Dry May Wraps Up 4th Driest Spring on Record, Illinois State Water Survey

Press Release

For Immediate Release June 2, 2005
Dry May Wraps Up 4th Driest Spring on Record
Jim Angel - (217) 333-0729, Fax: (217) 244-0220, jimangel@illinois.edu
Eva Kingston - (217) 244-7270, Fax: (217) 333-6540, eva@sws.uiuc.edu

“With precipitation statewide in Illinois averaging only 1.86 inches (44 percent of normal), this ranks as the 6th driest May since 1895. Precipitation since March also was low, 6.02 inches (53 percent of normal), the 4th driest spring on record after 1934, 1895, and 1936,” says State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

“Soil moisture measured in the top 6 inches (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu/warm/) was 50–75 percent of normal for this time of year across the state, with considerable drying over recent weeks as warm and windy conditions have prevailed. Because winter was wet, deeper layers are in better shape,” says Angel.

May temperatures ranged from 20°F at Mount Carroll (northwestern Illinois) on May 3 to 92°F at Hustonville on May 11. The statewide average temperature for May was 61.3 degrees (1.6 degrees below normal). Lovington had both the highest one-day precipitation total (3.26 inches on May 12), and the highest monthly total (4.35 inches).

The National Weather Service outlook for June calls for equal chances of above normal, normal, or below normal temperatures and precipitation. The outlook for June–August is similar but with a slightly increased change of above normal temperatures in the southern half of the state.

“Dry weather is a concern as we head into the heart of the growing season. Historically, dry springs precede summers that are warmer and drier than average, but not always. For example, spring 1992 was dry, but precipitation that summer was near normal and temperatures were three degrees below normal,” concludes Angel.

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