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home : news : state news free February 5, 2016

   
1/3/2013 1:28:00 PM
2012: 2nd warmest, 10th driest year in Ill.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The year 2012 will long be remembered for the drought and the exceptionally warm temperatures. While the data for December are still preliminary, 2012 was the second warmest and tenth driest year on record for Illinois, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois.

The statewide average temperature for 2012 was 55.5 degrees, 3.3 degrees above normal and the second warmest year on record for Illinois. The warmest year was 1921 with 55.6 degrees. It was the much warmer than normal temperatures in January–May, July, and December that caused 2012 to be ranked so highly.

The statewide average precipitation for 2012 was 30.4 inches, 9.8 inches below normal and the 10th driest year on record in Illinois. Much of the shortfall was the result of significantly below-normal precipitation in May–July and November.

December was mild with the statewide average of 35.8 degree, 5.9 degrees above normal and the 13th warmest December on record. The statewide average precipitation was 2.3 inches, just 0.4 inches below normal.

“Winter is our driest time of year in Illinois,” Angel said. “The normal precipitation for January and February is just over 2 inches for each month. Even March is not much wetter at 3 inches. That adds up to 7 inches for those three months combined. It would take more than double of that amount to erase the deficits accumulated in 2012.”

The Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a division of the Prairie Research Institute, is the primary agency in Illinois concerned with water and atmospheric resources.

Despite getting some big storms last month, much of the U.S. is still desperate for relief from the nation’s longest dry spell in decades. And experts say it will take an absurd amount of snow to ease the woes of farmers and ranchers.

The same fears haunt firefighters, water utilities and many communities across the country.

Climatologists say it would take at least 8 feet of snow — and likely far more — to return the soil to its pre-drought condition in time for spring planting. A foot of snow is roughly equal to an inch of water, depending on density.


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