April Warm and Dry but Soil Moisture Adequate for Now, Illinois State Water Survey

Press Release

For Immediate Release May 3, 2004
April Warm and Dry but Soil Moisture Adequate for Now
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

“Despite the 10th driest and 24th warmest April following on the heels of the 20th wettest March in Illinois since 1895, soil moisture is near normal, and field work across the state is proceeding rapidly. Adequate soil moisture this spring should better protect crops against any dry spells this summer,” 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.

Temperature extremes ranged from 21 degrees at Marengo on April 5 to 91 degrees at Bloomington on April 18. Overall, April temperatures averaged 54.1 degrees statewide, 1.8 degrees above normal.

April precipitation throughout Illinois was 1.86 inches, only 49 percent of normal. Most of that rain fell during April 20–25.

“Even though April was very dry—virtually tied with April 1988—the historical record does not suggest that dry Aprils are a reliable indicator of summer drought. Of the ten driest Aprils on record, only three (1901, 1934, and 1988) resulted in drought conditions by August according to the Palmer Drought Severity Index. The National Weather Service calls for equal chances of above, below, and normal precipitation with a slightly increased chance of warmer-than-normal temperatures this summer. Because sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific are near neutral, which means that neither La Niña nor El Niño is present, projecting conditions for this summer is especially challenging,” concludes Angel.

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