A Wet and Stormy July in the Midwest

August 10, 2023 // Article by: Shawn McGarrity


In contrast to the dry spell seen over previous months, July brought a return of showers and storms that helped push the month’s rainfall total to 7.61”, which is over double the typical 3.71”. Temperatures fared near average, with the average July temperature of 75.7°F being only 0.3°F above normal.

The month started off unsettled with showers and storms in the area on both the 1st and 2nd. Temperatures were largely consistent, with highs in the mid 80s (except for a brief cool down to the 70s on the 2nd in relation to a more organized rain event). Heavy rainfall on the 2nd led to areas of significant flooding, with O’Hare reporting 3.35” on that day alone (on par with what is typical for the entire month). Other areas, particularly west of downtown, saw much more, with Berwyn reporting nearly 9” of rainfall. 

Rainfall totals from the July 2nd event. Courtesy of NWS Chicago.

Temperatures returned to the 80s into the second week of the month with a few showers and storms on both the 5th and 8th. After a brief break from the rain, another unsettled pattern returned beginning on the 11th. Strong storms passed through northern Illinois on the 12th, and produced 13 tornadoes through the evening, three of which were EF-1 rated. More storms returned on the 14th, with strong winds being the main impact.

By the middle of July, a drier pattern took hold that kept the region quiet through the 21st. During this time, smoke from Canadian wildfires returned on the 15th and 16th, bringing hazy conditions and impacts on air quality. High temperatures remained steady during this time as well, consistently in the 80s.

A few showers and storms then entered on the 22nd and 23rd, but were more of a nuisance from the otherwise prolonged stretch of pleasant weather. Severe storms returned on the 26th, after which temperatures climbed to their highest point of the month. After a few early morning storms on the 28th, the heat returned, pushing the daytime high to 93°F, the warmest day of the month. A disturbance brought another round of storms later that night, with heavier downpours resulting in poor drainage issues. Four tornadoes were also confirmed south of the Chicagoland area.

After an active final third of the month, Chicago saw a quiet end to the month with high temperatures settling back into the low 80s. 


Similar to other parts of the Midwest, Indianapolis saw an end to the prolonged dry pattern that has persisted the last several months. Overall, July measured 6.06” of rainfall, higher than the typical 4.42” seen during the month. Temperatures were seasonal, with the average monthly temperature of 76°F being only 0.2°F above normal. 

Temperatures were on the warmer side to start off the month, with highs reaching into the upper 80s to low 90s during the first week. Scattered showers and storms were in the picture both the 1st and 2nd, with localized activity returning both the 3rd and 4th. Unsettled weather returned on the 7th and 8th, with the latter date seeing localized downpours and 1.59” of rainfall; the wettest day of the month.

A drier pattern then took hold through the second week of the month, with high temperatures in the 80s remaining rather consistent during this time. Scattered showers and storms returned on the 16th, with subsequent days seeing a continuation of this unsettled weather. After a week of showers and storms, the weekend of the 22nd and 23rd saw a brief break with quieter conditions.

Closing out the final third of the month saw temperatures warm steadily, peaking at 91°F on the 28th (the warmest day of the month). Storms returned on the 24th and once more on the 26th, with a more organized line of storms arriving in the region during the early morning of the 29th. 

July’s final days saw quieter weather return as highs gradually receded back into the low to mid 80s.


Robust shower and storm events helped push July’s overall rainfall well above normal for both Columbus and Cincinnati. By month’s end, Columbus and Cincinnati had measured 6.40” (normal 4.67”) and 8.00” (normal 3.83”), respectively. Temperatures hardly deviated from normal for this time of the year, with Columbus and Cincinnati averaging 75.7° (0.3°F  warmer) and 75.8°F (0.1°F cooler), respectively.

July started off with unsettled weather around, with scattered showers and storms on the 1st with returning activity on the 2nd. Columbus saw the greater impact from storms on the 2nd, with 1.73” of rainfall being reported, the highest for the month. Temperatures were also on the warmer side, with highs in the upper 80s to around 90. Other than some showers and storms on the 6th and better coverage on the 8th, conditions trended drier.

Quieter conditions persisted through the second week before storms returned on the 15th. More organized storms on the 18th favored southern Ohio, producing about an inch in the Cincinnati area. The second half of the month saw dry time, with every few days involving scattered showers and storms. Storms returned on the 20th, to a lesser extent on the 23rd, and more organized on the 24th, the last of which brought over an inch of rainfall to both Columbus and Cincinnati.

Warmer temperatures built in during the final week of the month, with the warmest days reaching 91°F on the 26th in Columbus and 28th in Cincinnati. Slow-moving downpours brought heavy rainfall to the Cincinnati area on the 28th, which measured 2.79”; the wettest day of the month. An area of storms pushed through the region during the early morning of the 29th, bringing one final round of storms before things quieted down to close out the remainder of the month.