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  • October brought real fall to Illinois this year

    October in 2021 was warm and rainy, putting a damper on fall festivities in Illinois, but this year’s October did not disappoint fall lovers, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey. Temperatures and precipitation were below average.

  • Water Survey receives grant to sample wells in disadvantaged areas of Chicago

    Evan Rea, head of the Health and Environmental Applications Laboratory (HEAL) at the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (U. of I.), was recently awarded a grant by the U. of I. Chancellor’s Office to sample private wells in the Chicago metro area. The Chancellor’s Call to Action to Address Racism & Social Injustice Research Program provides $2 million annually to U. of I. researchers to support projects that address systematic racism and social justice, law enforcement and criminal justice reform, and disparities in health and health care.

  • September brought mild, dry conditions to Illinois

    Illinoisans experienced mild temperatures in the first half of September, followed by summer-like conditions and then a cooler week to finish off the month, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey. The average state rainfall amount was slightly below normal.

  • Illinois soil temperatures are cool in mid-September

    Soil temperatures fell during the first two weeks of September as cooler weather moved into the state. 

  • State Climatologist: A mild August wraps up summer in Illinois

    Mild temperatures in August this year in Illinois followed a heatwave in May, above average temperatures in June, and a cooler July.

  • Illinois soils are cooler in mid-August

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

  • Eric R. Larson and Sally McConkey standing in the U. of I.’s Red Oak Rain Garden. Photo by Fred Zwicky

    How do we measure community disaster resilience?

    In a new study, retired Illinois State Water Survey engineer Sally McConkey and Eric R. Larson, a professor of natural resources and environmental sciences, examined the metrics used at a county scale for national assessments to determine whether communities are prepared to withstand and recover from natural disasters such as floods and fires. 

  • State Climatologist: July brought its typical calamity in Illinois

    Rain inundated the south-central and northern parts of Illinois in July, causing flooding, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey.

  • Scientists to build toolkit addressing climate change and environmental justice in Chicago communities

    With new funding from NASA, a University of Illinois team of scientists will use NASA Earth science and localized social data to develop an innovative, multi-sector geospatial environmental justice toolkit for urban decision making in the Chicago region.

  • Leaves turn at Volo Bog Nature Preserve in the fall. Photo credit: Bill Batalden

    Groundwater experts help industries and nature preserves thrive

    The ISGS and ISWS began monitoring the intersections between industry and the state-protected nature preserves in 1998, letting science and groundwater testing lead the way. Then-graduate student Randy Locke embarked on what was intended to be a two-year groundwater monitoring project; that project is now in its 24th year and has expanded to 414 dedicated nature preserves across 62,270 acres in Illinois.

  • Illinois’ June weather was hotter and drier than average

    June temperatures in Illinois were above normal with a prolonged heat wave mid-month, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey. The rainfall was below normal for June.

  • June soils are hot and dry across Illinois

    Illinois’ soils are warm and dry in mid-June after record-breaking hot weather blanketed the state.

  • Complex Hydraulic Flow Patterns of Cache River

    Data from the sky inform flood planning

    CHAMP is at the helm of one of the largest 2D models in Illinois, spanning five southern Illinois counties – Johnson, Pope, Massac, Pulaski, and Alexander. The extremely flat topography of this region, known as the Cache River Valley, follows the Cache River system and the historic path of the Ohio River that’s been heavily manipulated by humans over time.

  • water pipe

    ISWS-Waterly partnership digitizes groundwater data

    Leveraging Waterly software will allow the ISWS groundwater science team to acquire almost real-time water pumping data that will amplify the team’s ability to forecast aquifer changes and gain a better understanding of current and future water risks across Illinois.

  • May brought spring and a taste of summer to Illinois

    Illinois temperatures in May varied from periods of below average to periods of far above average, breaking records across the state, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey. Rainfall was slightly below normal in May statewide.

  • Soils are dry with warmer weather in May

    Hotter weather in the first half of May has caused warmer, drier soils across Illinois.

  • Bondville weather station

    Bondville weather station has a long history of research partnerships

    Like clockwork, monitoring towers and scientific gadgets run continuously at the Bondville Environmental and Atmospheric Research Site (BEARS) in central Illinois, gathering data on current weather, climate, and atmospheric conditions. The facility caters mainly to government agencies and university researchers, offering services that few other weather stations provide.

  • April conditions in Illinois featured colder weather and frequent rainfall

    April was colder than normal in Illinois, with freezing temperatures occurring into mid-month and as far south as St. Louis Metro East, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey. Rainfall in April was frequent but averaged near normal statewide for the month.

  • Water Survey to analyze flood risks in Rock Island County, Illinois

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

  • Soils in Illinois are cool and wet in mid-April

    Illinois soils remain cooler and wetter than normal in mid-April, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) program manager at the Illinois State Water Survey.

  • Temperature swings were typical for March in Illinois

    As is typical for March weather, Illinois temperatures varied from day to day, with an average statewide temperature 1.5 degrees above normal, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey. March average precipitation was 1.32 inches above normal.

  • PRI scientists provide winter soil conditions and an insect pest forecast for Illinois

    Near-average winter soil and air temperatures are an indication that crop insect pests may have survived the cold in Illinois, according to scientists Jennie Atkins and Kelly Estes at the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) at the University of Illinois.

  • An active February finishes climatological winter

    The preliminary statewide average February temperature was 27.2 degrees, 3.0 degrees below the 1991–2020 average and tied for 42nd coldest on record going back to 1895. The preliminary statewide average total February precipitation was 3.41 inches, 1.48 inches above the 1991–2020 average and the 9th wettest on record statewide.  

  • National Science Foundation funds project to improve weather forecasts for cities

    Scientists at the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) have begun a new project that will ultimately improve weather forecasting of severe storms and heatwaves in cities across the US.

  • 2022 begins with a dry and cold January

    The preliminary statewide average January temperature was 21.1 degrees, 5.6 degrees below the 1991–2020 average. The preliminary statewide average total January precipitation was 1.17 inches, 1.14 inches below normal.

  • a hand clad in a purple latex glove holds a small snake against a grassy backdrop

    PRI offers applied science internships for summer 2022

    PRI is offering hands-on summer internships that will enable undergraduate students from populations underrepresented in graduate study at Illinois to explore careers in applied science. There are opportunities in atmospheric science and climate; biology, ecology, and environmental science; geology; sustainable energy; and water supply and safety. To see all of the internship options and to apply, visit https://go.illinois.edu/PRI-interns

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

    Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) hydrologic and hydraulic modeling in Boone, DeKalb, Ogle 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.

  • Scientist-community interaction is a boon for water supply planning

    When it comes to water supply planning, stakeholders want to know when their community will be at risk for water shortages. Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) scientists involved in community groundwater modeling are touting the value of engaging those stakeholders to reduce uncertainty and help them understand how the models work.

  • December 2021 was exceptionally warm

    Provisional data show December was among the top 5 warmest on record in Illinois, with no snow on Christmas.

  • State Climatologist provides context on December tornadoes

    Severe thunderstorms developed in the late afternoon, evening, and night of Dec. 10, resulting in strong tornadoes in Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Storm Prediction Center listed 85 tornadoes nationwide from the Dec. 10 outbreak, including 12 in Illinois. Also, six deaths were reported in the state.

  • Temperature changes were common throughout November in Illinois

    The preliminary statewide average November temperature was 40.7 degrees, 1.0 degree below the 1991–2020 average and 53rd coldest on record going back to 1895. The preliminary statewide average total November precipitation was 1.00 inch, 2.31 inches below the 1991–2020 average and the 9th driest on record.  

  • October in Illinois had warm temperatures and plenty of rain

    October 2021 in Illinois was the eighth warmest and the fourth wettest October on record going back to 1895, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey.

  • ISWS researcher contributes to award-winning Chicago Regional Climate Action Planning Partnership

    Illinois State Water Survey climate researcher Ashish Sharma contributed his expertise on climate change and its impacts on urban communities and associated solutions to the recently released Climate Action Plan for the Chicago Region. Last week the collaborative group behind the plan, which includes non-profits, universities, Argonne National Laboratory and municipalities, received a 2021 Climate Leadership Award from the Climate Registry and Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

  • Illinois soils are warmer and wetter in mid-October

    A wet October has caused soil moisture to rise across the state.

  • 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. 

  • A warm, dry September extended summer in Illinois

    The statewide average temperature of 69.4 degrees in September was 2.6 degrees above average, but the humidity was lower than in the previous months. 

  • 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.

  • Researchers study radium in aquifers of north-central Illinois

    Walt Kelly, Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) groundwater geochemist, answered questions about the findings of his recent study on radium levels in groundwater of the St. Peter Sandstone aquifer, with a study area in north-central Illinois. Radium levels are above the drinking water standard in many community water supply wells open to the aquifer.

  • Mid-September soils across Illinois were warmer and drier than normal

    Soils remained warm in mid-September because of hotter than normal weather across Illinois. 

  • 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! 

  • Hot and stormy end to summer

    August temperatures were largely above normal across Illinois. Because of the heat and humidity, August precipitation was accompanied by frequent severe weather events including several tornadoes, hail, and strong winds.

  • Water Survey simulation of Aug. 12 Gibson City flood

    Water Survey simulation matches progress of Gibson City flood

    A model simulation produced by the Illinois State Water Survey shows the progression of the flood in Gibson City from the morning to the evening of Aug. 12, 2021

  • Illinois soils are slightly cooler in mid-August

    Soil temperatures have decreased in mid-August as cooler weather moved into the state.

  • COVID-19 virus

    Sampling sewer water for COVID-19 in the community 

    Illinois State Water Survey researchers are part of a project to look for traces of SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in sewer water in order to help monitor the spread of infection.  

  • July brought high humidity and above average rainfall

    Rainfall was above average in July in Illinois with slightly cooler temperatures and very high humidity, even by recent climate standards, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey.

  • 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.

  • Irrigation equipment over a wheat field

    Integrating surface water and groundwater modeling

    Water Survey researchers are exploring ways to simulate the interactions between groundwater and surface water by combining existing modeling technology, including investigating how groundwater elevations change in response to storm events and subsequent river rises.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • Chicago skyline

    Climate studies focus on a new priority: urban areas

    Climate change affects cities, and cities affect the climate. Urban areas are hotspots for heat waves, flooding, and air pollution that ultimately affect human health and welfare. Scientists at the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) study the relationship between cities and climate to determine ways to make cities more resilient to these challenges.