All the talk, including here, was about dry weather, from last fall through February. Then suddenly the weather pattern shifted 180 degrees. We went from bone dry to total mud in less than two months. Records floods, levees destroyed on purpose, muddy barnlots that make even walking difficult, and super-late planting- all are legacies of the 2011 spring season across much of the Midwest.
WeatherBill is a relatively new company that offers weather-based insurance to farmers that is designed to be a supplement to federal crop insurance. In its first-full year, it remains to be seen exactly how it works, and what farmers who signed up for the coverage think when the year is finished. However, the company has released some interesting data, starting with rainfall totals and rankings for April rainfall across several Midwestern states.
According to WeatherBill, the data is based on state climatologist reports from Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. Wisconsin data is based on an analysis of the Universal Raingauge Dataset by WeatherBill, based on data from the National Climatic Data Center.
The state average rainfall reported in Indiana for April 2011 is 9.22 inches, an exceedingly high total for a state that only averages just over 40 inches of rainfall equivalent per year.
According to Indiana state climatology data, it was the rainiest April since 1895. If you remember that one- let us know- we've got a scoop!
The situation is similar in surrounding states, although Indiana recorded the highest state average total. In Illinois, state climatologists report 7.45 inches as the statewide average, also the rainiest April since 1895. Many storms consistently gathered in Illinois and moved eastward across Indiana.
And then many moved on into Ohio. At an official statewide average total of 7.59 inches, it's also the rainiest April in Ohio since 1895. Michigan fared slightly better, as rainfall wasn't quite as dramatic the farther north you went. Statewide average for April in Michigan was 7.59 inches, making it the second rainiest April in Michigan since 1915.
No actual average statewide total was announced for Wisconsin. Again, the total was not as dramatic as for states further south. Still, WeatherBill reports that Wisconsin experienced the third rainiest spring in the past 30 years.
To review, three adjoining states, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, all received 7.5 inches or more on the average statewide in April. In all three cases, it was the wettest spring since 1895.