25th Anniversary of the Great Flood of 1993


Source: https://water.usgs.gov/nwsum/WSP2425/flood.html

The Great Flood of 1993 resulted in $36.3 billion dollars in losses and 48 deaths.  It was considered the 8th worst natural disaster in US history in terms of dollars.  The top six were hurricanes, followed by the 1988 drought/heat wave.  Large regions of the Missouri and Upper Mississippi River basins were impacted by heavy rains from June through August of 1993. The rains were widespread with the largest totals concentrated in Iowa.
I will share some climatic factors of the event.  However, the most important thing to remember is that this was a large, slow-moving human disaster.  I had friends and family in the affected area and it was indeed tough times.  The St. Louis Post Dispatch recently did a story on the 25th Anniversary, showing the extent of the disaster.
In the end, I will try to answer the question – can it happen again?

Climate Factors

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July Slightly Cooler, Drier than Normal

Temperatures: Based on preliminary data, the statewide average temperature was 75.1 degrees, just 0.3 degrees below normal.  Temperatures reached into the upper 90s at several locations in the first half of the month.  One of the warmest readings was 99 degrees at Flora on July 5. A few stations dropped down into the upper 40s at night.  Four locations reported a low of 48 degrees: Mt. Carroll on July 7, Stockton on July 13, Shabbona on July 28, and Avon on July 31.
Here are the day to day temperature departures from normal for Champaign IL and reflect the changes experienced across much of the state.  The hot weather of May and June continued in the first week of July but quickly cooled by July 6.  This was followed by alternating periods of cooler and warmer weather until July 18 when temperatures remained at or below normal. Continue reading “July Slightly Cooler, Drier than Normal”

The Outlook for August and Beyond

First of all, is it really July 19th already?  As a kid I remember summers lasting almost forever, now it seems to last about two weeks.  I feel cheated.
July: So far, the statewide average temperature for July is 77.4 degrees, 1.5 degrees above normal.  The statewide average precipitation is 1.94 inches, 93 percent of normal.  Strangely, the interior of the state is experiencing near to above-normal precipitation while the edges have experienced below-normal precipitation (map below).
NWS Outlooks: The NWS has released their outlooks for August and beyond.  The big news is the possible return of El Niño. While conditions are currently neutral in the Pacific Ocean, the chance for El Niño increases to about 65 percent in the fall, and to about 70 percent during this winter. As a rule of thumb, warmer than normal temperatures are expected in winter during strong El Niño events. Continue reading “The Outlook for August and Beyond”

Warm, Wet June for Illinois

Summary: According to preliminary data, Illinois experienced its 11th warmest and 14th wettest June on record. The statewide average temperature was 75.0 degrees, 3.1 degrees above normal. The statewide average precipitation was 6.36 inches, 2.15 inches above normal.
Precipitation: The greatest monthly total for June in Illinois was 14.58 inches at Rockford (IL-WN-8). In addition, the Rockford Airport reported 14.23 inches, their wettest June and wettest month on record. Based on radar and rain gage data, precipitation was especially heavy across northern, east-central, and southeastern Illinois with widespread amounts in the 10 to 14-inch range. Meanwhile, parts of western and southern Illinois received less than 3 inches of rain.

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