Illinois Was Very Dry, Cold in November and Fall, Illinois State Water Survey

Press Release

For Immediate Release December 5, 2002
Illinois Was Very Dry, Cold in November and Fall
Jim Angel - (217) 333-0729, Fax: (217) 244-0220,
Eva Kingston - (217) 244-7270, Fax: (217) 333-6540,

“November 2002 was the 12th driest and the 31st coldest November in Illinois since 1895. Statewide there was 1.14 inches of precipitation, 2.17 inches below average, and temperatures averaged 39.2°F, 2.5°F colder than average. This is in stark contrast to November 2001, the warmest November on record with temperatures 7.9°F above average,” says State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (, a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

“The statistics for September- November 2002 also reflect these generally cool and dry conditions. With only 6.52 inches of precipitation, 2.88 inches below average, it was the 21st driest fall since 1895. It was also the 38th coldest fall on record with temperatures averaging 53.4°F or 0.8°F below average,” says Angel.

“The demand for residential heating should be up because heating degree-days since July 1 for the state are about 9 percent above average (1255 degree-days compared to an average of 1151 degree-days),” says Angel.

Northern Illinois, particularly the Chicago area, reported significant snowfall in November: 5.3 inches (Chicago at Midway) and 5.5 inches (Chicago Botanic Garden). November amounts at those two sites are typically 2.3 inches and 1.7 inches, respectively. The rest of northern Illinois averaged 1 to 2 inches, but there was little or no snow elsewhere in Illinois.

Temperatures ranged from a high of 76°F at Grand Tower on November 12 to a low of 6°F at Mount Carroll on November 25. Anna reported both the largest one-day rainfall total, 2.62 inches on November 10, and the largest monthly total, 3.64 inches.

“The National Weather Service is continuing to call for an increased chance of a warmer, drier winter this year. Because the current El Niño event in the Pacific Ocean is much weaker than the 1997-1998 event, I would expect its impact on our winter weather to be muted. I think we are more likely to see average to colder-than-average winter temperatures and dry conditions if the patterns seen in November continue,” says Angel.

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