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
"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]