"A uniformly warm, dry September speeded fall harvest but further increased drought conditions in southern and central Illinois. Statewide rainfall was 1.71 inches, 1.48 inches below normal, and the 12th driest September since 1895. Temperatures in Illinois averaged 69.8 degrees, 3.6 degrees above normal, and the 15th warmest September on record," 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 warm, dry conditions rapidly dried corn and soybeans in the field, much of southern Illinois, south of Interstate 70, is classified as being in severe drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Much of central Illinois is classified as either abnormally dry or in moderate drought. Initial reports indicate that corn fared better than soybeans in dry areas. At least one city water supply has been severely impacted by drought. The city of Decatur is expecting to enact mandatory water conservation measures within the next few weeks as the level of Lake Decatur continues to drop," says Angel.
"The National Weather Service outlook indicates that the warm weather will continue over the next two weeks, with only a few opportunities for rain. That may be more good news for the grain harvest, but it wont help recharge soil moisture, streams, and lakes," concludes Angel.
Disclaimer: Data used for all statistics provided herein are from the Midwestern Regional Climate Center and are based on preliminary data.