Thursday, Jan. 8


Mild December wraps up an average 2003

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[JAN. 8, 2004]  "Temperatures in Illinois during 2003 averaged 51.7 degrees, only 0.4 degrees below normal," said Jim Angel, state climatologist with the Illinois State Water Survey, a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

"Despite the exceptionally cold temperatures on Dec. 11-14, December temperatures averaged 33.4 degrees, 3.6 degrees above normal statewide. Temperature extremes ranged from 62 degrees on Dec. 1 at Belleville to minus 2 degrees on Dec. 12 at Freeport," he said.

"Many locations across the central third of the state, where snowfall was widespread, reported 4- to 8-inch accumulations for December, and Havana reported 10.3 inches. Amounts tapered off southward, as expected, with no snowfall in far southern Illinois. The 1- to 4-inch total in the northern third of Illinois was well below normal. This snow deficit was most notable in northeastern Illinois, where Chicago at Midway Airport reported only 2.6 inches in December, compared to the 10.1-inch normal," says Angel.

Statewide precipitation for December was 102 percent of normal (2.73 inches, compared with a normal of 2.69 inches). Total precipitation during 2003 was 97 percent of normal (37.64 inches, compared with a normal of 38.79 inches). Even after a wet November and December, it was driest in the northwest corner of the state, at 86 percent of normal for 2003.


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Based on long-term temperature trends, even without a significant El Nino or La Nina event in the Pacific, National Weather Service outlooks for January-March are neutral for central and southern Illinois but call for a slightly increased chance of above normal temperatures in the northern third of the state. Forecasts for the next two weeks indicate more of the colder than normal temperatures we've been having across the entire state.

"Over the last 30 years, we have seen a trend towards milder Februaries. After such a mild December, Illinois' wintry weather may be confined to January this year," Angel said.

[Illinois State Water Survey news release]

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