Saturday, Feb. 3
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January was warmer, wetter than usual

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[FEB. 3, 2007]  CHAMPAIGN -- "Despite the recent cold spell, statewide January temperatures of 29.5 degrees F were 4.7 degrees F above normal, and precipitation of 3 inches was 1.07 inches above normal, based on preliminary data," said Jim Angel, state climatologist with the Illinois State Water Survey, a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

"Temperatures were well above normal the first half of January (12.7 degrees above) and slightly below normal the second half (2.8 degrees below) -- the third consecutive month with above normal temperatures. November-January temperatures were 4.2 degrees above normal, the seventh-warmest such period on record since 1895," he said.

"January was the seventh consecutive month with normal to above normal precipitation across much of Illinois, except west-central Illinois. As a result, soil moisture in the top 6 feet of the soil profile is fully recharged in most places -- good news for farmers and gardeners," Angel added.

Statewide, January heating degree days, a measure of home heating demand, were 12 percent below normal: 1,099 heating degree days statewide, compared with the normal 1,247. For the 2006-2007 heating season, beginning July 1 and through Jan. 31, statewide heating degree days were 8 percent below normal and averaged 3,195, compared with the normal 3,458.

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Extremes for January were quite dramatic. Temperatures ranged from 62 degrees at Grayville on Jan. 1 to minus 8 degrees at Mount Carroll on Jan. 17. Lebanon reported 2.60 inches, the largest one-day precipitation, on Jan. 13, and Brookport Dam reported 6.61 inches, the largest monthly total.

January snowfall totals were 6-10 inches north of Interstate 80, 3-6 inches between I-80 and I-70, and 0-3 inches south of I-70. Freeport reported the largest monthly snowfall total, 9.8 inches.

The National Weather Service outlook for February-March calls for an increased chance of temperatures above normal across Illinois and precipitation below normal.

"In a typical Illinois winter, we can expect cold temperatures and snow in February and even early March. Expect periods of winter weather over the next six weeks, regardless of what that groundhog says," concludes Angel.

(Text from file received from the Illinois State Water Survey)

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