Above-Average Temperatures Expected to Continue through Fall

The NWS released their latest forecasts for May and beyond. Currently, the Pacific Ocean is in the neutral phase between La Niña and El Niño. There is much debate on if and when El Niño should return. It could happen in late summer.  Meanwhile, the theme running through the outlooks is the increased risk of above-average temperatures through the fall. Illinois has been running warmer than average in the last few years. In 2016, 10 out of 12 months were above-average. So far, every month in 2017 has been above-average.

  • January 2017: 5.7 degrees above average
  • February 2017: 10.1 degrees above average
  • March 2017: 1.9 degrees above average
  • April 1-19, 2017: 6.5 degrees above average

May: eastern portions of Illinois have a slightly increased chance of being warmer than average. I am going out a little farther on the limb and say that all of Illinois has an increased chance of being warmer than average, based on recent trends and the climate models. Meanwhile, most of Illinois and the Great Lakes are expected to have an increased chance of below-average precipitation. Click to enlarge maps. Continue reading

April Showers Bring May Flowers?

The first part of April has been warmer and wetter than average across much of Illinois and the Midwest. As these maps show, there is a wide band of 1 to 3 inches of rain stretching from Kansas, through Missouri, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio (click to enlarge) in April. These rains have helped ease concerns of any developing drought after the dry winter. In fact, the concerns have reversed and center around delays in field work from wet conditions. Continue reading

March in Illinois – Lots of Snow and Rain

March Temperatures: The statewide average temperature for March was 42.3 degrees, 1 degree above normal. Temperatures swung from periods several degrees above normal and several degrees below normal with little time in-between. Several sites reported temperatures reaching into the 80s. The warmest daily report was Belleville with 86 degrees on March 21. Chicago Midway reported a high of 82 degrees on March 24. Meanwhile, the coldest temperatures of the month were experienced in the northwest quarter of the state, including Altona and Illinois City with a low of 6 degrees on March 25.

March Precipitation: The statewide precipitation was 3.62 inches, 0.66 inches above normal. The highest monthly total precipitation was Lockport with 7.22 inches. Precipitation was greatest in a wide band from Quincy to Chicago with amounts between 3 to 6 inches, which is 1 to 3 inches above normal. The driest area was in southeastern Illinois with only 1 to 2 inches, which is 1 to 2 inches below normal. Click on the maps below for a closer view. Continue reading

Some Rain, Low Streams in Illinois

7-Day Rainfall (NWS)

Here are the 7-day totals for the central US, capturing the rainfall over the weekend. As forecasted, the heaviest rains were in Missouri and along the IL/MO border. Shades of green represent 0.5 to 2.0 inches.Most of IA, MI, IN, and OH received moderate amounts of rain from this system. However, large parts of Illinois received less than 0.5 inches (shaded in blue).

map1

Streamflows (USGS)

Continue reading

Outlook for Spring – Warm

Notwithstanding this week, the outlook for this spring is warm. The Climate Prediction Center released their outlook on Thursday for April and beyond. Right now both El Niño and La Niña are out of the picture. However, there is much uncertainty for future conditions in the Pacific. Some models suggest that El Niño may return by late summer. As we move forward, we should get a clearer idea about El Niño.

April

For April, Illinois and much of the Midwest have an increased chance of above normal temperatures. Illinois has equal chances “EC” of above, below, or near-normal precipitation. I call EC a neutral forecast.

April – June

Continue reading

What! More Snow in March Than February?

Some places in Illinois have been snowier in March than April. About the only noteworthy snowfall of February occurred in a band from Peoria to Hoopeston. So far in March, snow has pushed farther south, all the way to the Ohio River. At the same time, areas in northern Illinois have received substantially more snow in March than February. For example, Chicago O’Hare reported only a trace of snow in February and 7.8 inches of snow in March through this morning.

Continue reading

Is the Drought Monitor Crying Wolf in Illinois?

The latest US Drought Monitor map shows moderate drought in western and southwestern Illinois, based primarily on below-normal precipitation over the past three months. Are we in moderate drought? I  think it’s premature to declare drought in Illinois.

While it has been dry this winter, the demand on water supplies and soil moisture are very low in winter. In an average winter, we have more than enough water to satisfy demand – in many cases too much water. As a result of low water demand, the impacts of below-normal precipitation on water supplies, navigation, and agriculture are harder to find in winter.

Continue reading