No Surprises for March: Near Average Temperatures, Illinois State Water Survey

ISWS Press Release

For Immediate Release April 5, 2011
No Surprises for March: Near Average Temperatures
Jim Angel - (217) 333-0729,
Lisa Sheppard - (217) 244-7270,

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The statewide average temperature for Illinois in March was 41.0 degrees, just 0.1 degrees below the 1971–2000 average, according to State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (

Of course, temperatures varied widely from one week to the next. Take Chicago: on March 17, the high temperature was 67 degrees, which is 20 degrees above average. A week later, the highs were in the low 30s and 11 to 12 degrees below average. Kaskaskia reported the highest temperature in Illinois for the month with 83 degrees, while Normal reported the lowest temperature for the month with 14 degrees.

The statewide average precipitation for March was 2.76 inches, 0.45 inches below the 1971–2000 average. Amounts ranged from 2 to 3 inches in northern Illinois, to 1 to 2 inches in central Illinois, and 3 to 6 inches in southern Illinois. The heaviest rainfalls were in far southern Illinois with Brookport reporting a monthly total of 8.14 inches and Cairo reporting 7.36 inches.

It is not unusual to get snowfall in March. Average snowfall in March typically ranges from about 2 inches in Carbondale to over 5 inches in Rockford and Chicago. This year, the only significant snow fell near St. Louis. Lebanon to the east of St. Louis reported 8.0 inches of snow; Waterloo to the southeast of St. Louis reported 6.2 inches.

According to the National Weather Service, the outlook for April calls for an increased chance of above normal precipitation and below normal temperatures. If that outlook comes true, it could prove a challenge for spring planting in Illinois.

The Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a division of the Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability, is the primary agency in Illinois concerned with water and atmospheric resources.

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