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Harvest benefits from fourth-driest September on record     Send a link to a friend

[OCT. 8, 2004]  "Unseasonably warm, dry conditions during Illinois' fourth-driest September on record have hastened corn and soybean maturation and harvest after a cool, wet summer," said Jim Angel. He is state climatologist with the Illinois State Water Survey, a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

"The average statewide temperature for September was 67.5 degrees, 1.3 degrees above normal. Precipitation averaged 0.86 inches, just 27 percent of normal, compared to 0.49 inches in 1979, the driest September on record," he said.

Temperature extremes ranged from 94 degrees on Sept. 5 at Grand Tower, in southwestern Illinois, to 32 degrees at Mount Carroll on Sept. 30. La Harpe, in western Illinois, reported the largest one-day precipitation total: 4.34 inches on Sept. 16.

The National Weather Service is calling for an increased chance of drier-than-normal conditions for the rest of the fall and on into winter.        

"Historically, a dry September tends to precede a dry October-November, and a dry fall tends to precede a dry winter," Angel said. "Fortunately, drier-than-normal fall and winter conditions pose fewer hydrological problems in Illinois because of declining demand for water from farmers, municipalities and nature as temperatures drop."

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Angel has received lots of calls about fall color this year. "Trees and shrubs need to go into the fall without a lot of stress from disease or severe drought," he said. "Chilly, not frigid nights and cool, sunny days enhance the changing leaf colors.

"Detrimental conditions include extended periods of rain or cloudiness that mute colors, high winds that blow leaves off trees, and hard freezes that stop color changes entirely.

"Recent cool temperatures in October should bring about color changes soon. October and early November in Illinois should put on quite a show. Take some time to go out and enjoy it," he said.

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

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