Drought Conditions Worsen in Dry February, Illinois State Water Survey

Press Release

For Immediate Release March 7, 2006
Drought Conditions Worsen in Dry February
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

"Preliminary data for Illinois indicate that only 0.90 inches of precipitation fell in February, 1.09 inches below normal or 45 percent of normal. Despite a promising January, winter (December–February) precipitation was 4.86 inches, 1.84 inches below normal or 73 percent of normal. As a result, soil moisture near the surface is below normal across the state except in far southern Illinois," 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.

"The statewide February mean temperature of 31.5 degrees was 1.4 degrees above normal—cooler than January's 39.1 degrees but warmer than December's 26.7 degrees. Usually January is the coldest winter month, and, this is only the 12th time since 1895 that January was warmer than both December and February. The statewide average winter temperature of 32.4 degrees was also the 12th warmest winter on record , 4.3 degrees above normal," says Angel.

Temperature extremes ranged from 71°F at Du Quoin on February 16 to -16°F at Mt. Carroll on February 18. Lawrenceville reported the heaviest one-day precipitation, 1.89 inches on February 17, and Grayville reported the highest monthly total, 3.01 inches.

"We are in worse shape than last year, which had a very wet January, 3.42 inches above normal. Lack of adequate precipitation this winter means that soil moisture, streams, lakes, and groundwater have not yet recharged after last year's drought, making. timely precipitation even more critical this year. The Water Survey will continue to monitor the situation and post updates (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu/hilites/drought/),"concludes Angel.

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