2019 was the third wettest May in Illinois history
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[June 10, 2019]
Some areas of Illinois experienced
record-breaking amounts of rain in May, as statewide totals mark the
sixth consecutive month with above average rainfall, according to
Brian Kerschner, spokesperson for the Illinois State Climatologist
Office at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey.
The preliminary average statewide precipitation in May was 8.43
inches, which is 3.83 inches above the long-term average. As it
stands now, spring 2019 will rank within the top four wettest
spring seasons in state history (March–May), with May 2019
ranking as the third wettest May in state history.
The preliminary average statewide May temperature was 62.5
degrees, which is 0.2 degrees below the long-term average.
Almost the entire state received above average precipitation for
the month. The only exception was a small region in east-central
Illinois near Edgar County, where near to slightly below average
Portions of west-central and northern Illinois reported the
heaviest rainfall for the month, where monthly precipitation
departures of 5 to 8 inches above average were common, bringing
200 to 300 percent of average monthly rainfall. An area roughly
defined between Quincy and the Quad Cities extending eastward to
near Peoria received the most precipitation in the state, with 7
rain gages in this region recording 13 or more inches of
rainfall during May.
A gage near Dallas City (Hancock County) reported the highest
precipitation total for May with 14.75 inches.
Data from the National Weather Service showed that with a report
of 8.25 inches, Chicago experienced its wettest May on record,
beating the 8.21-inch reading that was set just last year in May
The abnormally wet May weather has led to a
continuation of elevated flooding risks and significant planting
delays for the Illinois agricultural community. Moderate and
major flooding along many local streams and rivers is still
ongoing, with flood warnings along both the Illinois and
Mississippi Rivers in effect until further notice.
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Wet, active, and stormy weather has not only been an
issue for Illinois but also has been a growing risk across much of
the central and southern Midwest, including the Corn Belt where
notable above average precipitation departures for May were also
In addition to the relentless rainfall, multiple rounds of severe
weather impacted the state throughout the month. Statewide, 215
severe weather reports were noted, 18 for tornadoes, 51 for hail,
and 146 for wind. Note that multiple reports may be generated for a
Monthly temperature departures showed that the northern third of the
state generally saw average temperatures of 1 to 3 degrees below
normal, while the southern third of the state generally saw average
temperatures of 1 to 3 degrees above normal with near normal
temperatures occurring throughout central Illinois.
The highest maximum temperature in the state was recorded at the
Kaskaskia River Navigation Lock (Randolph County) with a reading of
93 degrees on May 26. In contrast, the lowest minimum temperature of
31 degrees was recorded at the Chicago Botanical Garden (Cook
County) on May 4.
Although an active weather pattern looks to continue at least for a
portion of the first full week of June, the monthly outlook from the
Climate Prediction Center favors equal probabilities for below,
near, or above average precipitation and temperatures across
Illinois for June 2019.