"The wettest January in Illinois
history occurred in 1950," said Jim Angel, chief climatologist for
Illinois. "If rains continued to fall at this same rate, we would
break those records."
During January of 1950, 6.8 inches
of rain fell. In the first 12 days of January 2005, 3.64 inches of
rain have fallen. Additionally, the temperature is 10 degrees above
normal for January.
The Illinois State Water Survey, a
division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, monitors
weather conditions and keeps the official records. Statistics date
back to 1895.
"It appears we are under the
influence of a Bermuda high," Angel said. "This is unusual, because,
typically, our January weather in Illinois is influenced by cold,
dry air moving in from Canada. Instead, we are dealing with the
impact of a warm, moist weather system from the Gulf of Mexico."
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The weather pattern is affecting
many Midwestern states. Angel says flooding problems are partly the
result of an extremely wet November, which left ground saturated.
"Looking at the statistics, January
rains are not indicative of a trend that will lead to an especially
rainy spring," he said.
He points out that the National
Weather Service makes predictions of the forecast, while the state
climatologist tracks statistics and trends. However, based on the
National Weather Service forecast, he says colder temperatures
should settle over Illinois by the weekend, and dryer air should
"The standing water will take a few
days to freeze," he said. "Look for the pools of water to turn into
patches of ice by this time next week."
Department of Natural Resources news release]