NWS Outlook for November and Winter

Today the NWS Climate Prediction Center has released their latest outlook for November and this winter. Below are the maps for November temperature, November precipitation, December-February temperature, and December-February precipitation.

For Illinois, November temperatures have equal chances (EC) of being above, below, or near-average. November precipitation is rated as EC except for the northeast quarter of the state, which has an increased chance of below-average precipitation. This is part of a larger area with increased chances of below-average precipitation across the Great Lakes region.

The category of EC is a little hard to interpret. Basically, it means that there are no consistent indications that conditions could be too warm/cold/wet/dry. Sometimes I call it a neutral forecast.

For December-February, the traditional winter months, Illinois has equal chances (EC) of above, below, and near-average temperatures. However, Illinois has an increased chance of below-average precipitation.

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El Nino and the Midwest

NOAA has released a new 2-page fact sheet on El Niño and the Midwest (links below). Several people in the Midwest had input into this, including myself. El Niño typically results in warmer and drier than average winters. Confidence in these patterns is higher during stronger El Niño events.

Right now the NOAA Climate Prediction Center states that El Niño is favored to begin in the next 1-2 months and last into spring of 2015. The current thinking is that the odds are 2-in-3 in favor of it arriving and that the event will likely remain weak throughout its duration.

PDF version: EN-MW-Sep2014

Online version:

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October Cooler and Wetter Than Average So Far in Illinois

The statewide average temperature for October so far in Illinois is 56.5 degrees, 1.4 degrees below average. The statewide average precipitation for October so far is 2.5 inches.

Here is the map showing how the precipitation has fallen in Illinois and surrounding states. The heaviest amounts in Illinois were the 3 to 5 inches between Interstates 70 and 74. Amounts of 1 to 3 inches were common in the northern and southern thirds of the state. The largest total so far is 8.38 inches reported at Greenfield in Greene County

Most of Missouri has seen amounts of 3 to 6 inches or more as well as parts of Indiana and Michigan. It was a little drier in the Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio and the rest of Indiana where amounts of 0.5 to 2 inches were common.
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First Snow in Illinois

Jim Angel:

Traces of snow were reported in Chicago and Rockford on October 4. A few years ago I did a post on the earliest and median dates for the first measurable snowfall of the season. Measurable means at least 0.1 inches or more.  Snow flurries or traces of snow do not count since they have not been tracked closely in the historical weather records.

No real surprises for anyone who has experienced winter in Illinois. The earliest dates of measurable snow are in the late October, early November time frame. And the median dates range from late November in northern Illinois to the second half of December in southern Illinois. Even so, the dates can vary considerably between nearby sites since many of the early season snows are sporadic and not very widespread.

firstsnow-earliest-stn-Illinois

The median is also known as the 50th percentile and represents in the “middle” of the distribution of dates. In many cases it is a better measure than the average, which can be thrown off by some date that is extraordinarily early or late.

These maps are based on sites that reported snowfall regularly since 1981. The dates are the earliest and median dates of the first measurable snow (0.1 inches or more) for the standard averaging period of 1981 to 2010 (also known as “normal”).

firstsnow-median-stn-Illinois

Originally posted on Illinois State Climatologist:

The other night we had a brief period of snow with no accumulation on the ground here in Champaign. However I did see some on my car for a few minutes (see right) before it melted. That reminded me that Zoe and I had worked on some “first snowfall” maps. These maps are based on sites that reported snowfall regularly since 1981. The dates are the earliest and median dates of the first measurable snow (0.1 inches or more) for the standard averaging period of 1981 to 2010 (also known as “normal”).

No real surprises for anyone who has experienced winter in Illinois. The earliest dates are in the late October, early November time frame. And the median dates range from late November in northern Illinois to the second half of December in southern Illinois. Even so, the dates can vary considerably between nearby sites since many of the early season…

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Monthly Temperature and Precipitation Departures for 2014 for Illinois

Here are the monthly temperature and precipitation departures for 2014. September joins January, February, March, and July as much cooler than average months. For precipitation, we noted last month that we were regularly alternating between wetter- and drier-than-average months in 2014. That changed in September with two months in a row of wetter-than-average conditions.

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Wet Weather Continues in Illinois, Could Delay Harvest

October is off to a wet start and the wet weather is expected to continue over the next 14 days for Illinois. This could have an impact on the already slow fall harvest season in Illinois. The USDA NASS report on Monday noted that 14% of the corn crop in Illinois was harvested, compared to a 5-year average of 34%. Also, 10% of the soybean crop was harvested compared to the 5-year average of 18%.

Here is the precipitation over the past 24 hours. Amounts of 1 to 3 inches were widespread across central Illinois. This was the same area that received much above average precipitation in September, according to the post on September.

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Here is the NWS Quantitative Precipitation Forecast for the next 7 days. The heaviest precipitation is expected to fall in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. For Illinois, amounts are in the range of 1 to almost 3 inches.  Continue reading

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September Was Cool and Wet for Illinois

Highlights

September was 1.5 degrees cooler than average and 0.88 inches wetter than average for Illinois. Year to date temperatures were 3.3 degrees below average and the 6th coolest January-September on record. The year to date precipitation was 32.91 inches, 2.5 inches above average.

September

The statewide average temperature for September in Illinois was 64.4 degrees, 1.5 degrees below the 1981-2010 average.

The statewide average precipitation for September in Illinois was 4.12 inches, 0.88 inches above average. The heaviest rains fell across western and central Illinois with amounts of 6 to 9 inches (map below). A second area of heavy rains occurred south of Interstate 70 near Effingham. The largest monthly total reported so far is Beardstown with 10.72 inches.

IL-prcp-mpe-m2d-tot-20140930

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