Yesterday NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center released their outlooks for February and beyond (see maps below). For February they call for an increased chance of below-average temperatures for the upper Midwest, including the northern two-thirds of Illinois. Precipitation in Illinois is expected to have equal chances (E.C.) of being above, below, or near average.
For February through April, temperatures have an equal chance of being above, below, or near average. It’s what I call a neutral forecast. On the other hand, there is an increased chance of above-average precipitation across the Great Lakes region, including the northern three-fourths of Illinois. That would be great news for the further recovery of drought conditions in Illinois, if it pans out.
The outlook for May through July indicates that a large part of the US is expected to have an increased chance of above-average temperatures (last map). The precipitation outlook for this period is neutral.
The outlook for August through October (not shown) is not very interesting for Illinois with equal chances of above, below, and near average temperature and precipitation. In other words, it is a very neutral outlook.
As of January 18, this month has been warm and wet. Temperatures have been almost 5 degrees above the long-term average. Precipitation, mostly in the form of rain, has ranged from less than an inch in northwest Illinois to over 5 inches in far southern Illinois. Current measurements of soil temperatures in Illinois show that the soils under grass at 4 inches remain unfrozen. So much of that rain and melted snow should have soaked in.