News, Illinois State Water Survey

ISWS Press Release

Two New ISWS Reports Explore Highly Unusual Weather in 2008


Excessive precipitation, below-average temperatures, and an increase in winter storms made 2008 an exceptionably notable weather year, according to ISWS atmospheric scientist Stanley A. Changnon. In fact, this was the second wettest year on record in Illinois since the 1880s.

Changnon produced two publications describing the unusual weather conditions and economic impacts for 2008, including, 2008: A Record Wet and Stormy Year in Illinois, ISWS RI-117 (with Alan Black) and The Severe Winter of 2008-09 in Illinois, ISWS RI-118 (with David Kristovich).

Unstable atmospheric conditions produced 17 heavy rainstorms during January–July, 2008, and 33 Illinois counties had major damages to communities and farms.  September flooding in northeastern Illinois caused $155 million in damages to the Chicago urban and suburban areas.  Still, the agricultural sector benefitted from the odd growing season conditions.  Corn yields were the second highest on record, and soybean yields were the third highest due to optimal summer and fall weather conditions.

The 2008-2009 winter was the fifth coldest since 1890 and the third consecutive severe winter in Illinois.  Snow amounts in northern Illinois ranged from 10 to 25 inches above normal.  Sixteen persons were killed and thousands were injured during the winter storms.

For more information, view the two Reports of Investigation online.

Illinois State Water Survey

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