For Immediate Release December 21, 2005
December Plunges Illinois into Deep Freeze
"Preliminary data for December in Illinois to date indicate it's the second coldest
start to December on record, with an average statewide
temperature departure 10.6 degrees below normal. Only the first 20 days of
December 1989 were colder with a departure of 12.8 degrees below normal. Statewide,
precipitation for December is 43 percent of normal (0.77 inches) thus far, but snowfall
is above normal, with totals of 10–16 inches in northern Illinois, 6–10 inches
in central Illinois, and 2–6 inches in southern Illinois," 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.
"While December has been cold and dry, November was
warm and moderately wet. Statewide, November temperatures averaged 43.9°F
(2.1 degrees above normal) and precipitation averaged 3.83 inches (0.51 inches
above normal). November was the sixth consecutive month with temperatures above
normal, and June–November 2005 was the third warmest such period on record. Temperature
extremes ranged from 82°F at Cairo on
November 9 to 6°F at Mt.
Carroll on November 17.
With more of December yet to come, preliminary numbers
indicate temperatures 1.3 degrees above normal and precipitation 6.47 inches
below normal in Illinois
during 2005. Northern and central Illinois
are still in moderate to extreme drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor:
"Based on 1971–2000 historical data, chances of a
white Christmas are least likely in southern Illinois
(10–30 percent), a little better across central Illinois
(30–40 percent), and best in northern Illinois
(40–60 percent). As always, holiday shoppers and travelers should stay abreast
of weather conditions," reminds Angel.