March Off to Cold, Wet Start

So far, March has been both colder than average across all of Illinois and wetter than average across western and northern Illinois. The statewide temperature for March 1-14 was 32.5 degrees, 5.4 degrees below average. That stands in stark contrast to last March when the statewide temperature for March 1-14 was 45.2 degrees, 7.3 degrees above average. That is a 12.7 degree difference between the two periods.

Precipitation through the morning of March 15 (Figure 1) ranged from less than an inch in southern Illinois to over 2 inches in western Illinois. Precipitation was below average in southern and eastern Illinois (Figure 2) and above average in western and northern Illinois. The dryness in southern and eastern Illinois is not a major concern at this point because of wet conditions in those areas in January and February.

The latest NWS forecasts show that rains of 1 to 2 inches or more could fall in the southern third of Illinois over the next five days (Figure 3). Also their 6-10 day and 8-14 days forecast show that colder and wetter than average conditions will prevail for the rest of March. Because of recent rains and melting snow, the NWS has issued flood warnings today on portions of the Mississippi, Illinois, and Wabash Rivers (Figure 4).

Figure 1.
Figure 1.
Figure 2.
Figure 2.
Figure 3.
Figure 3. Five-day precipitation forecast. Source: http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/medr/medr_mean.shtml
Figure 4.
Figure 4. Flood warnings in Illinois. http://water.weather.gov/ahps/region_forecast.php?state=il#
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