[MAY 6, 2006]
SPRINGFIELD -- While Illinois is still not
completely out of the woods, recent rainfall throughout Illinois in
the months of March and April has all but eliminated the state's
drought status, according to the
State Water Survey, a
division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
"Receiving above-normal rainfall in March and April means that the
drought in northern and western Illinois has ended," says Illinois
State Water Survey Chief Derek Winstanley.
precipitation deficits remain in that area, subsurface soil
moisture, streams and shallow groundwater have largely returned to
near-normal levels, according to the agency's latest
Preliminary data for Illinois indicate that 4.08 inches of
precipitation fell in April, 0.28 inches above normal. Precipitation
for the first four months of 2006 is at 12.34 inches, which is 1.47
inches above normal.
"It appears the status of water resources throughout the state
has improved significantly," said Gary Clark, chairman of the
Drought Task Force. "We are more encouraged that the state will be
able to get through the upcoming summer months without the need for
further water conservation restrictions."
The statewide preliminary April mean temperature of 56.7 degrees
was 4.5 degrees above normal and the ninth warmest on record since
1895. The statewide mean temperature for 2006 is 41.8 degrees, which
is 4.6 degrees above normal and the fourth-warmest January-April on
record since 1895.
Temperature extremes ranged from 92 degrees F at Hutsonville on
April 16 to 21 degrees at Mount Carroll on April 9. Palestine
reported the heaviest one-day precipitation, 4.04 inches on April
17, and Riverton reported the highest monthly total, 7.85 inches.
"Besides the return to a more active weather pattern this spring,
the La Nina event in the Pacific Ocean has weakened significantly,"
said Jim Angel, state climatologist. "La Nina occurs when abnormally
cold water is present along the equator in the eastern portion of
the Pacific Ocean basin. These cold waters modify the weather
patterns over the Pacific, which in turn modify the weather patterns
over the United States."
Illinois is typically under a higher risk for hot and dry summer
weather during La Nina events. The fact that water temperatures
along the equator have returned to near-normal conditions is good
news. In addition, historical analysis indicates that a wet
March-April slightly reduces the chances of the below-normal
precipitation occurring during the May-August growing season. The
recovery this spring has been remarkable, and there are no
indications of an increased risk for drought this summer.
The Drought Task Force will meet again on May 24 to assess water
supplies statewide and will make any necessary recommendations at