For the fourth time this year, the monthly statewide precipitation has been above average, resulting in the third wettest January-April since 1895, according to State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
April precipitation was 4.7 inches, 23 percent above average. Combined with wet conditions in January, February, and March, the year-to-date total is 17.1 inches. Only 1950 and 1898 were wetter with 18.2 and 17.2 inches of precipitation, respectively.
In recent times, only 1998 started out the year with comparable precipitation with 14.8 inches.
This year marked the second wettest December-April (21.2 inches) and the wettest February-April (14.3 inches) since statewide records began in 1895.
The significantly above-average precipitation has caused widespread flooding of rivers and streams at times this winter and spring. Currently, wet soils and the lack of extended periods with warm, dry conditions have been blamed for planting delays throughout the state.
April statewide temperatures averaged 51.4 degrees, 0.9 degrees below average. This continued a pattern of below-average temperatures since February.
The National Weather Service forecast indicates that cooler, wetter conditions will prevail in Illinois for the next two weeks. Their outlook for May calls for an increased chance of above-average precipitation and below-average temperatures.
"This forecast indicates that we will continue to struggle with planting delays in May," says Angel.