Illinois State Water Survey - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

State Climatologist Office for Illinois

Third wettest January-May on record for Illinois

Dr. Jim Angel, state climatologist

Press release issued June 9, 2008.

For the fifth time this year, the monthly statewide precipitation has been above average, resulting in the third wettest January-May since 1895, according to State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (, a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The statewide May precipitation was 5.8 inches, 1.5 inches above average, and the 20th wettest May on record. Combined with above average precipitation since the start of 2008, the January-May total is 22.2 inches and 7 inches above average. Only 1898 and 1927 were wetter with 23.1 and 22.4 inches of precipitation, respectively.

In recent times, only 1990 started out the year with comparable precipitation with 20.4 inches.

More rain fell in the first eight days of June, especially in central Illinois. Rainfall totals ranged from 1 to 3 inches in southern Illinois, 3 to 10 inches in central Illinois, and 1 to 3 inches in northern Illinois. Newman (Douglas County) reported 10.32 inches since June 1, the highest in the state. Average June rainfall is around 4 inches in central Illinois, so many stations have already reached or exceeded that threshold.

Not surprisingly, all the heavy rains have led to saturated soils and water standing in many fields. The State Water Survey sampled soil moisture from 19 sites around the state on June 1 and found that levels in the top 6 inches were between 25 and 75 percent above average for this time of year.

Meanwhile, May statewide temperatures averaged 59 degrees, 4 degrees below average. This continued a pattern of below-average temperatures since February. As a result, this was the 18th coolest February-May on record at 44 degrees, 3 degrees below average.

The National Weather Service forecast indicates that temperatures are expected to be above average across Illinois for the next 10 days, while precipitation is expected to remain above average across central and northern Illinois and near-normal in southern Illinois.

"Many areas will likely continue to struggle with too much water in rivers and streams as well as in the fields," concludes Angel.

Illinois State Water Survey

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Champaign, IL 61820-7463

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