Illinois has had a quite the shift in the weather pattern in the last few days with widespread rains across the state, including areas that have been dry for some time. Here are the rainfall totals for the past 7 days as of this morning (February 20th), both observed and departures from normal. In the top map, areas in yellow received between 2 and 3 inches. Many areas of the rest of the state received between 1 and 2 inches. As the bottom map shows, that’s above normal for this time of year, especially in the areas that received 2 to 3 inches of rain.
Precipitation Forecast: And it continues to rain as I write this. Many areas in northern and central Illinois are currently in a flood watch or warning, according to the National Weather Service. And more rainfall is on the way. Here are the potential rainfall totals over the next five days. Southern Illinois could see between 5 and 7 inches while central Illinois could see 2 to 5 inches. Northern Illinois could see between 0.75 and 2 inches, depending on where you are. Continue reading
The new outlooks for March, Spring, and Summer from the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center are out. You can click on any map to see the larger version.
Overview: The NWS says that La Nina conditions continued through January and into early February across the equatorial Pacific Ocean, as indicated by oceanic and atmospheric observations. The CPC/IRI consensus ENSO forecast indicates that La Nina conditions are expected to decay rapidly and transition to ENSO-neutral conditions during Spring. ENSO-neutral conditions are favored to persist through at least the summer.
Parts of Illinois shaded in blue have an increased chance of colder than normal conditions. This is part of a larger area of expected colder conditions that extend from the Midwest westward and is a classic La Nina signal for this region. Current climate conditions do not favor colder or warmer than normal conditions in the rest of Illinois. Current climate conditions do not favor wetter or drier than normal conditions in Illinois in March.
I will have to admit, February is not on my list of favorite months. It’s a good thing it’s only 28 days long. Here is the rundown for the first half of February.
The big story is the snowfall across northern Illinois. Many areas north of Interstate 80 have received between 15 and 20 inches of snow. In fact, Chicago experienced an impressive 9 days in a row with snowfall. A few stations have reported over 20 inches of snow. The largest total that I’ve seen is 24.0 inches at Chicago Heights (IL-CK-296), followed closely by Aurora (COOP) with 23.5 inches, and Somonauk (IL-DK-24) with 22.7 inches. Meanwhile, the snowfall totals dropped precipitously (pun intended) moving southward. Areas south of Springfield have received less than an inch and many locations in southern and southwestern Illinois have reported no snowfall in February.
January in Illinois was colder and drier than normal without much snow.
The statewide average precipitation (rain and water content of snow) was only 1.31 inches, 0.76 inches below normal. The largest precipitation total for the month was 4.07 inches at Rosiclare (Hardin County).
From the viewpoint of climate, January is one of our driest months of the year with an average of only two inches of precipitation. However, we don’t notice it because most of our precipitation falls as snow. It just seems like a lot until you melt it.
Most of the state received 1 to 1.5 inches of precipitation (figure below, left panel) with drier patches in northern and western Illinois, and much of southern Illinois. Overall, most of the state was within an inch of normal (right panel). Click to enlarge.