Cold, Snowy March for Illinois
|Jim Angel, Ph.D. - (217) 333-0729, email@example.com|
Lisa Sheppard - (217) 244-7270, firstname.lastname@example.org
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The statewide average temperature for March was 38.2 degrees, 3.1 degrees below average, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel, Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois.
These cooler temperatures follow a slightly colder-than-average January and much colder-than-average February. As a result, the year-to-date temperature for Illinois was 27.8 degrees, 5.1 degrees below average and the 16th coldest on record. In comparison, the same period in 2014 was 24.4 degrees and the 4th coldest on record.
According to the latest NWS forecasts, the first two weeks of April are expected to be warmer-than-average.
The statewide precipitation for March was 2.4 inches, 0.5 inches below average. However, it was not evenly distributed. Northern Illinois was dry with less than 2 inches of precipitation in many locations. Central Illinois was close to average with 2 to 4 inches widely reported.
On the other hand, Southern Illinois was much wetter with 4 to 8 inches of precipitation. The largest reported total for the month was in Belknap (far southern Illinois) with 8.43 inches.
The heavy rains in southern Illinois contributed to moderate flooding on tributaries of the Wabash and Ohio Rivers.
The statewide average precipitation for January-March was 5.3 inches, 1.8 inches below average and the 29th driest on record. While northern and central Illinois were 1 to 3 inches below average, southern Illinois was 1 to 4 inches above average on precipitation.
Dry conditions extend across the upper Corn Belt. In the short-term, dry conditions can be beneficial for spring planting as the soils dry out and warm up faster.
Snowfall in March was widespread across the state.
“Interestingly, some of the highest snowfall totals were in southern Illinois where climatology indicates it should be the least,” Angel said.
The largest snowfall total was reported in Danville in east-central Illinois with 12.3 inches, followed by Grand Chain Dam in far southern Illinois with 10.0 inches. The lowest monthly totals came out of northwest Illinois. The Moline airport reported only 0.1 inches of snow for the month.
As a result, snowfall was above average for most of the state except the northwest near the Quad Cities. Although much of central and northern Illinois received above-average snowfall, these areas still remained below average on precipitation. While those areas received plenty of snow, they received little rainfall, which typically makes up the bulk of the precipitation for March.
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.