Illinois in March was cold and dry
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[April 03, 2014]
CHAMPAIGN — The statewide
average temperature for March in Illinois was 33.8 degrees, which
was 7 degrees below average and the eighth-coldest March on record.
Combined with the colder-than-average January and February, that
made this the fourth-coldest start (23.6 degrees) for the year in
Illinois to date, according to Jim Angel, state climatologist, at
the Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois.
It was the fifth month in a row with temperatures much below
average in Illinois. This was the second-coldest November-March
on record for the state, at 29.1 degrees.
If the cold March felt familiar, it was because March was
cold last year as well. The statewide average temperature for
March 2013 was only 34.1 degrees.
The statewide average precipitation last month was 1.49
inches, which was 1.49 inches below average and the 11th-driest
March on record. The statewide average precipitation last year
in March was much higher at 2.74 inches. Eight out of the last
nine months have had below-average precipitation. As a result,
the statewide precipitation departure from average since July 1
is 7.2 inches.
Most of the state received between 1 to 2 inches of
precipitation in March. It was wettest in the far south and
driest in the northwest. All areas of the state had
below-average precipitation. This would be of more concern if
March had been warm. However, with the colder conditions, very
little drying took place.
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Snowfall amounts were in the 1- to 5-inch range in the southern half
of the state and 5 to 15 inches or more in the northern half.
Mendota reported the highest monthly total of 17.9 inches. The
entire state was above average on snowfall for the month.
"While it seems like a contradiction to report above-average
snowfall and below-average precipitation for March, it really is
not," Angel says. "The problem is that we have had few rainfall
events in March, which was unusual. So we ended up with a lot of
snow, but the water content of all that snow did not make up for the
lack of rain."
[Text from file received from
State Water Survey]