Drought Recovery in Illinois

The US Drought Monitor released their map this week showing improvements across Illinois. Between the rains of the last few weeks, lower temperatures, and the fall harvest, soil moisture and stream flows across the state have improved substantially. In fact, I would say that the situation in Illinois is even better than what is depicted on their map.

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In the last 30 days, large areas of the state received 3 to 6 inches of precipitation. Even the areas shade in dark blue got 2 to 3 inches. With the low demand on soil moisture, most of that precipitation soaked in and stayed there. You can look at our network of soil moisture measurements across the state here.

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There are two areas still showing signs of the flash drought earlier this year – around the Quad Cities and east-central Illinois. They are marked as severe drought (dark brown) on the US Drought Monitor map but I would classify them as moderate.

The only water supply issue at the moment is that Decatur was asked for volunteer water restrictions due to the low levels of Lake Decatur. Conditions in the rest of the state are within the normal range for this time of year, according to the USGS 7-day average stream flow. The areas circled show lingering low flows for this time of year.

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