Cooler, Wetter Soils in Mid-May

The Illinois State Water Survey put out the following press release today by Dr. Jennie Atkins, the director of our program that measures the soil moisture and soil temperatures in the state …

Cooler, Wetter Soils in Mid-May


Source:   Jennie Atkins, Ph.D. – (217) 333-4966,
Editor:    Lisa Sheppard – (217) 244-7270,

Champaign, Ill.  – Soils were wetter and cooler than average over most of Illinois in mid-May, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) Program manager at the Illinois State Water Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois.

Soils at 4 inches under bare soil averaged 58.1 degrees on May 15, 6.5 degrees below the long-term average.  Temperatures were lower across the state with averages ranging from 54.5 degrees in northern Illinois to 60.9 degrees in the south.  Temperatures were slightly warmer at depths of 2 inches, averaging 58.7 degrees statewide.

Temperatures under sod averaged 59.9 degrees at 4 inches and 59.8 degrees at 8 inches, 2.8 and 2.1 degrees, respectively, below the long-term average.

Soil moisture was higher across the state with levels near or above field capacity over most of the state.  Levels at depths of 2, 4, and 8 inches peaked with the storms at the end of last week and have been slowly declining.  Statewide, levels averaged 0.38 water fraction by volume (wfv) at 2 inches and 0.37 wfv at both 4 and 8 inches.

Soil moisture was highest in southern Illinois, which had a regional average of 0.41 wfv at 2 inches on May 15.  East-central Illinois had the lowest regional average with 0.33 wfv.

Little change was seen at depths of 20 inches and greater.  Soil moisture levels remained higher, averaging 0.40, 0.45, and 0.43 wfv at 20, 39, and 59 inches, respectively.

The Illinois State Water Survey’s WARM Program collects hourly and daily weather and soil information at 19 stations across the state.  Daily and monthly summaries can be found at the WARM website ( and in the Illinois Water and Climate Summary (

The Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a division of the Prairie Research Institute, is the primary agency in Illinois concerned with water and atmospheric resources.

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