July Brings Heat and Heavy Rain to the Midwest

August 10, 2022 // Article by: Shawn McGarrity

Chicago Area

Overall, July was slightly cooler and wetter than normal. The average high temperature was 83.5 degrees, one degree below normal. When taking into account low temperatures, July averaged at 75.3 degrees, only 0.1 degrees below normal. With overall temperatures remaining near or slightly below average, a wetter pattern was in place that allowed for 4.50 inches to be recorded in the area, 0.79 inches above normal for this time of year.

The month started rather quietly, with a few scattered showers on the 1st, though the heaviest precipitation fell to the south. Temperatures started off near average in the low 80s. Temperatures warmed on July 4th and 5th, climbing into the low-to-mid 90s on the 5th. Two waves of severe storms rolled into the region on the 4th with initial impacts of damaging winds and torrential rainfall being focused on northern Illinois. As the evening progressed, storms dove southward and impacted much of the I-90 corridor. Among the areas most affected was Crystal Lake, which saw significant wind damage. Returning storms on the 5th brought torrential rainfall north of the Chicago that caused areas of flooding. When all was said and done, some areas saw upwards of 6 inches of rain.

Other than a few isolated showers and storms, quieter conditions set in for the second week of the month. Periods of cooler weather also occurred during this time, with some daily highs hardly reaching the mid 70s. A cluster of showers with embedded storms moved through the area on the 15th, holding temperatures in the low 70s and producing 0.82” of rain in Chicago. Highs remained below average for a few days in wake of the storms before warming back up to near 90 degrees by the 18th.

Leading into the second half of the month, temperatures held near 90 degrees most days and storm activity remained rather minimal. The next severe outbreak began on the night of July 22nd as storms developed in northwestern Illinois. Repeated thunderstorms and heavy rainfall produced significant flooding in Lake County, which saw 2-6 inches of rain. Severe storms also dropped up to 1.75 inch diameter hail along with gusty winds that downed trees and damaged roofs. Further south, three EF-0 tornadoes were reported in Will County.

Rainfall amounts from July 22nd into the 24th. Courtesy NWS Chicago.

Although there were certainly periods of strong storms during the month, July ended rather dry for Chicago. Other than a few scattered storms on the 27th and 28th, the month ended quietly with near average highs.

Severe weather reports from the 22nd - 23rd. Courtesy NWS Chicago.

Indianapolis Area 

July proved to be a warmer yet drier month for the Indianapolis region. Temperatures ranged from 2-3 degrees above normal though precipitation totals fell 1.32 inches short of normal. The wettest day of the month, which occurred on the 27th, brought nearly a third of the entire month’s rainfall. 

Central Indiana started off July rather hot with high temperatures in the mid 90s. Some storms passed through the area but didn’t produce much precipitation. Overall, the first week of the month was quiet and hot, with the 5th being the hottest day of the month with temperatures reaching 99 degrees–the first time the city has reached 99 since 2012. Storms then returned on the 8th and brought with them a relief from the heat, cooling high temperatures down into the 70s. Some damaging winds were reported with these storms as well as instances of localized roadway flooding.

An overall drier and more seasonable pattern returned for the second week of the month, and other than a few isolated showers and storms, rainfall was minimal. Another round of organized thunderstorm returned on the 17th bringing heavy rainfall. Poor drainage flooding was observed in several low-lying areas, with stranded vehicles being reported in Delaware County. Indianapolis itself missed the worst of the rainfall, seeing 0.65 inches by the time activity cleared out, whereas locations to the northeast observed amounts ranging from 2-6 inches.

The following days warmed from the upper 70s to the mid 90s leading into the next weather event. A complex of storms on the 23/24th brought periods of heavy rain and gusty winds to the area. This was followed by another round of storms on the 27th, that brought with it highest rainfall totals of the month (nearing 1 inch) and localized flooding. Aside from a few minor disturbances in the final days of July, the month ended quietly with temperatures near average.


July saw a mix of dry and active periods across the state. Though these active days weren’t as plentiful as may be expected, several heavy rain events helped July push above average for precipitation (0.65-3.26 inches above normal). Notably, the higher rain totals were observed in the Columbus and Dayton areas, which were hit especially hard by these intense rain events. Temperatures varied throughout the month, with a few periods where seasonably cool highs set in. These cooler time frames didn’t last long, as more seasonable and downright hot days helped push July’s temperatures above normal (ranging from 0.5 to 2.3 degrees warmer).

The month started off at its warmest with highs ranging from the low to mid 90s throughout the state. A few isolated storm events occurred during the first week though the coverage was varied, leaving some places dry and giving others over an inch of rainfall. A more pronounced event occurred on the 6th which produced flooding, particularly in Columbus, where repetitive storms produced a record 3.7 inches of rain, breaking the previous record for the day set in 1955 by over an inch. Along with the flooding impacts, the system also spawned three tornadoes northeast of Cincinnati: two EF-1 and one EF-2 tornadoes.

A few scattered rain events continued into the second week of the month though some areas saw stretches of pleasant, dry conditions. Temperatures remained seasonable during the middle of the month aside from a few cooler days impacted by more widespread rain events. An event lasting from the 16th to the 17th produced notable rainfall, with Dayton setting a new daily record of 2.64 inches (the previous record was 1.48 inches in 1948). The activity also brought a severe risk to the area, with an EF-0 tornado being reported in Pickaway and Fairfield Counties near Circleville.

Temperatures were seasonable to slightly above normal heading into the second half of the month with more dry periods than not. A severe outbreak on the 23rd produced damaging winds north of I-70 and produced an Ef-1 tornado in Troy. Closing out the month, temperatures remained near average with a few areas of storms bringing additional rainfall. One notable storm on the 27th produced heavy rains in the Cincinnati area, measuring just shy of one inch.