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Publication Abstract

The Severe Winter of 1981-1982 in Illinois Hilberg, Steven D., Peter G. Vinzani, and Stanley A. Changnon, Jr., 1983  Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, IL,  ISWS RI-104    Full Text Available

The winter of 1981-1982 was Illinois' fourth severe winter in six years and the second most severe on record. Eighteen severe winter storms equalled the record number set in the winter of 1977-1978. The winter was unusually long, lasting from late November through early April. This report examines the climatology of the winter in regard to storm characteristics, snowfall, and temperature and contains a general synoptic analysis of each storm. Mean upper atmospheric circulation patterns of this and three previous severe winters are compared. Impacts of the severe storms and the winter in general are discussed in terms of transportation, utilities, public health, government, agriculture, and the environment. The winter of 1981-1982 had the greatest impact in central and southern Illinois. Up to 20 inches of snow and blizzard-like conditions in south central Illinois during the storm of 29-31 January led to it being classified as the most damaging of the winter. The storms and cold of the winter were responsible for 34 deaths and at least 550 injuries statewide. Transportation and energy usage and costs were most affected by the winter weather. Serious agricultural damage resulted from the severe cold, and both the snow and cold had detrimental effects on wildlife.

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