Data Indicate Early August Rainstorm in Cook County Unique, Illinois State Water Survey

Press Release

For Immediate Release September 5, 2001
Late August Rains End Southeast Urbana Dry Spell

Steve Hilberg - (217) 333-8495, Fax: (217) 244-0220,
Eva Kingston - (217) 244-7270, Fax: (217) 333-6540,

Almost 4 inches of rain during the last two weeks of August marked the end of a dry summer in southeast Urbana, according to the Boneyard Precipitation Network of volunteer weather observers (, mostly current and former staff of the Illinois State Water Survey.

"Nearly 2 inches of that amount fell during rainstorms on August 30 that dropped only an inch in Champaign and more than 3 inches north of Champaign-Urbana," says network coordinator Steve Hilberg, a meteorologist at the Illinois State Water Survey where official rainfall measurements for Champaign-Urbana are made. Photo

June 1-August 15 network rainfall totals ranged from 6.50 to 6.75 inches in southeast Urbana, compared to nearly 8.50 inches in west Champaign. August 16-August 31 network totals were about 3.70 inches in southeast Urbana and ranged from 2.50 to 2.75 inches in west Champaign.

Large variations in rainfall over small areas are not unusual during spring and summer. "Stronger showers and thunderstorms typically have a core of heavy rain with an area of coverage as small as a quarter mile or as large as several miles in diameter. Movement of the core determines where the rain falls," says Hilberg.

Official rainfall measurements for Champaign-Urbana made by the Water Survey near First and Windsor in Champaign were 2.83 inches for June, 1.38 inches below normal; 3.64 inches for July, 1.03 inches below normal; and 4.79 inches for August, 0.42 inches above normal. While total rainfall for those three months was 11.26 inches, 1.99 inches below normal, the summer total near Parkland College (northwest Champaign) was 9.25 inches compared to 12.10 inches just a mile west of the Water Survey

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