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  • Scientists study regional benefits of limiting climate warming

    Limiting the global average temperature to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) above pre-industrial conditions compared with 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F), as predicted for the future, will avoid more intense and more frequent heavy precipitation and extreme heat waves, according to a recent study at the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) that explored global warming’s effects on specific U.S. regions.

  • Artificial Intelligence Scores High in Accuracy to Predict Water Contamination

    New, effective solutions are revealed when scientists use computer programs that simulate human intelligence to forecast drinking water contamination in agricultural areas, according to Momcilo Markus, hydrologist at the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS), a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois.

  • Water Survey to analyze flood risks in Peoria County

    The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) announced today that new hydrologic and hydraulic modeling of select streams in Peoria County is underway as part of a study to help local communities identify high flood-risk areas for flood mitigation planning.

  • Groundwater hydrologist is honored for contributions to the water operating profession

    Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) groundwater hydrologist Steve Wilson has received an Association of Boards of Certification’s award for advancing the water and wastewater operating profession. The Kenneth D. Kerri Excellence in Workforce Development Award was presented to Wilson for going beyond the call of duty as an educator.

  • Previous records slashed with monumental cold conditions in Illinois

    Illinois has been experiencing some of the coldest weather that has been seen in decades and, in some locations, ever.

  • GIS topographic view

    GIS topographic tool is applied statewide

    The Water Survey uses a GIS analysis tool called the Topographic Wetness Index to identify low-lying areas that could be subject to ponding during rain events. The index is particularly important because areas of low terrain with upslope—conditions that contributes to drainage areas—can be spotted outside of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s mapped floodplain areas.

  • Thunderstorm over a field

    Increasing opportunities through hazard mitigation

    The ISWS Coordinated Hazard Assessment and Mapping Program's (CHAMP) more than 25 professional staff with expertise in engineering, GIS, hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, hazard mitigation planning, and community engagement help communities build unique and comprehensive Natural Hazard Mitigation Plans (NHMP) to assess local hazards, identify high-risk areas, and take action in preventing losses from natural disasters. 

  • McConkey joins U of I group on building resilience to climate change

    Professional engineer Sally McConkey has joined the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment’s (iSEE) new Resilience Working Advisory Team (RWAT) to foster resilience to the local effects of climate change.

  • drilling equipment in field

    ISGS, ISWS install new wells for national groundwater monitoring

    Scientists and staff from the Illinois State Geological Survey and the Illinois State Water Survey  ollaborated with county and local governments in Kane County to install groundwater-monitoring wells in northeast Illinois as part of the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Ground Water Monitoring Network

  • Aerial view of the Kaskaskia River

    Understanding water’s role in decarbonization

    ISTC researchers needed to find adequate and reliable water sources to keep a carbon capture system running without compromising fragile aquatic ecosystems, local economies, and nearby communities’ water supply. Fortunately, ISTC knew the right expertise was close at hand in another unit within its parent Prairie Research Institute – The Water Survey’s Watershed Science team.

  • grey clouds

    Team spotlight: Climate and Atmospheric Science

    The Water Survey’s Climate and Atmospheric Science team investigates the potential statewide impacts of climate change, including extreme precipitation changes (flooding, drought), availability of atmospheric resources for green energy generation, changes in the urban heat island, and integration of climate models into systems that take into account human population growth, health, and activities.

  • A lack of rain prompts drier soils across Illinois in mid-June

    Drier weather 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.

  • Warmer soils this winter in Illinois could indicate healthy insect populations for spring

    Despite the cold weather this February, winter soil temperatures averaged 1 to 2 degrees higher than the long-term averages in Illinois, indicating a greater chance of insects surviving the winter.

  • Water Survey to analyze flood risks along the Little Wabash River

    The Illinois State Water Survey announced today that new hydrologic and hydraulic modeling of the Little Wabash River is underway as part of a study to help local communities identify areas of high flood risk along the Little Wabash River and its tributaries for flood mitigation planning.

  • Hideyuki Terashima, Walt Kelly, Katie Buckley, Jennifer Wilson, and Steve Wilson

    Water Survey hosts National Private Well Conference

    The Illinois State Water Survey organized and hosted the 2nd National Private Well Conference May 21-23, 2019 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. There were over 120 attendees from 33 states at the event, which featured 25 presentations, a driller's panel, and a dozen 5-minute lightning talks.

  • Soils are still too warm for safe and effective fall fertilizer application

    Favorable weather has helped push Illinois’ fall harvest progress well ahead of normal. As a result, producers may be considering early application of fall fertilizer following harvest. University of Illinois experts caution that fall nitrogen fertilizer application on soils warmer than 50 degrees can result in loss of effectiveness and potential environmental issues. 

  • Soil moisture levels rose in mid-May

    Soils are wetter in Illinois from mid-May showers

    Recent rains have caused soil moisture levels to rise in most of Illinois, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) program manager at the Illinois State Water Survey.

  • Water Survey to analyze flood risks in Bureau County, Illinois

    Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) hydrologic and hydraulic modeling in the Villages of Tiskilwa and Walnut (Bureau County, Illinois) is underway as part of a study to help local communities identify areas of high flood risk for flood mitigation planning.

  • Cooler soil temperatures in mid-April

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    Warmer, wetter winter leaves crop pest picture unclear

    A warmer, wetter winter has caused higher than normal soil temperatures across the state, which could be helping agriculture pests survive the season.

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    Illinois’ soils are cooler and drier in mid-April

    Colder weather entering Illinois has caused soil temperatures to fall, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) program manager at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey.

  • Water Survey to analyze flood risks in Massac County, Illinois

    The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) announced today that new hydrologic and hydraulic modeling in Massac County, Illinois is underway as part of a study to help local communities identify areas of high flood risk for flood mitigation planning.

  • flooded river

    Water Survey to analyze flood risks along the Wabash River

    The Illinois State Water Survey (announced today that new hydrologic and hydraulic modeling of the Wabash River and select tributaries is underway as part of a study to help local communities identify high flood-risk areas within the Lower Wabash and Middle Wabash-Busseron watersheds for flood mitigation planning in Illinois.

  • floodwaters covering most of a traffic sign

    Water Survey to analyze flood risks in McDonough County

    The Illinois State Water Survey will be conducting hydrologic and hydraulic modeling in McDonough County, Illinois, as part of a study to help local communities identify areas of high flood risk.

  • Rock Island county map of structure-based flood risk assessment

    FEMA honors Water Survey and Illinois Department of Natural Resources

    The Illinois State Water Survey and the Office of Water Resources in the Illinois Department of Natural Resources took first place in FEMA’s 2021 National Cooperating Technical Partner Recognition Award for their statewide efforts to assess flood risk at the individual property level. 

  • girl drinking water

    Water Survey analyzes home water supplies

    When Illinoisans with private wells have questions about their home water supply, the Water Survey’s Public Service Lab can provide answers. Our lab can analyze water from any Illinois well, checking for parameters including calcium, magnesium, iron, arsenic, manganese, sodium, hardness, total dissolved solids, alkalinity, color, turbidity, fluoride, chloride, nitrate, and sulfate. 

  • Illinois State Water Survey celebrates 125 years of water and weather research

    ISWS kicks off 125th anniversary year

    The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) held the first of five statewide events commemorating 125 Years of Water and Weather on Feb. 4 in Champaign.

  • TapTalk icon

    Water Survey team launches podcast for drinking water professionals

    The team behind WaterOperator.org and Private Well Class is launching a new podcast to strengthen connections between the many stakeholders involved in ensuring that every American has water that is safe to drink. The first two episodes of Tap Talk: The Drinking Water in Rural America Podcast are available now! 

  • ISWS is Pioneer in Tracking Tornadoes by Radar

    The Illinois State Water Survey played a key role in developing tornado-tracking technology used today to issue warnings of impending severe storms.  While testing radar equipment to measure rainfall rates in 1953, ISWS meteorologists were the first to photograph and document a hook echo, a classic sign of tornado development.

  • irrigation system watering young plants in a field

    Time for Illinoisans to report irrigation water use

    The deadline is approaching for Illinoisans to report their 2021 irrigation water use to the Illinois Water Inventory Program. The deadline for individual reporting is Jan. 1, 2022, while aggregate reports are due by March 1, 2022.

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    Soils are warming and drying in mid-May

    After a cooling spell last weekend, soil temperatures are once again rising in Illinois, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) Program manager at the Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois.

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    Soils cooler in October

    Soil temperatures have fallen across the state as October brought cooler weather, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) program manager at the Illinois State Water Survey.

    Soil temperatures at 4 inches under sod averaged 57 degrees on Oct. 16, 2 degrees below the long-term average for mid-October. Temperatures have been steadily falling throughout the month, dropping 18 degrees since Oct. 1. Daily highs have ranged from the mid 50s to low 60s.

  • Soils are drying out across Illinois in October

    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.

  • Midwest Heavy Rain and Flooding is Compared to 1993 Flood

    The recent heavy rain in the Midwest and flooding in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Missouri are drawing comparisons with the weather and events associated with the Great Flood of 1993 on the Mississippi River, according to Steve Hilberg, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC) at the Illinois State Water Survey. Climatologists there have compared 2008 weather events with what occurred in 1993 to place the current situation in perspective.

  • Users of data on Illinois environmental conditions will now register for access

    Starting this month, users will be asked to register to access data on Illinois’ weather, soil, and water conditions on the University of Illinois’ Water & Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) program website. Data are still free of charge.

  • Soils are drier for most of Illinois in mid-July

    Illinois soils have been drying out after the wet weather at the end of June, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) program manager at the Illinois State Water Survey.

  • Water Survey to analyze flood risks in Macoupin County, Illinois

    Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) hydrologic and hydraulic modeling in Macoupin County, Illinois, is underway as part of a study to help local communities identify areas of high flood risk for flood mitigation planning.

  • Short-Term Weather Lore Holds a Kernel of Truth

    Before the Internet, The Weather Channel, and NOAA radios, our ancestors relied on nature to tell its tale of upcoming weather. Moss growing on the south side of trees and squirrels hiding their nuts deep underground were thought to foretell a severe winter ahead.

    Some natural prognostications like these are grounded in truth, given our current knowledge of meteorology, but others are purely fiction, according to State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Water Survey to analyze flood risks in Boone and Winnebago counties

    Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) hydrologic and hydraulic modeling in Boone and Winnebago Counties, Illinois is underway as part of a study to help local communities identify areas of high flood risk for flood mitigation planning.

  • A grass field at dawn

    Soil temperatures are near normal in mid-August

    Soil temperatures have returned to near normal after a cool start in August, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) program manager at the Illinois State Water Survey.

  • cropped map of Chicagoland water sources

    Water Survey maps complex web of water use in Illinois

    Scientists at the Illinois State Water Survey have developed an interactive map of where every community in Illinois gets its water. Sources include Lake Michigan, rivers and reservoirs, and groundwater.

  • Annual precipitation records were broken across the Midwest

    More than 120 stations across the Midwest had their wettest year on record in 2018, according to the Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC) at the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS). 

  • Illinois soil conditions are hot and dry in June

    Warmer weather has led to higher than normal soil temperatures for Illinois in June.

  • December in Illinois: Tornadoes, warm temperatures, and little snow

    With warmer than average temperatures, December 2018 brought slight snowfall and a historic late-season severe weather outbreak to Illinois.

  • April 2018 was second-coldest on record for Illinois

    Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel reports that the statewide average temperature for Illinois in april was 44.7 degrees, 7.9 degrees below normal. The only colder April on records was in 1907, with an average temperature of 43.1.

  • Soil temperatures cooler in May but are rising

    Cooler weather led to a decline in soil temperatures in the first half of May, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) program manager at the Illinois State Water Survey.

  • Warmest May on record for Illinois

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    Illinois soils are warmer, drier in mid-July

    Soils in mid-July are continuing to warm across the state, surpassing average temperatures from last year, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) Program manager at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey.

  • Soybeans ready for harvest

    Illinois has cooler, wetter soils in mid-September

    Soil temperatures have cooled the first half of September. Wetter weather the past two weeks has led to increases in soil moisture for northern and central Illinois. 

  • Record-Breaking Wet February in Illinois