"Despite the recent cold spell, statewide January temperatures of 29.5°F were 4.7°F above normal, and precipitation of 3 inches was 1.07 inches above normal, based on preliminary data. Temperatures were well above normal the first half of January (12.7°F above) and slightly below normal the second half (2.8°F below), the third consecutive month with above normal temperatures. November–January temperatures were 4.2°F above normal, the 7th warmest such period on record since 1895," 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.
"January was the seventh consecutive month with normal to above normal precipitation across much of Illinois, except west-central Illinois. As a result, soil moisture in the top 6 feet of the soil profile is fully recharged in most places, good news for farmers and gardeners," adds Angel.
Statewide, January heating degree days (HDDs), a measure of home heating demand, were 12 percent below normal, 1099 HDDs statewide compared to the 1247 HDD normal. For the 2006–2007 heating season, beginning July 1 and through January 31, statewide HDDs were 8 percent below normal and averaged 3195 HDDs, compared to the 3458 HDD normal.
Extremes for January were quite dramatic. Temperatures ranged from 62°F at Grayville on January 1 to -8°F at Mt. Carroll on January 17. Lebanon reported 2.60 inches, the largest one-day precipitation on January 13, and Brookport Dam reported 6.61 inches, the largest monthly total. January snowfall totals were 6–10 inches (north of I-80), 3–6 inches (between I-80 and I-70), and 0–3 inches (south of I-70). Freeport reported the largest monthly snowfall total, 9.8 inches.
The National Weather Service outlook for February–March calls for an increased chance of temperatures above normal across Illinois and precipitation below normal.
"In a typical Illinois winter, we can expect cold temperatures and snow in February and even early March. Expect periods of winter weather over the next six weeks, regardless of what that groundhog says," concludes Angel.