March 2002 Reverses Illinois Trend of Above Average Temperatures, Illinois State Water Survey

Press Release

For Immediate Release April 4, 2002
March 2002 Reverses Illinois Trend of Above Average Temperatures

Source:   
Contact:   
Jim Angel - (217) 333-0729, Fax: (217) 244-0220, jimangel@illinois.edu
Eva Kingston - (217) 244-7270, Fax: (217) 333-6540, eva@sws.uiuc.edu
"With temperatures 3.8 degrees cooler than average across Illinois, March 2002 was the 35th coldest March on record since 1895, reversing a trend of warmer than average months that began in November 2001," says State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

DeKalb in northern Illinois reported -17oF, the coolest reading, on March 4; McLeansboro in southern Illinois reported 77oF, the warmest reading, on March 9.

Angel also says this was the 31st wettest March on record since 1895 with 3.59 inches of precipitation, 112 percent of average. Several stations in the southern third of Illinois reported monthly precipitation totals in excess of 5 inches, including 7.27 inches at Anna, the highest monthly total. Rend Lake reported 2.18 inches on March 9, the highest daily amount. These measurements include rainfall and water content of any snowfall.

Snowfall was much above average in the northern two-thirds of the state, primarily from storms on March 1-3 and on March 26, but near to slightly above average elsewhere. Average March snowfall ranges from 2 inches (southern Illinois) to 3-4 inches (central Illinois) to 4-6 inches (northern Illinois). Midway Airport reported 13.2 inches, the highest monthly total.

An intense low-pressure system produced strong winds that downed trees and power lines and damaged roofs and siding on March 9. Several stations reported gusts in excess of 50 mph, including 56 mph at Springfield and Moline, and 52 mph at Chicago's O'Hare Airport and at Peoria.

"March had a little bit of everything: temperature extremes, rain and snow, and high winds. One thing we did not see was any tornado activity, even though March signals the start of tornado season. Traditionally, most tornadoes and associated deaths and injuries occur in April so remember to take necessary safety precautions and heed any warnings from the National Weather Service," concludes Angel.

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