At the storm's height, roughly 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, a "downburst" of wind of 70 mph went through the area,
felling trees, lifting off roof shingles and downing utility lines,
poles and causing another band of power outages.
This December had already suffered through
three ice storms, below-zero temperatures and then rain on top of
ice-coated streets before the balmy temperature storm came through
on Dec. 27.
In case you don't recall, the year began with a
snow and ice storm that left roads treacherous and slippery through New
Year's Eve into the start of the year.
It seems that the inclement weather was just
starting to tell us we would have long year ahead of us. Below is a
recap by the National Weather Service of all that Mother
Nature hit us with this past year.
Unseasonably warm weather quickly developed
early in January. Temperatures reached the upper 60s to lower 70s
and remained very warm overnight. In some cases, average daily
temperatures were close to 40 degrees above normal on Jan. 6-7.
Springfield had its warmest January night on record, with a low of
only 57 degrees on Jan. 7.
cold front passed through the area on Jan. 29.
Temperatures that had been in the 60s that afternoon fell to near
zero by the morning of Jan. 30. Temperature falls of 20 to 40
degrees in only a couple hours were observed following the initial
passage of the front.
The 2008 severe weather season started early,
outbreak on Jan. 7. Large hail and a few
tornadoes occurred across the area, primarily along and west of
Interstate 55. Strong tornadoes in this outbreak occurred as far north as
southeast Wisconsin and northeast Illinois, areas which historically
had only seen a few January tornadoes since reliable records
began. The storms also produced 3 to 5 inches of rain, and combined
with rapid snowmelt from a few days earlier, caused flooding on area
winter storm affected central Illinois as the
calendar changed from January to February. Areas along the I-55
corridor saw the heaviest snow. Some of the highest amounts occurred
around Springfield, where totals of 10 to 13 inches were reported.
Southeast Illinois saw a mixture of rain, sleet and snow, which kept
accumulations to a few inches.
A series of Arctic outbreaks kept temperatures
10 to 20 degrees below normal for much of February.
amounts of precipitation fell during the winter season. Amounts
of 10 to 16 inches were observed roughly from Jacksonville northeast
to Watseka. Several locations saw their second-wettest winter on
Ice storms affected southeast
Illinois on March 3 and 4. A quarter-inch of glaze was reported in
some areas, with a half-inch of sleet in Douglas County.
Very heavy rainfall affected the southern
third of Illinois for a few days beginning on
Patrick's Day. Rainfall of 5 to 7 inches was
reported along the Route 50 corridor, from Flora east to
While not weather-related, an
occurred in southeast Illinois on April 18.
Centered 22 miles south-southeast of Olney, the quake measured 5.2
on the Richter scale and was felt as far away as Georgia and
Kansas. This was the third-strongest earthquake on record in
Unseasonably strong low pressure tracked east
across central Illinois on
Mother's Day, May 11. The central pressure had fallen to
29.08 inches by the time the low reached Danville, having deepened
0.27 inches in only seven hours. This was close to a May record
pressure values across the area. As the low pulled away, winds
intensified later that day. Gusts of 40-55 mph were common, with 60
mph gusts near Decatur and Springfield. This caused many power
[to top of second column]
Severe weather on May 30 produced extremely large hail in some
areas. Softball-size hail was reported near Philo, in Champaign County,
and some hail near Springfield was larger than baseballs.
A major rainstorm affected east-central and
southeast Illinois on June 6-7. A cooperative observer in southern
Clark County reported over 9 inches of rain in only 24 hours. Five
inches of rain was widespread as far north as Douglas County.
Excessively heavy rain also extended eastward into Indiana. This
resulted in copious amounts of water flowing down rivers in
southeast Illinois. Several levees failed along the Embarras and
Wabash rivers as water levels reached record stages, resulting in
widespread overland flooding. Record crests were reported on the Embarras River at Ste. Marie and Lawrenceville.
June rainfall in excess of 8 inches was common
along the I-72 corridor and south to I-70, where monthly totals of
10 to 16 inches were found.
July was another wet month across the
region. Much of central and southeast Illinois saw precipitation at
least 150 percent of normal. Lincoln reported 11 inches of rain
during the month, and Springfield had 9.45 inches, both establishing
their third-wettest July on record.
In contrast, August was much
drier, with rainfall of one-half to 2 inches for the entire month. After
the wet July, Lincoln had its fifth-driest August on record.
The area was affected by the remnants of two
hurricanes during September. The
Hurricane Gustav produced very heavy rain on
Sept. 3-4, mainly from 2 to 5 inches, although areas south of
I-70 mostly saw less than an inch. Then from Sept. 11-14,
remnants of Hurricane Ike tracked toward the
Ohio Valley. Three-day rainfall totals of 4 to 8 inches were common.
The center of the storm tracked from St. Louis to northern Indiana
on Sept. 14 and resulted in wind gusts over 40 mph east of the track.
The Lawrenceville Airport saw winds gusting to 61 mph that day.
With the excessive rainfall, rivers were again
in flood stage, and significant flooding occurred along the middle
portions of the Illinois River. Crests on Sept. 19 of 31.0 feet
at Henry and 27.0 feet at Peoria were their third-highest of
record and were the highest levels observed since March 1982.
A winter storm began to affect the area late
Thanksgiving weekend, bringing heavy snow to parts of the area. The early season winter storm wound down on
Dec. 1. Snow totals of 5 to 7 inches occurred in areas from Peoria
east to Bloomington.
Strong winds gusted 35-45 mph the
weekend of Dec. 13-14. These south winds helped bring mild air
into the area, with temperatures reaching into the 50s west of I-55
on Dec. 14. However, a sharp cold front was ready to enter the
area, with temperatures falling over 40 degrees by Dec. 15.
The last two weeks of the year were again
unseasonably cold, then warm, causing icing problems on streets and
highways consistently through the last two weeks of the year, capped
off with a 2-inch rain on Dec. 27.
[National Weather Service; LDN staff]