Saturday, May 6

Wet spring dispels drought in Illinois

Governor's Drought Task Force continues to monitor water supply status

Send a link to a friend

[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 Illinois 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.

While long-term 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 drought update. 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.

[to top of second column]

"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 that time.

For the latest Drought Task Force report, go to

[Illinois Department of Natural Resources news release]


< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor