Template, Illinois State Water Survey

Press Release

For Immediate Release November 9, 2004
7th Wettest October Follows 4th Driest September
Jim Angel - (217) 333-0729, Fax: (217) 244-0220, jimangel@illinois.edu
Eva Kingston - (217) 244-7270, Fax: (217) 333-6540, eva@sws.uiuc.edu

“Illinois has just had the 7th wettest October on the heels of the 4th driest September on record since 1895,” says State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Soil moisture statewide recovered rapidly after 6.10 inches of rainfall, 2.18 inches above normal for October, and up considerably from the 0.86-inch average in September. While the increased soil moisture is good news for next spring’s crops, it has delayed fieldwork this fall.

The average statewide temperature for October was 55°F, just 0.4 degrees above the norm. Extremes ranged from 24°F at Congerville (central Illinois) on October 5 to 87°F at Carbondale (southern Illinois) on October 8. Central Illinois had the highest one-day precipitation total (3.29 inches at Newton on October 19) and also the highest monthly total (7.99 inches at Robinson).

Tornadoes returned to southern Illinois on October 18. There were reports of two injuries and damaged farm buildings and mobile homes after a tornado touched down near Goreville. A second tornado near Tunnel Hill caused similar damage but no injuries. The National Weather Service rated both tornadoes as F2 on the Fujita scale, a measure of tornado intensity with F5 being the most damaging tornado. Unofficially, this brings the number of tornadoes reported in Illinois for 2004 to 67, much lower than last year’s record number of 120. “Although April–June is the typical tornado season in Illinois, tornadoes actually occur in all months of the year,” says Angel.

The National Weather Service is calling for a drier-than-normal winter in Illinois with an even chance of temperatures above normal, normal, or below normal. Regionally, Illinois is sandwiched between increased chances of temperatures above normal to the west and below normal to the southeast. “Such patterns are typical of past, weak El Niño events in the Pacific Ocean,” concludes Angel.

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