CHAMPAIGN, Ill., 10/16/20: Dry weather in October has led to declining soil moisture across Illinois, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) program manager at the Illinois State Water Survey.
Rainfall was lower than average throughout the state in the first half of October. According to the Midwestern Regional Climate Center, Illinois received 1.36 inches from Oct. 1 to 15, 1.08 inches below normal. Combined with a dry September for southern and parts of central Illinois, these conditions have caused soil moisture levels to fall to near the wilting points for most of the state.
Soil moisture at 2-inch depths averaged 0.17 water fraction by volume (wfv) on Oct. 15, a 23 percent decline from the beginning of the month. The largest declines were in northern Illinois, which saw a 32 percent drop. Levels fell only 6 percent in the east with soils already dry due to a lack of rain in September.
Similar decreases were seen in depths from 4 to 20 inches. Soil moisture remained high at 39 and 59 inches with changes of 2 percent or less in all regions.
Soil temperatures have remained steady the first half of October. Temperatures at 4 inches under bare soil averaged 59.7 degrees on Oct. 15, a 0.7 degree increase from Oct. 1. Highs reached the mid-60s with lows mainly in the low to high 50s. Temperatures were slightly warmer than normal, averaging 4.8 degrees higher than last year and 2.7 degrees higher than the long-term average.
Media Contact: Jennie Atkins, Ph.D. - (217) 333-4966, firstname.lastname@example.org
Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring