Illinois Soil Temperatures – Then and Now

You can find 4 and 8-inch soil temperatures for Illinois on the Water Survey’s web site at www.isws.illinois.edu/warm/soiltemp.asp. These data are from a network of 19 sites around Illinois that is maintained by the Survey.
Below are the maps of what the 4-inch soil temperatures looked like on Wednesday and a year ago on the same date. This year the soil temperatures are barely above freezing in northern Illinois and barely above 40 degrees in southern Illinois. On the same date in 2012, the 4-inch soil temperatures were in the upper 50s and lower 60s across the state.
map13
map12

Cold March

I dropped my car off at the shop for some brake work this morning here in Champaign and decided to walk to work. The air temperature was 21 degrees and the wind chill was 4 degrees. That was an uncomfortable stroll even with a winter coat, hat, and gloves. A year ago this morning (March 20, 2012), the air temperature was 63 degrees and well on its way up to a high of 82 degrees, a record high for this date.
So far this year, the statewide March temperature is 33.3 degrees. A year ago through this date, the statewide temperature was 51.1 degrees. That’s a whopping 17.8 degree difference. March went on to become the warmest March on record at 55.3 degrees, 14.2 degrees above the long-term average monthly March temperature of 41.1 degrees.
The rest of March does not look promising. The 1-5 day forecast shows temperature 10 to 14 degrees below average for Illinois. The 6-10 and 8-14 day forecast show widespread cold weather across Illinois and the central US. Figures below.
The long-term average temperatures for March were calculated from the 1981-2010 period.
95Awbg
610temp.new
814temp.new

Frost on the Pumpkin in Illinois

Here are the median dates of the first time we hit 32 degrees in the fall. Since we don’t have reports of when frost occurs, we use 32 degrees as a proxy. It is no surprise that the frost date occurs earlier in northern Illinois than southern Illinois.
If you look closely, you may see differences of several days between neighboring sites. Nighttime temperatures, especially on calm, clear nights in the fall, can be very sensitive to the local conditions. Sites in town tend to be a little warmer than those in the countryside, and result in delaying the arrival of colder temperatures.
Chilly temperatures have already visited the northern part of the state this weekend. Mt. Carroll reported a low of 29 on September 23 and Elizabeth reported a low of 28 on September 24.
You can read more about frost and see many more maps on the state climatologist’s frost webpage.

Median date of first fall frost. Click to enlarge.

Lows for the Morning of April 11

After the record warmth in March left plants vulnerable to freezing temperatures, and with the average dates of the last freeze in mid April for most of Illinois, we were destined to get some damaging cold weather.
Here are the low temperatures reported for this morning from around the state (April 11):

Station Low
PAW PAW 23
MT CARROLL 24
WATSEKA 2 NW 24
NORMAL 4NE 25
MONMOUTH 4 NW 25
ALTONA 25
LISLE-MORTON ARBORETUM 25
LA HARPE 26
SULLIVAN 26
PRINCEVILLE 2W 26
MARSEILLES LOCK 26
GALENA 26
DWIGHT 26
NEOGA 4NW 26
PARIS WTR WKS 27
TUSCOLA 27
GALESBURG 27
DE KALB 27
MCHENRY STRATTON L&D 27
ELIZABETH 27
PERRY 6 NW 27
MUNDELEIN 4 WSW 27
PRAIRIE CITY 2S 27
EFFINGHAM 27
CARLINVILLE 28
MINONK 28
PONTIAC 28
WINDSOR 28
RAMSEY 28
MORRISONVILLE 28
BENTLEY 28
MORRIS 28
BARRINGTON 3 SW 28
FREEPORT WWP 28
BLOOMINGTON 5W 28
ROBINSON 28
ROCHELLE 28
ELGIN 28
ALEDO 29
OTTAWA 29
PANA 29
RUSHVILLE 29
KEWANEE 1 E 29
CHICAGO BOTANICAL GARDEN 29
WINCHESTER 29
OGDEN 29
SPRINGFIELD #2 29
AURORA 30
OLNEY 2S 30
SPARTA 30
PARK FOREST 30
JOLIET BRANDON RD DM 30
FISHER 30
GRIGGSVILLE 31
KANKAKEE METRO WWTP 31
IUKA 31
CHICAGO MIDWAY AP 3 SW 31
JACKSONVILLE 2 E 32
JERSEYVILLE 2 SW 32
PITTSFIELD #2 32
JACKSONVILLE 2 32
STREATOR 32
MT VERNON 3 NE 32
WHITE HALL 1 E 33
GLADSTONE DAM 18 33
NEW BOSTON DAM 17 33
CHANNAHON DRESDEN ISLAND 33
ILLINOIS CITY DAM 16 33
LAWRENCEVILLE 33
LEBANON 33
FLORA 33
SALEM 33
BIRDS 2E 33
NASHVILLE 1 E 36
QUINCY DAM 21 36
BROOKPORT DAM 52 37
SMITHLAND L&D 37
KASKASKIA RIV NAV LO 37
GRAND CHAIN DAM 53 40
CAIRO 3 N 42

Cold In Alaska

While Illinois enjoys a relatively mild winter, things are far different in Alaska. A colleague alerted me to these reports coming out of Alaska. I don’t know which is more impressive: the nighttime lows or the daytime highs.

REGIONAL TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION ROUNDUP
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FAIRBANKS AK
958 PM AKST SUN JAN 29 2012
 ALL VALUES ARE FOR 18 HOURS BETWEEN 3AM AND 9PM ALASKA
 LOCAL TIME TODAY
:
 SNOWFALL AND SNOW DEPTH DATA AVAILABLE ONLY AT AUGMENTED
 SITES
 PRECIPITATION DATA RELIABLE DURING THE WINTER ONLY AT
 AUGMENTED SITES
.B PAFG 0129 Z DH18/TXL/TNL/PPL/SF/SD
:
: ID           STATION            HI    LO    PCPN   SNOW SNOW
:                                                    FALL DEPTH
PAFA  : FAIRBANKS AIRPORT      : -38 / -51 /  0.01 /     /
PAEI  : EIELSON AFB            : -36 / -52 /    T  /     /
PANN  : NENANA                 : -26 / -54 /  0.00 /     /
PAMH  : MINCHUMINA             : -33 / -53 /       /     /
PAIN  : DENALI PARK            : -24 / -49 /       /     /
PABI  : DELTA JUNCTION         : -21 / -50 /  0.00 /     /
PAOR  : NORTHWAY AIRPORT       : -27 / -48 /    T  /     /   15
PAEG  : EAGLE                  :     /     /  0.00 /     /
PFYU  : FORT YUKON             : -51 / -62 /       /     /
PARC  : ARCTIC VILLAGE         : -42 / -54 /       /     /
PABT  : BETTLES                : -37 / -59 /  0.00 /     /   32
PAHL  : HUSLIA                 : -45 / -60 /       /     /
PAGA  : GALENA                 : -49 / -59 /    T  /     /
PAKV  : KALTAG                 : -44 / -56 /    T  /     /
PAMC  : MCGRATH                : -24 / -49 /  0.00 /     /   35
PAFS  : NIKOLAI                : -26 / -49 /    T  /     /
PANV  : ANVIK                  : -24 / -27 /       /     /
PAHC  : HOLY CROSS             : -25 / -30 /       /     /
:
PABR  : BARROW AIRPORT         : -19 / -24 /    T  /     /
PPIZ  : POINT LAY              : -19 / -24 /    T  /     /
PAWI  : WAINWRIGHT             : -14 / -20 /  0.00 /     /
PATQ  : ATQASUK                : -20 / -26 /       /     /
PAQT  : NUIQSUT                : -19 / -25 /  0.00 /     /
PASC  : DEADHORSE              : -18 / -25 /  0.00 /     /
PABA  : BARTER ISLAND          : -30 / -36 /  0.00 /     /
PAKP  : ANAKTUVUK PASS         : -31 / -36 /       /     /
:
PAOM  : NOME                   : -20 / -35 /  0.00 /     /
PAOT  : KOTZEBUE               : -32 / -39 /    T  /     /
PAPO  : POINT HOPE             :  -9 / -22 /       /     /
PAVL  : KIVALINA               : -24 / -27 /    T  /     /
PAWN  : NOATAK                 : -35 / -42 /       /     /
PAFM  : AMBLER                 :     /     /       /     /
PASH  : SHISHMAREF             : -17 / -24 /       /     /
PADE  : DEERING                : -19 / -38 /    T  /     /
PABL  : BUCKLAND               :     /     /       /     /
PAIW  : WALES                  :  -5 / -12 /       /     /
PATE  : TELLER                 :     /     /       /     /
PAGL  : GOLOVIN                : -27 / -35 /       /     /
PAKK  : KOYUK                  : -15 / -29 /       /     /
PAUN  : UNALAKLEET             : -17 / -27 /       /     /
PACM  : SCAMMON BAY            : -17 / -22 /       /     /
PAMK  : SAINT MICHAEL          : -23 / -26 /       /     /
PAEM  : EMMONAK                : -17 / -20 /       /     /
PASM  : SAINT MARYS            :  -9 / -17 /       /     /
.END
 COOPERATIVE OBSERVATIONS
 ALL VALUES ARE FOR 24 HOURS ENDING AROUND 9AM ALASKA
 LOCAL TIME TODAY
.B PAFG 0129 Z DH17/TX/TN/PPD/SF/SD
:
: ID           STATION            HI    LO    PCPN   SNOW SNOW
:                                                    FALL DEPTH
PATA  : TANANA                 : -47 / -61 /  0.00 /     /   20
GSCA2 : GOLDSTREAM CREEK       : -41 / -55 /  0.00 /  0.0/   17
FYKA2 : FORT YUKON #2          : -39 / -65 /  0.00 /  0.0/   22
FAOA2 : COLLEGE OBSERVATORY    : -38 / -48 /  0.00 /  0.0/   17
STHA2 : MILE 42 STEESE HWY     :     /     /       /     /
DNPA2 : DENALI PARK HQ         : -27 / -37 /  0.00 /  0.0/   23
HLYA2 : HEALY 2NW              : -30 / -41 /  0.00 /  0.0/    8
LMHA2 : LAKE MINCHUMINA        : -39 / -50 /  0.00 /  0.0/   18
CHSA2 : CIRCLE HOT SPRINGS     : -49 / -58 /  0.00 /  0.0/   20
PRCA2 : PORCUPINE RVR AT COLEEN:     /     /       /     /
RUBA2 : RUBY 14NE              :     /     /       /     /
BIGA2 : DELTA JUNCTION 20SE    : -40 / -58 /  0.00 /  0.0/   19
DDAA2 : DELTA 6N               :     /     /       /     /
PACA2 : PORT ALCAN             : -36 / -49 /  0.00 /  0.0/   13
CQNA2 : CHICKEN COOP           : -43 / -59 /  0.00 /  0.0/   14
EGLA2 : EAGLE                  : -40 / -57 /  0.00 /  0.0/   18
CCVA2 : COLVILLE VILLAGE       : -17 / -37 /    T  /    T/    8
WITA2 : WHITESTONE FARMS       : -38 / -52 /  0.00 /  0.0/   11
.END
 COOPERATIVE OBSERVATIONS
 ALL VALUES ARE FOR 24 HOURS ENDING AROUND 2PM ALASKA
 LOCAL TIME TODAY
.B PAFG 0129 Z DH23/TX/TN/PPD/SF/SD
:
: ID           STATION            HI    LO    PCPN   SNOW SNOW
:                                                    FALL DEPTH
GCQA2 : GILMORE CREEK          : -23 / -47 /  0.00 /  0.0/   16
DRYA2 : DRY CREEK              : -32 / -54 /  0.00 /  0.0/   26
TOFA2 : TOK FORESTRY           :     /     /       /     /
ACLA2 : ALPINE CREEK LODGE     :     /     /       /     /
.END
 COOPERATIVE OBSERVATIONS
 ALL VALUES ARE FOR 24 HOURS ENDING AROUND 6PM ALASKA
 LOCAL TIME TODAY
.B PAFG 0129 Z DH03/TX/TN/PPD/SF/SD
:
: ID           STATION            HI    LO    PCPN   SNOW SNOW
:                                                    FALL DEPTH
TOKA2 : TOK                    :     /     /       /     /
TOAA2 : TOK #2                 : -27 / -51 /  0.00 /  0.0/   22
GALA2 : GALENA                 : -50 / -65 /  0.00 /  0.0/   32
WSMA2 : WISEMAN                :     /     /       /     /
KOBA2 : KOBE HILL              :     /     /       /     /
PALP  : ALPINE                 : -18 / -31 /    T  /    T/   29
MISSI : MISSING                :     /     /       /     /
DIKA2 : KANDIK RIVER           : -52 / -64 /  0.00 /  0.0/   22
.END
 COOPERATIVE OBSERVATIONS
 ALL VALUES ARE FOR 24 HOURS ENDING AROUND 10PM ALASKA
 LOCAL TIME TODAY
.B PAFG 0129 Z DH06/TX/TN/PPD/SF/SD
:
: ID           STATION            HI    LO    PCPN   SNOW SNOW
:                                                    FALL DEPTH
AURA2 : AURORA/FAIRBANKS       : -40 / -51 /    T  /    T/   17
CSKA2 : CLEAR SKY              : -42 / -60 /  0.00 /  0.0/   18
NOPA2 : NORTH POLE             :     /     /       /     /
FMTA2 : FAIRBANKS MIDTOWN      :     /     /       /     /
.END

First Half of January – Slightly Colder than Normal

The Illinois statewide average temperature for January 1-15, 2010, was 21.5 degrees, 2.3 degrees below normal. The statewide average precipitation for the same period was 0.75 inches, 84 percent of normal. Precipitation includes both rainfall and the water content of any snowfall.
After a very active December in terms of snowfall, January has been relatively quiet so far. The only significant snowfall totals are in western Illinois and along Lake Michigan. However, the persistently cold weather means the snow has stuck around.

snowfall
Snowfall for January 1-15, 2010, in Illinois.

December 2010 in Illinois – Cold and Snowy

December 2010 in Illinois turned out to be one of the coldest and snowiest on record. I updated the numbers on January 3 and the maps on January 5.

Temperature

The average statewide temperature was 24.0 degrees, 5.8 degrees below normal and the 12th coldest on record, based on preliminary data.

Snowfall

Snowfall was above-normal throughout the state in December and heaviest in a band from northwest Illinois into east-central Illinois (see maps below). Snowfall totals for December include 20.4 inches in Champaign-Urbana (snowiest December on record), 18.1 inches in Bloomington-Normal(second snowiest December on record), and 19.2 inches in Peoria (third snowiest December on record). Champaign-Urbana beat both Rockford (19.2 inches) and Chicago O’Hare Airport (16.2 inches) on snowfall totals. The largest snowfall total reported in the state was 30.0 inches near Galena by a CoCoRaHS observer. Streator reported 28.5 inches, the highest amount from a NWS cooperative observer.

Precipitation

Even though snowfall was above average in most locations, the average statewide precipitation was 1.8 inches, 0.9 inch below normal. Some of the snowfall did not have a high water content, especially if it fell when the temperatures were in the 20s. While the rule of thumb is that 10 inches of snow equals 1 inch of water, a  10 to 1 ratio, I have seen ratios ranging from 4 to 1 to 22 to 1 in Illinois.
 

December 2010 snowfall
The December 2010 total snowfall in inches.

December 2010 snowfall departure in Illinois
The December 2010 snowfall departures (inches) in Illinois.

 
 

Record December Snowfall: Champaign-Urbana

Champaign-Urbana set a record for their heaviest December snowfall total on record. The 20.4 inches of snow that has fallen so far in December surpassed the old record of 19.1 inches set in 1983.
The 5.0 inches of snow on Christmas Day clinched the December snowfall record. By the way, it was also the biggest snowfall on record for that date. It surpassed the old record of 3.8 inches that fell on December 25, 1944.
We have had measurable snow on the ground since December 4.
It has been persistently cold as well. The average temperature for December through the 27 is 21.3 degrees, the ninth coldest December on record. The forecast is for milder temperatures for the rest of the month so this December may slip a little in the rankings. Oddly, we only dropped below zero once, on December 9 with -1°F.
A complete listing of Champaign-Urbana observations are found  here.
What happened to the rest of the 1983-84 winter? The snowfall total for January was  only 5.6 inches. However, the heavy snow returned in February with 11.6 inches and 8.4 inches in March. Combined with the 0.2 inches that fell in November 1983, that winter season ended up with 44.9 inches.

Update on Cold Weather in Illinois

As of December 21, Illinois remains 10.2 degrees below normal for the month. At 20.9 degrees, this is now the 5th coldest December since statewide records began in 1895. It could still move up or down in the ranking, depending on how the rest of December behaves.
Statewide precipitation stands at 1.06 inches of precipitation (rainfall plus the water equivalent of any snow).
Snowfall totals for the month ranges from less than 2 inches in far southern Illinois to over 14 inches in northwest Illinois (see map below). Right now the two spots with the most snowfall in the state for December are a CoCoRaHS site near Marseilles with 18.5 inches and a CoCoRaHS site near Champaign with 18.3 inches of snow.
From my web page on current conditions in Illinois, here is the breakdown by region within the state as well as the statewide numbers at the bottom for December 1-21.

                                  Illinois
                        12/01/2010 to 12/21/2010
Climate          <------Temperature----->   <---------Precipitation--------->
Division         Actual   Normal      Dev   Actual   Normal     Dev   Percent
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Northwest          15.2     26.3    -11.0     1.44     1.45    -0.01       99
Northeast          17.0     27.9    -10.9     1.30     1.63    -0.33       80
West               21.4     29.7     -8.3     0.56     1.63    -1.07       34
Central            18.9     29.7    -10.8     1.13     1.76    -0.63       64
East               17.6     30.1    -12.4     1.53     1.75    -0.23       87
West-southwest     23.8     32.5     -8.6     0.56     1.91    -1.35       29
East-southeast     23.3     33.6    -10.2     1.23     2.04    -0.80       61
Southwest          26.2     35.7     -9.5     0.79     2.31    -1.52       34
Southeast          26.4     36.4    -10.0     0.93     2.43    -1.50       38
State              20.9     31.1    -10.2     1.06     1.86    -0.79       57
Dev means Deviation From Normal, Percent means Percent of Normal
December snowfall in Illinois
Snowfall for Illinois for December 1-21, 2010.

Cold Start to December

After such nice weather in October and most of November, real winter weather arrived in Illinois for December. The statewide average temperature for the first 14 days of December was 22.0 degrees, 10.6 degrees below normal.
The statewide average precipitation is 0.83 inches, 0.5 inches below normal.
Snowfall has been widespread across the state in early December. Snowfall totals range from less than an inch in far southern Illinois to over 10 inches in northwestern Illinois. See map below for snowfall totals for December 1-14, 2010.

December 1-14, 2010 snowfall.
Snowfall for December 1-14, 2010, for Illinois.