August – Drought in Central Illinois

The statewide average precipitation was 2.06 inches, 1.6 inches below average and 56 percent of average. This was the 13th driest August on record since 1895, based on preliminary data.

The driest area was south of and parallel to Interstate 74 (Figure 1). Rainfall amounts in that region were generally an inch or less. One of the driest spots in Illinois was Lovington (Moultrie County in east-central Illinois) with only 0.03 inches for the entire month. Other familiar sites with extremely low readings included: Decatur with 0.15 inches, Springfield with 0.25 inches, and Quincy with 0.25 inches.

Only northern Illinois received average to above-average rainfall in August (Figure 2). One of the wettest spots in Illinois was Morris (Grundy County) with 7.02 inches, followed closely by Earlville (LaSalle County) with 7.01 inches.

Moderate to severe agricultural drought arrived in Illinois in August (Figure 3), according to the US Drought Monitor. This was the result of much less than average rainfall in July and August, as well as warmer than average temperatures. Damage to corn and soybean crops appears to be significant in places. However, the full extent of the damage will not be known until harvest.

Temperatures were above average for much of Illinois (Figure 4). Highs in the 90s and even low 100s were common across the state. The hottest spots in the state were Cairo with 103 degrees on August 4 and Bentley with 103 degrees on August 25. Both Quincy and Grand Chain Dam were close with 102 degrees on August 2 and August 4 respectively.

The statewide mean temperature (an average of both the high and low temperatures) was 74.9 degrees, 1.2 degrees above average.

August 2011 precipitation
Figure 1. August 2011 precipitation for Illinois. Click to enlarge.
August 2011 precipitation departure
Figure 2. August 2011 precipitation departure for Illinois. Click to enlarge.
drought monitor
Figure 3. US Drought Monitor for August 30 2011 for Illinois. Click to enlarge.
Figure 4. Temperature departures for August 2011 in Illinois. Click to enlarge.
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