Tenth Warmest March on Record in Illinois, Illinois State Water Survey

ISWS Press Release

For Immediate Release April 6, 2016
Tenth Warmest March on Record in Illinois
Jim Angel, Ph.D. - (217) 333-0729, jimangel@illinois.edu
Lisa Sheppard - (217) 244-7270, sheppard@illinois.edu

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - March 2016 was the 10th warmest March on record with an average temperature of 46.5 degrees, 5.2 degrees above normal. Illinois was not alone; essentially the entire US was warmer than normal in March, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel, Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois.

March temperature departures from the 1981-2010 average
March temperature departures from the 1981-
2010 average

March is the latest in a string of above-normal months in Illinois going all the way back to September 2015. In fact, the September-March 2016 average temperature of 45.6 degrees is 3.9 degrees above normal and the 3rd warmest September-March combo on record since 1895.

This warmth for the past several months is due to the moderating influence of El NiƱo on winters in Illinois, as well as our trend towards milder winters in recent decades. The winter of 2013-14 was the exception to the rule.

The March statewide average precipitation was 3.28 inches, 0.32 inches above normal. Far southern Illinois was the wettest with amounts of 5 to 8 inches common.

The largest monthly precipitation total in the state was Smithland Lock and Dam in Pope County with 8.73 inches. An area from Quincy to Peoria was the driest with amounts closer to 1 to 3 inches. For example, the Quincy Airport reported only 1.08 inches of precipitation for March.

Northern Illinois experienced some snow in March while the rest of the state was quiet. Amounts of 1 to 4 inches were common in the north, and a few places along the IL-WI border received more. A site near Gurnee reported a monthly total of 8.2 inches of snow. Overall, snowfall was below normal for March across the state.


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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