December Finished Cold in Illinois, Illinois State Water Survey

ISWS Press Release

For Immediate Release January 7, 2014
December Finished Cold in Illinois
Jim Angel, Ph.D. - (217) 333-0729,
Lisa Sheppard - (217) 244-7270,

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - In December, the statewide temperature of 25.5 degrees was 4.4 degrees below average, making it the 20th coldest December on record since 1895. However, it is far short of the record coldest December of 1983 when the statewide temperature was only 17.1 degrees, 8.4 degrees colder than this December, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel at the Illinois State Water Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois.

The pattern of much below-average temperatures in December persisted throughout the Midwest with the departures strongest in the northern-most states.

Sunset Photo

For December, the heaviest snowfall totals were in northern Illinois and southern Illinois and in the 10- to 15-inch range. All of Illinois was above average on snowfall for the month. The highest departures were in southern Illinois since December snowfall is typically much less in that region.

The statewide precipitation was 2.5 inches, which is slightly below average. The precipitation varied widely across the state, however. Conditions were very dry across northern and central Illinois, but much wetter in southern Illinois. In fact, the dry conditions in December persisted throughout much of the Midwest except along the Ohio River.

“It was disappointing that both November and December were so dry for Illinois,” Angel said.  “As a result, stream flows and lake levels were below where they should be for this time of year.”

Several U.S. Geological Survey gauges across the central part of the state are less than 25 percent of their January 1 stream flow levels.


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

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