Wet March Weather Improves Drought Conditions State Wide Precipitation for March More Than 1.5 Inches Above Normal, Illinois State Water Survey

Press Release

For Immediate Release April 13, 2006
Wet March Weather Improves Drought Conditions State Wide Precipitation for March More Than 1.5 Inches Above Normal
Source:    Jim Angel - (217) 333-0729, Fax: (217) 244-0220, jimangel@illinois.edu

The latest weather statistics announced today by the Illinois State Water Survey, a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, indicates above average precipitation for the month of March across the state finally helping offset dry conditions for the last 12 months.

“Preliminary data for Illinois indicate that 4.79 inches of precipitation fell in March, 1.57 inches above normal or 149 percent of normal, and is the 16th wettest March since 1895. This offsets the dry February, which was 1.05 inches below normal. As a result of the wet March, precipitation for 2006 is at 8.41 inches, which is 1.34 inches above normal,” says State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey.

The statewide March mean temperature of 41.4 degrees was 0.3 degrees above normal. The statewide temperature for 2006 is 36.7 degrees, 4.6 degrees above normal, and the 8th warmest January-March on record since 1895. Temperature extremes ranged from 82 degrees at Belleville on March 31 to 9 degrees at Mt. Carroll on March 4. Grayville reported the heaviest one-day precipitation, 4.25 inches on March 12, as well as the highest monthly total, 10.74 inches.

“Receiving above-normal rainfall in March means that we are making headway against the drought in northern and western Illinois. An additional 1 to 3 inches fell in central and western Illinois in the first 11 days of April. However, sub-surface soil moisture, streams, and shallow groundwater remain below normal in places in that region,” says Angel. “It may take several months of normal to above-normal precipitation to overcome the impacts of the severe precipitation deficits of 2005.”

The Water Survey will continue to monitor the situation and post updates (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu/hilites/drought/). April is usually when the last freezing temperatures occur: Southern Illinois (April 7), Central Illinois (April 14–21), and Northern Illinois (April 28). If you’re planting tender annuals, add about 2 weeks to those dates. See (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu/atmos/statecli/Frost/frost.htm) for more frost information.

Released simultaneously by Illinois Department of Natural Resources

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