From Smoky Skies to Severe Storms; An Active June in the Midwest

July 17, 2023 // Article by: Shawn McGarrity


Despite a more active pattern toward the end of the month, June fared drier than normal with only 2.36” of the typical 4.10” of precipitation being reported. Temperatures, however, ended up near normal for this time of year, with the average June temperature being 70.8°F (0.2° above normal).

Things already felt like summer when June kicked off in the Chicagoland area, with highs reaching into the low 90s for the first several days. Scattered showers and storms on the 1st produced 0.88” of rainfall in the city, proving to be the rainiest day of the month. Beyond this initial batch of unsettled weather, conditions trended generally dry through the 11th outside of a passing shower or storm on the 6th. Temperatures trended back to more comfortable levels after the 4th, with highs varying in the upper 70s to low 80s.

Smoke from ongoing wildfires in Canada seeped into the region during this time, worsening air qualities for several days at a time before some relief returned into the second week of the month. Showery weather on the 11th brought an end to the otherwise calm setup in place, with temperatures turning unseasonably cool during the event, only reaching into the 60s during the day. Periodic showers and storms returned on the 12th, with heavier activity on the 13th, that kept temperatures on the cooler side.

Wildfire smoke over the Midwest on June 4th. Courtesy of NWS Chicago. 

After a period of unsettled weather near the middle of the month, another quiet pattern took hold that lasted through the 23rd, during which time, temperatures warmed back into the 70s and eventually trended into the mid 80s. The 24th proved to be the warmest day of June with daytime highs reaching 93°F.

Returning storms held off until the overnight hours of the 24th, with these spilling into the morning of the 25th as it produced severe wind gusts and heavy rainfall across the area. Once this disturbance cleared out, wildfire smoke returned, worsening air quality on both the 26th and 27th. Early morning storms on the 29th brought large hail to the Rockford area, with storms returning to the region later in the day.

Large hail in the Rockford area on June 29th. Courtesty of @WxJmar93 on Twitter.

 The month closed out warm with highs back into the low 90s along with some showers and storms.


The first month of summer trended a bit cooler than normal for the Indianapolis area with the average monthly temperature of 71.5°F, falling a degree cooler than normal. Precipitation totals also fell short for the month, with only 1.41” reported of the normal 4.95” seen during the month.

June started off with a heat wave as highs reached 90° both the 2nd and 3rd along with dry weather which continued through the first week. The heat subsided with temperatures returning to a more seasonable level in the upper 70s to low 80s. Wildfire smoke on the 4th produced hazy conditions across the region, impacting the air quality. A few spotty showers were around on the 6th and 7th, otherwise largely quiet weather persisted until a more widespread rain event on the 11th.

Widespread showers on the 11th proved to be the wettest day of the month, producing 0.66” of rainfall (nearly half of the month’s total). Temperatures were unseasonably cool during this time as well, with highs only reaching into the mid 60s both the 11th and 12th. Unsettled weather then persisted through the 14th with scattered showers and storms returning each day.

The second half of the month saw temperatures warm back into the mid to upper 80s with conditions largely remaining dry. High temperatures trended warmer into the 24th and 25th, reaching the 90° mark once again. Active weather returned on the 25th as severe storms pushed through the state. Three tornadoes were reported throughout Central Indiana, with one in Johnston County south of Indianapolis being confirmed as an EF-2 with peak winds of 115 mph.

The final stretch of the month continued to be active as temperatures grew warmer (reaching its warmest on the 30th with 91°F). Smoke from wildfires returned on the 27th and 28th, worsening air quality across the region. Strong storms on the 29th produced a derecho that pushed through the metropolitan area, with a 70 mph gust being reported at Indianapolis International Airport. 


June ended up being drier than normal across the region, with Columbus and Cincinnati measuring only 3.71” and 2.92” (down from the usual 4.33” and 4.75”, respectively). Temperatures ended up a bit on the cooler side, with Columbus and Cincinnati averaging 69.3° and 70.6°F (2.6° and 1.7° cooler than normal, respectively).

Similar to other areas of the Midwest, the month started off on the warm side as highs pushed into the low 90s, with both cities reporting their warmest day of the month on the 3rd (Columbus at 94°F, Cincinnati at 93°F). The month also started off fairly dry, outside of some pop-up showers and storms that occurred on the 3rd. Dayton reported its lowest June dew point since 2009 the morning of the 5th, reaching only 35°F. Accompanying this drier period was hazy from Canadian wildfires that impacted air quality across the region throughout the first week of June. 

The initial heat eased a bit into the second week, with highs settling into the upper 70s to low 80s. Outside of a few stray showers in the Cincinnati area the 6th and 7th, this quieter pattern continued until the 11th. A more organized disturbance thereafter brought decent rainfall, favoring the Cincinnati area which saw its rainiest day of the month with 1.33”. Two EF-0 tornadoes were confirmed north of Dayton. Showers and storms remained around both the 12th and 13th, with the latter bringing more widespread activity. Columbus measured 1.36”, its wettest day of the month. Temperatures cooled to near 70° during this time.

The second half of the month saw temperatures return to the upper 70s to 80s. Conditions were largely dry initially outside of a few storms on the 15th and more widespread activity the 19th, favoring Cincinnati. Additional storms on the 23rd then favored the Columbus area.

The final days of the month saw a more active pattern arise. Severe storms working across Indiana on the 25th largely fell apart by the time it reached the Ohio border, with any minor spill-over storms limited to Cincinnati. The 26th saw less impressive storms around, followed by a return of smokey haze on the 27th and 28th. Another line of strong storms the 29th weakened considerably as they worked into Ohio, bringing more average thunderstorms, again favoring the Cincinnati area, with similar activity around on the 30th. 

Hazy conditions over Troy, OH on June 28th attributed to wildfire smoke.