Increase in soil moisture due to recent rains

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[May 23, 2014]  CHAMPAIGN – Recent rains across Illinois have led to increases in soil moisture levels, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) Program Manager at the Illinois State Water Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois.

Soil moisture levels from May 11 to May 19 increased 14 percent, on average, at depths of 2 inches.  The highest levels were seen in southern Illinois where soil moisture on May 18 averaged 0.39 percent by volume, comparable to the field capacity of 0.36 for most of the soils measured.  

At deeper depths, soil moisture was also high, averaging 0.41 percent by volume at 20 inches and 0.44 percent at 59 inches across the state.  Little change has been seen in levels at these depths for the first two weeks of May. 

Soil temperatures are beginning to increase again after a slight cooling spell at the end of last week.  On May 18, temperatures averaged 60.2 degrees F at 4 inches under bare soil and 59.3 degrees F at the same depth under sod.   

The Illinois State Water Survey’s WARM Program collects hourly and daily weather and soil information at 19 stations across the state. 

 Daily and monthly summaries can be found at the WARM website ( and in the Illinois Water and Climate Summary (   

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Maps of soil temperatures and moisture levels can also be found at the WARM website (


The Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a division of the Prairie Research Institute, is the primary agency in Illinois concerned with water and atmospheric resources.

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