Saturday, Nov. 13

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7th-wettest October follows
4th-driest September
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[NOV. 13, 2004]  CHAMPAIGN -- "Illinois has just had the seventh-wettest October on the heels of the fourth-driest September on record since 1895," said Jim Angel, Illinois State Water Survey, a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Soil moisture statewide recovered rapidly after 6.10 inches of rainfall, which was 2.18 inches above normal for October and up considerably from the 0.86-inch average in September. While the increased soil moisture is good news for next spring's crops, it has delayed fieldwork this fall.        

The average statewide temperature for October was 55 degrees F, just 0.4 degrees above the norm. Extremes ranged from 24 degrees at Congerville, in central Illinois, on Oct. 5 to 87 degrees at Carbondale, in southern Illinois, on Oct. 8. Central Illinois had the highest one-day precipitation total, 3.29 inches at Newton on Oct. 19, and also the highest monthly total, 7.99 inches at Robinson.

Tornadoes returned to southern Illinois on Oct. 18. There were reports of two injuries and damaged farm buildings and mobile homes after a tornado touched down near Goreville. A second tornado near Tunnel Hill caused similar damage but no injuries. The National Weather Service rated both tornadoes as F2 on the Fujita scale, a measure of tornado intensity with F5 being the most damaging tornado. Unofficially, this brings the number of tornadoes reported in Illinois for 2004 to 67 -- much lower than last year's record number of 120.

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"Although April-June is the typical tornado season in Illinois, tornadoes actually occur in all months of the year," Angel said.

The National Weather Service is calling for a drier-than-normal winter in Illinois with an even chance of temperatures above normal, normal or below normal. Regionally, Illinois is sandwiched between increased chances of temperatures above normal to the west and below normal to the southeast. "Such patterns are typical of past, weak El Niņo events in the Pacific Ocean," Angel said.

[News release provided by Eva Kingston, editor,
Illinois State Water Survey]

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