Illinois Soils Warm Over the First Half of March, Illinois State Water Survey

ISWS Press Release

For Immediate Release March 18, 2016
Illinois Soils Warm Over the First Half of March
Jennie Atkins, Ph.D. - (217) 333-4966,
Lisa Sheppard - (217) 244-7270,

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Soil temperatures increased through the first half of March, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) Program manager at the Illinois State Water Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois.

Daily Maximum Temperature 4 Inches Under Bare Soil - Mar 15, 2016

Illinois saw warmer than average soil temperatures across the state with temperatures 10 or more degrees above the long-term average on March 15. Temperatures at 4 inches under bare soil averaged 56.7 degrees F on March 15, 10.9 degrees higher than last year and 15.9 degrees higher than average.

Soils were warm across the state with regional averages of 51.0 degrees in northern Illinois, 56.2 degrees in central, and 60.6 degrees in the south. Temperatures were warmer at depths of 2 inches with a statewide average of 57.0 degrees.

Temperatures were slightly cooler but still warmer than normal under sod. Statewide temperatures averaged 54.5 degrees at depths of 4 inches and 52.7 degrees at 8 inches.

Soil moisture was high in mid-March with levels near or above field capacity in most areas across the state. Moisture has been declining at depths from 2 to 20 inches in the past few days as soils dry out from the rain from earlier this week. Moisture levels at depths of 39 and 59 inches remain high.

The Illinois State Water Survey’s WARM Program collects hourly and daily weather and soil information at 19 stations across the state. Daily and monthly summaries can be found at the WARM website ( and in the Illinois Water and Climate Summary (


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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