Late December Heavy Rains, Flooding in Illinois

A large, slow-moving low-pressure system moved through the central US, bringing widespread, heavy rains to Illinois and neighboring state. This resulted in considerable flooding ranging from flooded basements to major flooding on the Mississippi River.

Rainfall Maps for December 26-29, 2015

This first map shows the widespread heavy rains from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and Indiana. Areas in the three shades of red represent amounts of 5 to 10 inches. The purple streak from Oklahoma to Missouri represents 10 to 15 inches of rain.

Southern and central Illinois were hardest hit with large areas of 5 to 10 inches of rain, falling on soils that were already saturated. Meanwhile, the northern third of Illinois received 2 to 4 inches of precipitation (rain plus water content of snow), as well as 1 to 4 inches of snow.

map1

This second map zooms in on Illinois, showing the heavy rains across the state more clearly. The lightest shade of red is 5 to 6 inches, the next darker shade is 6 to 8 inches, and the darkest shade of red east of St. Louis and south of Decatur is 8 to 10 inches.

To put this in perspective, the average December precipitation for Illinois ranges from 4.5 inches in southern Illinois to 2 inches in northwest Illinois. So areas in central Illinois, where the average is about 3 inches, received about 3 times that over the course of 4 days.

map2

Flooding

These heavy rains have led to widespread flooding. Here is the NWS map of rivers and streams in various stages of flooding. The purple dots and squares represent areas of major flooding, mostly the Mississippi River from St. Louis southward.

“Major Flooding” means extensive inundation of structures and roads. Significant evacuations of people and property. Red means moderate flooding (some risk of flooding to structures and roads) and tan means minor flooding. 

map3

Here is a NWS river flood forecast at Chester IL on the Mississippi River, showing the impact of the heavy rains upstream. Right now they are expecting a record, or near record, stage at that point of the river.

map4

Rainfall Totals for December 26-29, 2015

Here are some rainfall totals from our volunteer CoCoRaHS network around the state, ranked from highest to lowest, with complete data from December 26-29, 2015. Godfrey IL, near St. Louis, reported the highest 4-day total of 10.03 inches.

 

Station
Number
Station Name Total Precip (inches)
 IL-MD-34 Godfrey 2.5 SSW 10.03
 IL-MD-28 Staunton 4.3 SSW 8.90
 IL-SH-1 Shelbyville 0.5 NE 8.87
 IL-MD-10 Granite City 1.4 ENE 8.57
 IL-EF-13 Effingham 6.7 N 7.61
 IL-CN-3 Pana 6.2 NNE 7.45
 IL-MP-12 Carlinville 1.1 E 7.42
 IL-SC-18 Fairmont City 0.9 ENE 7.05
 IL-MY-1 Nokomis 4.5 NW 6.98
 IL-RH-7 Sparta 1.6 SW 6.74
 IL-CN-7 Taylorville 0.6 ENE 6.73
 IL-DG-12 Camargo 4.5 ESE 6.65
 IL-RH-8 Sparta 1.9 SSW 6.56
 IL-SH-3 Mode 3.7 NW 6.51
 IL-ED-6 Chrisman 3.6 ESE 6.50
 IL-DG-11 Tuscola 0.6 NNE 6.27
 IL-MP-18 Girard 0.1 WSW 6.26
 IL-MA-1 Mount Zion 0.8 ESE 6.22
 IL-CN-4 Edinburg 3.0 W 6.15
 IL-CP-21 Broadlands 0.1 SSW 6.13
 IL-DG-4 Tuscola 0.5 WSW 6.10
 IL-MD-20 Edwardsville 0.9 WSW 6.08
 IL-MD-33 Troy 1.5 SSE 6.04
 IL-WM-4 Bush 2.0 ESE 6.02
 IL-MP-4 Girard 1.2 W 5.97
 IL-SC-11 Centreville 1.9 E 5.87
 IL-WS-3 Okawville 2.3 SW 5.76
 IL-CL-2 Marshall 4.6 W 5.75
 IL-PT-1 Monticello 3.5 NNE 5.72
 IL-CP-14 Philo 0.3 NE 5.68
 IL-SC-9 Belleville 4.5 WNW 5.67
 IL-CP-1 Homer 2.0 N 5.63
 IL-SC-3 Belleville 2.2 SE 5.57
 IL-EF-10 Watson 0.3 NE 5.52
 IL-SC-23 Belleville 2.7 SSE 5.52
 IL-MC-1 Belknap 11.1 ESE 5.45
 IL-JF-4 Mount Vernon 1.3 SW 5.44
 IL-CP-58 Urbana 0.9 SSE 5.43
 IL-VR-19 Danville 7.6 N 5.34
 IL-MG-9 Jacksonville 1.2 SW 5.26
 IL-CP-95 Urbana 4.2 ESE 5.15
 IL-VR-4 Henning 3.4 SSE 5.15
 IL-SG-4 Riverton 1.9 W 5.12
 IL-PT-6 Monticello 6.5 WSW 5.11
 IL-CP-31 St. Joseph 0.9 SSW 5.04
 IL-MG-6 Murrayville 0.4 NE 5.03
 IL-CP-90 Champaign 2.4 S 5.02
 IL-VR-20 Westville 0.6 SSW 4.99
 IL-RC-3 Olney 0.7 E 4.95
 IL-PT-8 White Heath 3.7 NNE 4.94
 IL-VR-14 Danville 0.6 NW 4.94
 IL-CP-37 Sidney 0.9 N 4.93
 IL-CP-59 Mahomet 1.7 NNE 4.92
 IL-CP-92 Mahomet 1.2 S 4.90
 IL-MN-5 Odin 0.5 SSE 4.88
 IL-SG-47 Springfield 6.6 S 4.85
 IL-CP-64 Champaign 2.4 SSE 4.83
 IL-PT-13 Mansfield 3.0 WSW 4.83
 IL-SG-17 Springfield 4.4 W 4.83
 IL-CP-81 Dewey 1.6 NNW 4.75
 IL-LG-36 Lincoln 1.7 W 4.71
 IL-CS-3 Arenzville 5.3 NNE 4.68
 IL-ME-10 Athens 2.4 NNW 4.61
 IL-SG-11 Chatham 1.4 ESE 4.56
 IL-MO-4 Fults 3.7 ENE 4.50
 IL-LG-8 Lincoln 1.4 SE 4.46
 IL-ME-9 Athens 1.0 N 4.46
 IL-LG-13 Lincoln 0.9 NNW 4.38
 IL-LG-22 Lincoln 0.87 SE 4.38
 IL-CK-14 Chicago 5.5 ESE 4.36
 IL-MCL-4 Heyworth 0.6 E 4.35
 IL-MCL-7 Le Roy 4.1 SSW 4.31
 IL-LG-9 Beason 4.0 SW 4.27
 IL-PT-17 Monticello 3.8 NNE 4.25
 IL-VR-17 Hoopeston 0.8 W 4.18
 IL-LG-40 Lincoln 0.4 NE 4.17
 IL-CP-47 Champaign 2.3 NNW 4.15
 IL-FK-5 West Frankfort 0.3 WNW 4.02
 IL-LG-30 Atlanta 7.1 W 4.01
 IL-CP-28 Champaign 1.3 SSW 4.00
 IL-MCL-30 Saybrook 4.3 SSE 3.96
 IL-SG-48 Springfield 2.6 WNW 3.92
 IL-FD-9 Gibson 3.0 WNW 3.86
 IL-CW-3 Hutsonville 0.3 WNW 3.79
 IL-LV-6 Pontiac 1.0 SE 3.71
 IL-GY-2 Dwight 4.1 NNW 3.68
 IL-TZ-26 Pekin 3.6 SSE 3.66
 IL-MCL-23 Normal 1.9 ESE 3.53
 IL-KK-7 Kankakee 4.5 WNW 3.44
 IL-KK-23 Bonfield 4.0 WSW 3.40
 IL-SG-44 Sherman 4.1 N 3.40
 IL-KK-25 Bonfield 4.2 NNE 3.39
 IL-MCL-2 Arrowsmith 1.7 NNE 3.25
 IL-WF-12 Germantown Hills 1.3 NW 3.21
 IL-IR-2 Ashkum 5.6 E 3.19
 IL-LV-7 Chatsworth 0.4 ESE 3.19
 IL-WL-23 Beecher 3.4 SSE 3.15
 IL-CK-145 Oak Park 1.5 S 3.14
 IL-MCL-9 Danvers 1.7 WNW 3.14
 IL-WL-26 Manhattan 0.8 ESE 3.14
 IL-GY-12 Braceville 0.5 SSE 3.12
 IL-WL-131 Homer Glen 0.7 NNE 3.12
 IL-GY-9 Mazon 0.5 ENE 3.10
 IL-CK-82 Burnham-Hegewisch 1.6 NNW 3.09
 IL-PR-9 Dunlap 2.6 S 3.09
 IL-WL-73 Wilmington 2.6 SE 3.09
 IL-WL-20 Manhattan 4.7 ENE 3.00
 IL-CK-152 Chicago Ridge 0.2 WSW 2.99
 IL-CK-206 Park Forest 1.0 SW 2.98
 IL-TZ-14 Morton 1.0 SSE 2.97
 IL-WL-63 New Lenox 1.8 SE 2.96
 IL-CK-154 Worth 0.1 E 2.92
 IL-GY-10 Minooka 0.3 NE 2.88
 IL-WL-118 Elwood 4.6 NE 2.84
 IL-GY-1 Carbon Hill 3.1 N 2.83
 IL-WL-97 New Lenox 3.3 E 2.83
 IL-WL-99 Manhattan 1.9 SE 2.83
 IL-GY-21 Coal City 2.8 N 2.82
 IL-MCD-7 Colchester 3.5 NE 2.80
 IL-CK-253 Midlothian 0.1 SSE 2.79
 IL-WL-67 Channahon 2.5 SSE 2.75
 IL-DP-79 Burr Ridge 1.9 SW 2.73
 IL-LS-33 Streator 3.7 ENE 2.73
 IL-WL-16 Homer Glen 0.8 ENE 2.73
 IL-WL-25 Crete 2.6 E 2.72
 IL-HN-1 Dallas City 3.0 SSE 2.71
 IL-KK-26 Kankakee 3.2 SE 2.70
 IL-GY-16 Morris 6.4 ESE 2.68
 IL-LS-1 Ottawa 1.3 NW 2.65
 IL-CK-50 Palos Park 1.3 SW 2.64
 IL-CK-153 Alsip 0.2 E 2.64
 IL-WL-71 Plainfield 1.1 SW 2.62
 IL-CK-196 Harwood Heights 1.9 NNE 2.61
 IL-CK-211 Oak Lawn 1.6 WNW 2.60
 IL-LS-17 Ottawa 1.6 N 2.58
 IL-CR-4 Chadwick 2.7 WSW 2.56
 IL-DP-127 Downers Grove 0.4 NNE 2.55
 IL-WL-100 Joliet 2.9 WNW 2.54
 IL-CK-180 Park Ridge 0.5 SSW 2.50
 IL-DP-85 Villa Park 1.0 NW 2.50
 IL-KD-24 Oswego 5.0 SSE 2.50
 IL-WL-119 Homer Glen 1.6 NW 2.50
 IL-WL-80 Lockport 1.3 SE 2.48
 IL-CK-106 Hoffman Estates 4.6 W 2.45
 IL-LK-42 Gurnee 1.6 W 2.44
 IL-CK-61 Oak Park 1.0 SW 2.42
 IL-DP-57 Aurora 3.5 NE 2.42
 IL-CK-232 Rogers Park 0.6 ESE 2.40
 IL-CK-98 La Grange Park 0.7 SSW 2.37
 IL-DP-102 Bolingbrook 2.7 NE 2.34
 IL-DP-32 Lisle 1.3 SE 2.32
 IL-LS-7 Sheridan 3.4 SSE 2.32
 IL-LS-56 Ottawa 0.4 N 2.32
 IL-DP-77 Roselle 1.1 W 2.31
 IL-GY-20 Morris 2.5 SSE 2.30
 IL-KN-62 Batavia 1.3 WNW 2.29
 IL-KX-9 Knoxville 0.7 NW 2.29
 IL-GY-11 Morris 4.8 NNW 2.27
 IL-LS-57 Mendota 0.4 ENE 2.26
 IL-CK-75 Elk Grove Village 2.2 WSW 2.25
 IL-CK-149 Oak Lawn 0.5 SSW 2.25
 IL-LE-8 Ashton 0.4 SSW 2.22
 IL-DP-132 Wheaton 2.0 NNE 2.19
 IL-HD-1 Stronghurst 0.4 SSW 2.19
 IL-CK-94 Lincolnwood 1.8 E 2.18
 IL-BU-8 Tiskilwa 2.1 N 2.16
 IL-LK-8 Gurnee 2.5 NE 2.15
 IL-LK-22 Lake Forest 2.1 NNE 2.15
 IL-DP-109 Elmhurst 0.8 ESE 2.14
 IL-KN-51 Sugar Grove 1.4 ENE 2.14
 IL-DP-75 Naperville 1.1 NW 2.13
 IL-LS-34 La Salle 0.1 W 2.11
 IL-KN-4 Sugar Grove 0.7 NE 2.10
 IL-CK-63 Elk Grove Village 0.6 ESE 2.09
 IL-DP-101 Aurora 3.8 SE 2.09
 IL-KD-34 Plainfield 4.8 SW 2.09
 IL-LK-39 Riverwoods 0.4 ENE 2.09
 IL-DP-40 Lombard 1.0 NNW 2.08
 IL-KN-33 North Aurora 1.5 NE 2.08
 IL-LK-69 Highwood 0.9 S 2.06
 IL-KN-63 Geneva 1.7 WSW 2.04
 IL-DP-100 Bartlett 1.1 SE 2.00
 IL-WL-46 Peotone 0.4 ENE 1.99
 IL-LS-11 Mendota 0.9 N 1.98
 IL-DK-24 Somonauk 1.9 NE 1.95
 IL-LK-16 Buffalo Grove 1.5 N 1.95
 IL-DP-16 Aurora 3.6 SE 1.94
 IL-WN-26 Rockford 1.5 ENE 1.92
 IL-KN-23 Batavia 1.5 WNW 1.91
 IL-KN-30 Elburn 0.4 NW 1.90
 IL-KN-64 St. Charles 0.1 E 1.84
 IL-KN-9 Elgin 1.0 S 1.82
 IL-WN-8 Rockford 0.7 NW 1.82
 IL-BN-14 Capron 0.1 N 1.78
 IL-KN-110 Elgin 1.9 NE 1.78
 IL-LE-21 Dixon 5.2 WSW 1.74
 IL-LK-3 Beach Park 1.4 W 1.69
 IL-MCH-43 Algonquin 0.7 N 1.69
 IL-MCH-30 Wonder Lake 0.8 WNW 1.66
 IL-LK-81 Lake Villa 2.3 WSW 1.63
 IL-CK-131 Schaumburg 2.0 E 1.62
 IL-KN-95 Elgin 2.5 W 1.53
 IL-WN-3 Machesney Park 3.1 ENE 1.51
 IL-CR-12 Mount Carroll 6.8 NNW 1.47
 IL-RI-13 Moline 0.7 NNE 1.44
 IL-WN-2 Roscoe 1.6 ESE 1.44
 IL-SP-6 Freeport 2.0 NW 1.43
 IL-RI-3 Moline 0.9 N 1.41
 IL-CK-192 Park Ridge 0.7 WNW 1.38
 IL-SP-7 Davis 0.5 N 1.38
 IL-LE-17 Dixon 1.5 SW 1.32
 IL-OG-4 Byron 3.2 N 1.23
 IL-CR-13 Shannon 0.2 S 1.22
 IL-MCH-66 Harvard 2.8 SSE 1.02
 IL-CK-36 Chicago 4.7 NE 1.01
 IL-SP-8 Winslow 4.3 ESE 0.77
 IL-LE-14 Amboy 0.5 ESE 0.17
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Heavy Rains Hit Illinois

A large, slow-moving winter storm has dropped considerable rainfall across Illinois in the last few days. Here is the map of the amounts in the last 7 days, through this morning (12/28). Areas in shades of red are 5 to 8 inches, and follow Interstate 70 across Illinois. Areas in shades of yellow to light brown are 2 to 5 inches. I’ll post more when the rain finally ends.

AHPS Precipitation Analysis

And it’s still raining. There is the potential for another 0.75 to 1.25 inches expected in southern and central Illinois. Another 1.25 to 1.75 inches is expected in parts of northern and western Illinois before this system moves on.

Is this El Niño?

Continue reading

Response to Damaging Rains in Illinois: Monthly Rainfall Totals for Over 500 Sites

IMG_0631-smallerRecently, Illinois officials have sought a federal disaster declaration from USDA in response to the heavy rainfall and damaging flooding across Illinois during May, June, and July of 2015. Update August 12: all but one county in Illinois is eligible for federal agricultural disaster loans due to excess rain according to news reports.  

In response I have used resources here at the Illinois State Water Survey to set up data files with monthly rainfall and departures from normal (when available) for over 500 sites in Illinois to aid in identifying locations with potential problems.

Data and products in this effort are from the NWS Cooperative Observer Network, CoCoRaHS Volunteer Network, the Midwestern Regional Climate Center, and Illinois State Water Survey.

Most of Corn Belt Soaked in July

Here is the latest radar/raingauge estimated rainfall totals for July across the Midwest through this morning.

Much of the Corn Belt has been extremely wet. Heavy rains amounts of 5 to 10 inches are found across Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, southern Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky for July. Even portions of the Plains states received 2 to 5 inches of rain, which is well above their typically dry July.

For Illinois, amounts of 5 to 10 inches are found between East St. Louis, Moline, and eastward, as well as south of Carbondale and parts of northeast Illinois. Most of the rest of the state has received 2 to 5 inches. There are even a few small areas with less than 2 inches of rain in southern Illinois and the northwest corner.

July Rainfall. Click to enlarge.
July Rainfall. Click to enlarge. Areas shaded in red and purple have between 5 and 10 inches of rain. Areas in yellow and orange are 2 to 5 inches, and areas in green are less than 2 inches.

Continue reading

Agricultural Impact of the Wet Growing Season in Illinois

Here is the precipitation across Illinois for past 90 days as a percent of average. Click to enlarge.
Here is the precipitation across Illinois for past 90 days as a percent of average. Click to enlarge.

After a record-setting June, as well as a wet May beforehand and a wet July so far, we are seeing the agricultural impacts of the wet growing season. Right now, the state-wide July precipitation in Illinois is at 3.1 inches. That is about 50% above the long-term average for this time in the month.

According to the USDA report yesterday, only 96% of the soybean crop in Illinois has been planted.

Meanwhile, the corn and soybeans already in the ground have struggled. For corn, 5% of the crop was rated “very poor” and another 11% rated “poor”. For soybeans, 7% of the crop was rated “very poor” and another 13% rated “poor”.

According to the National Weather Service, the potential for heavy rainfall remains – especially in northern Illinois. Rainfall amounts over the next 7 days could range between 1 to 3 inches in northern Illinois, 0.25 to 1 inch in central Illinois, and 0.25 inches or less in southern Illinois. Local amounts could vary widely from place to place due to the nature of the storms.

p168i
Click to enlarge.

2015 Versus 1993 in the Midwest

I have had several people say that all this summer feels like 1993. If you compare 2015 with 1993 in the maps below for June 1 – July 13, you can see that in 2015 the heavy rains were more concentrated in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana (shades of light blue and pink, indicating between 12.5 and 20 inches of rain). In fact, Illinois has been wetter in 2015 than in 1993 during the last 6 weeks.

The rains of 2015 have lead to moderate to major flooding on the Illinois River, as well as moderate flooding on the Mississippi River from Quincy southward according to the National Weather Service.

On the other hand, in 1993 the heaviest rains were shifted northward and westward (second map) and Missouri and Iowa took the brunt of the heavy rains. That northward and westward shift in the heavy rains resulted in major flooding impacts on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.  Continue reading

Cool Start to August with Rain in Southern and Western Illinois

The statewide average temperature for August so far is 72 degrees, 2 degrees below average. This follows on the heels of the cool July. The NWS forecast show that the mild temperatures will continue this upcoming week with highs in the upper 70s and low 80s in northern Illinois to the low to mid 80s in central and southern Illinois. The 6-10 and 8-14 day forecasts that extend out to August 21 point towards a continuation of cooler-than-average conditions.

All in all, it should be great weather for the Illinois State Fair. I can remember many years of the State Fair being hot and humid with your choice of either dust or mud. It’s a wonder the butter cow did not melt.

The map of observed precipitation below from the NWS shows that rainfall has been widespread and fairly heavy in western and southern Illinois with amounts ranging from 1 inch (green) to 5 inches (red). It is lighter and more variable in northern and eastern Illinois, ranging from 0.1 inches (light blue) to 2 inches (dark green). Much of that heavy rain to the east of St. Louis fell in a part of Illinois that was dry in July.

august-mpe