County was listed as being in moderate drought as of Jan. 2, 2018. A teasing of snow around Christmas did little to quench the thirst of the parched ground. The year ended with the coldest night of 2017.
By The Numbers
The mean temperature for the 2017 was 58.1 degrees, just slightly higher than the 2016 mean temperature of 58 and well above the typical mean temperature of 56.2.
The thermometer rose above the 90-degree mark only 17 times and did not reach the century mark for the fifth consecutive year. The high temperature for 2017 was 96, reached on July 12. In 2016, Highland experienced 32 days of 90 degrees or higher temperatures and no days that hit 100.
On the cooler side of temperatures, 2017 experienced seven nights of 10 degrees or below and no nights at or below zero. The low for the year was 3 degrees on Dec. 31. Highland experienced nine nights with temperatures of 10 degrees or less and no nights at or below zero in 2016.
In the 2017, Highland received 36.81 inches of liquid precipitation, less than the 40.95 inches of liquid precipitation received in 2016 and less than the typical precipitation total of 38.75 inches. The area experienced nine rainfalls exceeding 1 inch, with four rainfalls exceeding 2 inches. April 30 has the distinction of being the wettest day of 2017 with 2.29 inches of rainfall. The longest stretch without measurable precipitation was 18 days, running from Jan. 21 through Feb. 7.
The Highland area received a miniscule 4.8 inches of snow in 2017, compared to the 9.2 inches received in 2016, and the typical average snowfall of 22.2 inches. The biggest snow event of the year dropped a mere 1.7 inches on March 13.