On both a national and a local scale, 2012 was the warmest year on record. Extreme weather events in 2012 captured our attention. A record-breaking drought dominated the spring and summer months. A summer heat wave broke all-time high temperature records. The traditional spring severe weather season was relatively quiet. The most significant severe weather event occurred in late February, when an EF-4 tornado struck Harrisburg, Illinois. The annual rainfall total at Paducah was on track to be the 2nd lowest on record, compared to 2011, which was the highest on record.
1. Spring/Summer Drought - One of the driest years on record contributed to a long-term drought that decimated the corn crop in many areas and caused record low river levels.
2. Harrisburg EF-4 Tornado - A tornado outbreak during the early morning hours of February 29 took a number of lives. Seven persons were killed when Harrisburg was struck by a tornado rated EF-4.
3. Record Summer Heat Wave - July was the hottest month on record in many places. The all-time high temperature record was broken at Paducah.
4. Christmas Night Winter Storm - A major winter storm dumped around a foot of snow in much of southern Illinois and parts of southwest Indiana, causing major travel disruptions.
5. Scott County, MO EF-2 Tornado - An EF-2 tornado at Diehlstadt took three lives on June 4.
6. Southern IL EF-2 tornado - One person was killed by an EF-2 tornado that struck Opdyke, IL on March 23.
7. EF-2 Tornadoes in KY/IN - Within days of the deadly Harrisburg tornado, a smaller tornado outbreak occurred on March 2. Posey County, Indiana and Union County, KY were each struck by an EF-2 tornado on March 2.
8. Gibson County, IN macroburst - One of the strongest macrobursts on record in our area produced winds to 110 mph on July 31. Several persons were injured by hail that was up to grapefruit size.
9. Jan. 22 Severe Weather - A severe weather outbreak produced numerous reports of wind damage, along with a couple weak tornadoes.
10. Mayfield, KY EF-1 tornado - A tornado struck Mayfield, KY during the early morning hours, injuring one person rather seriously.