Colder, Wetter October than Average, Illinois State Water Survey

Press Release

For Immediate Release November 1, 2002
Colder, Wetter October than Average

Source:   
Contact:   
Jim Angel - (217) 333-0729, Fax: (217) 244-0220, jimangel@illinois.edu
Eva Kingston - (217) 244-7270, Fax: (217) 333-6540, eva@sws.uiuc.edu
After four months of above average temperatures throughout Illinois, the trend was reversed in October, and precipitation was 15 percent higher than average. Temperatures 3.1°F colder than average (51.6°F) were accompanied by 3.35 inches of precipitation, nearly half an inch above average,” says State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Although too late to benefit crops, ample rainfall in southern Illinois during October allowed recovery from extremely dry conditions this past summer, says Angel. Northwestern Illinois also was wet and precipitation in central and northeastern Illinois was below average in October, but these areas were not as dry as southern Illinois last summer.

Hutsonville reported the warmest temperature, 93°F on October 2. Mount Carroll reported the coldest temperature, 21°F on October 20, and also the largest one-day total, 2.43 inches on October 2. Belleville reported the largest monthly total, 5.30 inches.

What kind of winter can we expect? Sea-surface temperatures along the Equator of the Pacific Ocean this year are warmer than average due to a weak El Niño. Strong El Niño events typically have brought Illinois mild winter weather with warmer temperatures and less snowfall. In fact, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center is calling for an increased chance of warmer-than-average temperatures this winter.

However, the six previous winters in Illinois since 1950 when weak El Niños were present paint a different story. Four of those winters were colder than average (starting with the coldest: 1977-1978, 1976-1977, 1969-1970, and 1963-1964), with lots of snowfall in 1976-1977 and 1977-1978. Winter 1970-1971 was near average, and only winter 1994-1995 was above average.

Still other factors such as a stronger-than-predicted El Niño, the amount of snow cover to the north, and tropical storm activity to the south may also have an influence on what winter will be like. My best advice? Be prepared because even an average winter includes snow, ice, and cold temperatures,” says Jim Angel.

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