Illinois Ranked Fourth in Nation in Number of Tornado Reports in 2015

According to the NOAA Storm Prediction Center, Illinois is ranked fourth in the nation for the number of tornado reports in 2015. Here are the top five states:

  1. Texas with 164 reports
  2. Kansas with 150 reports
  3. Oklahoma with 100 reports
  4. Illinois with 64 reports
  5. Colorado with 48 reports
April 9, 2015. Click to enlarge.
April 9, 2015. Click to enlarge.

The most outstanding event for 2015 was the April 9 outbreak that produced 11 tornadoes, including a rare EF-4 tornado. The map on the left shows all the severe weather reports for that day. More on this outbreak can be found here.

The map below is for all the tornado reports across the US in 2015. Many of the Illinois tornadoes occurred in far northern and far southern Illinois this year, while central Illinois has been relatively quiet. Continue reading “Illinois Ranked Fourth in Nation in Number of Tornado Reports in 2015”

Most of Corn Belt Soaked in July

Here is the latest radar/raingauge estimated rainfall totals for July across the Midwest through this morning.

Much of the Corn Belt has been extremely wet. Heavy rains amounts of 5 to 10 inches are found across Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, southern Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky for July. Even portions of the Plains states received 2 to 5 inches of rain, which is well above their typically dry July.

For Illinois, amounts of 5 to 10 inches are found between East St. Louis, Moline, and eastward, as well as south of Carbondale and parts of northeast Illinois. Most of the rest of the state has received 2 to 5 inches. There are even a few small areas with less than 2 inches of rain in southern Illinois and the northwest corner.

July Rainfall. Click to enlarge.
July Rainfall. Click to enlarge. Areas shaded in red and purple have between 5 and 10 inches of rain. Areas in yellow and orange are 2 to 5 inches, and areas in green are less than 2 inches.

Continue reading “Most of Corn Belt Soaked in July”

Illinois – Coolest Place to Live in 2014?

Illinois was one of the coolest places to live in 2014, at least in terms of temperature, according to the recent annual report released by the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). In the map below, the areas in blue show areas where the temperatures were much colder than average for the central US and eastern Canada, while the West and Alaska were much warmer than average (areas in red).

Click to enlarge.
Temperature departures from the 1981-2010 average. Blue means colder than average while red means warmer than average. Click to enlarge.

According to the latest figures, the average temperature for Illinois in 2014 was 49.5 degrees, 2.7 degrees below the 1981-2010 average, and the 6th coolest year on record for Illinois.

Continue reading “Illinois – Coolest Place to Live in 2014?”

Cool and Wet Forecast for August in Illinois

The forecasts for August and the three-month period of August-October show most of Illinois with an increased chance of being cooler and wetter than average.

A significant El Niño event has developed in the Pacific Ocean and has a 90% chance of remaining throughout 2015 and an 80% chance of remaining until next spring. This is expected to have significant impacts on the weather in the US.

El Niño events occur when the waters in the eastern Pacific along the equator are warmer than usual. This changes the weather patterns over the Pacific and US.


Continue reading “Cool and Wet Forecast for August in Illinois”

Agricultural Impact of the Wet Growing Season in Illinois

Here is the precipitation across Illinois for past 90 days as a percent of average. Click to enlarge.
Here is the precipitation across Illinois for past 90 days as a percent of average. Click to enlarge.

After a record-setting June, as well as a wet May beforehand and a wet July so far, we are seeing the agricultural impacts of the wet growing season. Right now, the state-wide July precipitation in Illinois is at 3.1 inches. That is about 50% above the long-term average for this time in the month.

According to the USDA report yesterday, only 96% of the soybean crop in Illinois has been planted.

Meanwhile, the corn and soybeans already in the ground have struggled. For corn, 5% of the crop was rated “very poor” and another 11% rated “poor”. For soybeans, 7% of the crop was rated “very poor” and another 13% rated “poor”.

According to the National Weather Service, the potential for heavy rainfall remains – especially in northern Illinois. Rainfall amounts over the next 7 days could range between 1 to 3 inches in northern Illinois, 0.25 to 1 inch in central Illinois, and 0.25 inches or less in southern Illinois. Local amounts could vary widely from place to place due to the nature of the storms.

Click to enlarge.

2015 Versus 1993 in the Midwest

I have had several people say that all this summer feels like 1993. If you compare 2015 with 1993 in the maps below for June 1 – July 13, you can see that in 2015 the heavy rains were more concentrated in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana (shades of light blue and pink, indicating between 12.5 and 20 inches of rain). In fact, Illinois has been wetter in 2015 than in 1993 during the last 6 weeks.

The rains of 2015 have lead to moderate to major flooding on the Illinois River, as well as moderate flooding on the Mississippi River from Quincy southward according to the National Weather Service.

On the other hand, in 1993 the heaviest rains were shifted northward and westward (second map) and Missouri and Iowa took the brunt of the heavy rains. That northward and westward shift in the heavy rains resulted in major flooding impacts on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.  Continue reading “2015 Versus 1993 in the Midwest”

Illinois Was the Wettest State in the US in June

The National Centers for Environmental Information (formerly NCDC) released their numbers for June, showing that Illinois did indeed have its wettest June on record with 9.30 inches (according to their calculations). That made Illinois the wettest state** in the US for the month.

Here are the national maps showing the statewide precipitation values for June 2015. While Illinois received 9.3 inches of precipitation, California received only 0.23 inches – an amount 40 times less than Illinois.

Click to enlarge. Source National Centers for Environmental Information.

Continue reading “Illinois Was the Wettest State in the US in June”

NWS Outlook for July – Cooler and Wetter in Illinois

Illinois has an increased chance of below-average temperatures and above-average precipitation in July, according to the outlook released by the NWS Climate Prediction Center earlier this week.

The July precipitation forecast is amazing for showing such a large area with an increased chance of above-average precipitation. The odds are especially high in southern Illinois. This does not necessarily mean that July will be record-breaking like June, just wetter than average.

Precipitation forecast for July. Click to enlarge.

The July temperature forecast shows a large area across the central US with an increased chance of below-average temperatures. Historically, it is not unusual in Illinois for wet conditions in May and June to lead to cooler temperatures in July. The wet soils keeps the air temperatures cooler. At least that’s the theory.

Temperature forecast for July. Click to enlarge.

Wettest June on Record for Illinois

Record-breaking June

Flooded cornfield near Champaign, IL, in June 2015. Click to enlarge. Photo: Jim Angel.

The statewide average precipitation for June 2015 in Illinois was 9.53 inches, based on available data through June 30. That is 5.33 inches above the average June precipitation, and the wettest June on record for Illinois.

Here are the top ten wettest June totals. Note that 7 out of the 10 wettest June totals have occurred since 1993.

  1. 2o15 with 9.53 inches
  2. 1902 with 8.27 inches
  3. 2010 with 7.71 inches
  4. 1998 with 7.64 inches
  5. 2000 with 7.34 inches
  6. 1928 with 6.93 inches
  7. 1993 with 6.85 inches
  8. 1924 with 6.80 inches
  9. 2014 with 6.77 inches
  10. 2011 with 6.69  inches

Continue reading “Wettest June on Record for Illinois”