The NWS Climate Prediction Center released their latest outlooks for March, April, and beyond. So far, March has been cooler and drier than normal. The statewide average temperature was 36.8 degrees, which is about a degree below normal, while the statewide average precipitation was 1 inch, about 70% of normal.
Rest of March: there is an increased chance that the rest of March will be both colder and wetter than normal, according to the NWS forecast that extends out to 14 days. Here are the maps for the 8-14 day period. The 6-10 day maps are nearly identical. The expected colder and wetter conditions are widespread across the Midwest.
April: the outlook for April resembles the waning stages of a typical La Niña event. The southern third of Illinois has an increased chance of being warmer and wetter than normal. There are no strong climate signals for the rest of the state. Continue reading
Highlights: Based on preliminary data, the statewide average precipitation (rain and water content of snow) was 5.0 inches for February, 2.9 inches above normal and the wettest February on record. It beat the old record of 4.4 inches set back in 2008. Statewide records go back to 1895. The highest monthly snowfall total for the month was Aurora with 26 inches. The warmest reading was 83 degrees at Belleville on 2/15 while the coldest reading was -16 degrees at Fulton on 2/7.
Below are the precipitation maps for February in Illinois (click to enlarge). The left panel shows the observed precipitation while the right panel shows the departures from normal (1981-2010 average). Areas in the shades of red to purple received 5 to 10 inches of precipitation for the month. That’s about 3 to 8 inches above normal. Areas that received only 3 to 5 inches include far western and northern Illinois and that was still above normal for February. The highest reported monthly total was Streator with 11.45 inches, followed by Cobden with 10.88 inches. Continue reading