Outlook for March, Spring, and Summer

The National Weather Service just released their outlook for March and spring. We have moved out of the La Niña pattern in the Pacific pattern to something called ENSO-neutral conditions this spring.That means we are between the El Niño and La Niña phases in the Pacific Ocean. Some of the predictive models are indicating a shift towards a weak El Niño by summer. That is actually good news for Illinois since we have a tendency to experience milder summer temperatures under those situations.

For March, they have Illinois in a region called “EC”, meaning that we have equal chances of being above, below, or near-normal on temperature and precipitation. Sometimes I call “EC” a neutral forecast because it does not lean one way or another.

For March-May, Illinois has an increased chance of above-normal temperatures and northern Illinois has an increased chance of above-normal precipitation.

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For summer, Illinois is in the EC region for both temperature and precipitation. This is a change from earlier forecasts that showed Illinois with an increased chance of being warmer than normal this summer. Some of the forecast models do show the above-normal temperatures from spring persisting into summer.

Central Illinois Snow Drought

The most recent winter storm left a band of light to moderate snow across central Illinois. With warm soils, and forecasted highs in the 40s on Friday and in the 50s on Saturday, this snow will not stick around for too long.  The fact that we talking about such a modest storm underscores the quiet winter across central Illinois. In fact, the term snow drought has been raised in recent weeks to describe current conditions.

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Snowfall for the Winter

Here are how the number look for this winter. Snowfall amounts since October 1 (left panel) range from less than an inch around St. Louis to around 10 inches near Interstate 80. As a percent of normal (right panel), many of those amounts are less than 50 percent of normal (light orange) and for some spots less than 25 percent of normal (darker orange/light red). The forecasts for the next two weeks do not show much in the way of opportunities for snowfall.

Here are some snowfall stats for cities in central Illinois with long snowfall records:

  • Champaign: total snowfall this winter is 4.6 inches (record is 6.7 inches in 1953-54)
  • Springfield: total snowfall this winter is 5.7 inches (record is 5.8 inches in 1953-54)
  • Peoria: total snowfall this winter is 9.5 inches (record is 7.8 inches in 1965-66, 1994-95)

 

January Wrapup – Warm and Snowless Month

The preliminary January statistics are in for Illinois. The statewide average temperature was 31.4 degrees, 5.0 degrees above normal and the 14th warmest January on record. The statewide average precipitation was 2.16 inches, 0.09 inches above normal. The statewide snowfall was below normal across the state.

Temperature Maps

Temperatures have been above normal across the state and across the eastern half of the US for January. Click to enlarge.

Precipitation Maps

Precipitation represents both rainfall and the water content of snow. On the left is the actual precipitation and on the right is the departure from normal. In general, the eastern and northern parts of the state were wet, while the west and south were drier than normal.

Snowfall Maps

Snowfall was almost non-existent in Illinois in January (left), running less than an inch in many locations, and obviously well below normal (right).

Forecast for February

According to the Climate Prediction Center, we have an increased chance of above-normal temperatures in February. The short-term forecasts out to 14 days seem to bear this out. For the most part, Illinois has equal chances of above, below, or near-normal precipitation. The short-term forecasts out to 14 days suggest wetter than normal conditions. It’s not clear if that will translate into more snow, or just more rain if it is accompanied by mild temperatures.

 

January in Illinois – warm, wet, foggy, but little snow

Based on what we have seen so far in January, Illinois has been warmer and wetter than normal with little snowfall.

The statewide average temperature is 27.9 degrees, 3.9 degrees above normal. The statewide average precipitation (rain plus the water content of snow) is 1.6 inches, 0.4 inches above normal. Continue reading

Latest Monthly and Season Outlook for Illinois

The NWS Climate Prediction Center released their latest outlooks for February and upcoming seasons. So far, Illinois has been warm and wet in January. The statewide average temperature is 3.5 degrees above normal. Statewide precipitation is at 1.6 inches, 0.5 inches above normal. The rest of January looks like more of the same weather.

February

Illinois has equal chances (EC) of above, below, and near-normal temperature in February. Illinois has an increased chance of wetter than normal conditions in February. Click to enlarge.

February-April

Illinois has EC for temperatures and an increased chance of above-normal precipitation for February through April. Continue reading

Cold, Dry December Ends a Warm Year in Illinois

A cold, dry December wrapped up a warm year in Illinois.

December

The statewide average temperature for December was 28.6 degrees, 1.3 degrees below normal. The statewide average precipitation was 1.41 inches, 1.28 inches below normal.

December precipitation was light and below normal across most of Illinois, except for far southern Illinois. The largest reported precipitation total was 6.03 inches in Rosiclare, an NWS-COOP site in Hardin County. Precipitation includes rainfall and the water content of snow. Click on the images to enlarge.

December snowfall was absent in far southern Illinois and increased northward. Only northern Illinois received above-normal snowfall. The largest monthly snowfall total was 24.3 inches in Bull Valley, a CoCoRaHS station (IL-MCH-13) in McHenry County.

Annual – 2016

Continue reading

Cold, Snowy First Half of December

The statewide average temperature for the first half of December is 27.9 degrees, 4.7 degrees above normal. Snowfall (maps below) has been heaviest north of Interstate 80, ranging from 10 to 15 in many locations. The snowfall totals taper off southward, dropping to about 2 inches near Interstate 72, and down to zero inches near Interstate 70 and sites to the south. For many areas in northern Illinois, this represents above-normal snowfall.

More wintery weather is expected today and tomorrow as another winter storm moves through the Midwest. This will be followed by very cold temperatures on Sunday and Monday before moderating somewhat on Tuesday.