December Plunges Illinois into Deep Freeze, Illinois State Water Survey

Press Release

For Immediate Release December 21, 2005
December Plunges Illinois into Deep Freeze
Jim Angel - (217) 333-0729, Fax: (217) 244-0220,
Eva Kingston - (217) 244-7270, Fax: (217) 333-6540,

"Preliminary data for December in Illinois to date indicate it's the second coldest start to December on record, with an average statewide temperature departure 10.6 degrees below normal. Only the first 20 days of December 1989 were colder with a departure of 12.8 degrees below normal. Statewide, precipitation for December is 43 percent of normal (0.77 inches) thus far, but snowfall is above normal, with totals of 10–16 inches in northern Illinois, 6–10 inches in central Illinois, and 2–6 inches in southern Illinois," says State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (, a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

"While December has been cold and dry, November was warm and moderately wet. Statewide, November temperatures averaged 43.9°F (2.1 degrees above normal) and precipitation averaged 3.83 inches (0.51 inches above normal). November was the sixth consecutive month with temperatures above normal, and June–November 2005 was the third warmest such period on record. Temperature extremes ranged from 82°F at Cairo on November 9 to 6°F at Mt. Carroll on November 17.

With more of December yet to come, preliminary numbers indicate temperatures 1.3 degrees above normal and precipitation 6.47 inches below normal in Illinois during 2005. Northern and central Illinois are still in moderate to extreme drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor: (

"Based on 1971–2000 historical data, chances of a white Christmas are least likely in southern Illinois (10–30 percent), a little better across central Illinois (30–40 percent), and best in northern Illinois (40–60 percent). As always, holiday shoppers and travelers should stay abreast of weather conditions," reminds Angel.

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