Happy Groundhog Day. Regardless of whether the groundhog sees his shadow or not, so far we have seen very little of cold temperatures and snow this winter in Illinois.
For January 2012, the statewide average temperature for Illinois was 31.4 degrees, which is 6.6 degrees above normal and the 13th warmest January on record. The warmest reading for the month was 69 degrees at Belleville and Kaskaskia on January 6 and at Cairo on January 18. The coldest reading for the month was -6 degrees at Elizabeth and Galena on January 12.
The statewide average precipitation for January was 1.87 inches, which is 97 percent of normal. The wettest areas were in eastern Illinois. I had a few trips in the last two weeks and saw a lot of standing water in fields along Interstate 57. We had a CoCoRaHS station in Henning (Vermilion County) report 4.46 inches. Heavy rains fell in southern Illinois as well. Flora reported a monthly total of 4. 21 inches. Meanwhile, western Illinois was dry. For example, Macomb reported only 0.75 inches of precipitation for the month. See figures below.
The snowfall for January in Illinois was generally below normal south of Interstate 74 with amounts in the range of 1 to 3 inches. Snowfall was above normal north of Interstate 74 with amounts ranging from 3 to 19 inches. The largest monthly snowfall total for the state was New Lenox with 18.9 inches, followed closely by Monee with 17.8 inches. See figures below.
The combination of a warmer than normal December and January was unusual. The average temperature for December/January was 33.4 degrees, making it at the 6th warmest December/January period on record.
The statewide records go back to 1895. The data presented here are preliminary and may change as updates arrive.