Prairie Research Institute News

blog navigation

Water Survey

blog posts

  • 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.

  • winter scene in the woods

    A wild February ended an otherwise mild winter

    The cold season came with a vengeance in February, bringing bitter cold and snow across the state. The preliminary statewide average February temperature was 20.0 degrees, 11.1 degrees below the 1991–2020 average.

  • brown marmorated stinkbug

    Improved pest degree day calculators are available for the 2021 growing season

    Two updated pest degree day calculators from the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) are now available for commodity and specialty crop growers in Illinois, featuring seven-day weather forecasts, graphs, and insect emergence maps to track accumulated degree days and light for the most notorious pests.

  • snow-covered trees hanging over a path

    A mostly mild January ends with winter storms in Illinois

    January was quite a bit warmer and slightly wetter than average across the state, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey.

  • ISWS watershed science team tackles new projects

    Ongoing projects in watershed science continue to contribute to long-term databases, while new projects tackle some of today’s tough challenges.

  • frost on evergreen branch

    December brought warm and dry weather to end 2020

  • 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.

  • map of Illinois average temperature for November 2020

    November brings a warm end to fall

    According to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford, November was much warmer and slightly drier than average across Illinois. The preliminary statewide average November temperature was 46.6 degrees, 4.1 degrees above the 30-year normal and tied for the ninth warmest on record. Preliminary statewide average total precipitation for November was 2.94 inches, 0.53 inches less than the 30-year normal, and the 70th driest on record.

  • corn being harvested

    Soils remain warm in mid-November

    November soil temperatures in Illinois are warmer than normal, with the average temperature at 4 inches under bare soil reaching 48 degrees on Nov. 15, 7 degrees warmer than the long-term average. 

  • PRI scientists bring expertise to study of critical interfaces

    PRI scientists from the Illinois State Water Survey and Illinois State Geological Survey are part of a collaborative project to study “critical interfaces” in the environment.

  • Cool fall temperatures continued in October

    October was much cooler than average across Illinois, 2.6 degrees below the 30-year normal for the month, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey. The preliminary statewide average October temperature was 51.8 degrees.

  • orange irrigation pipe

    Reporting program collects data on water use in Illinois

    Scientists investigating present and future water resources in Illinois find a wealth of data through the Illinois Water Inventory Program (IWIP), which collects data from users of high-capacity intakes and wells in Illinois.

  • 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.

  • Leaves turning colors

    September weather was slightly cooler and wetter than average in Illinois

    The preliminary statewide average September temperature was 65.4 degrees, 0.8 degrees below the 30-year normal, and tied for the 45th coolest on record. Preliminary statewide average total precipitation for August was 3.39 inches, 0.16 inches more than the 30-year normal, and the 58th wettest on record.

  • physical model in which vertical rods extend from a map to show groundwater level changes in the Joliet, Illinois, area

    ISWS innovates in analysis and visualization of groundwater data

    Water Survey staff have developed innovative ways to analyze and visualize groundwater data, from painstakingly soldered flow models using electricity, to digital flow models like the widely used Prickett-Lonnquist Aquifer Simulation Model (PLASM), to more recent interactive maps and a new approach to developing potentiometric surfaces using MODFLOW.

  • 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. 

  • View of New York City from the East River.

    NOAA draws on ISWS expertise for climate model update

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is tapping the expertise of the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) to finish a multi-year collaboration updating climate model projections for its Atlas 14, which serves as the benchmark for precipitation frequency values across the United States.

  • Corn field and blue sky

    Growing degree day calculator provides site-specific weather data

    The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) growing degree day (GDD) calculator is updated daily through local weather stations for users to calculate projections on crop development and maturity specifically for their location.

  • clouds with pink lining

    State Climatologist: Varied temperatures and rainfall and a derecho make for a wild August

    August was slightly cooler and much drier than average across Illinois. The preliminary statewide average August temperature was 72.7 degrees, 0.9 degrees below the 30-year normal and the 45th coolest on record. Preliminary statewide average total precipitation for August was 2.01 inches, 1.58 inches below than the 30-year normal and the 15th driest on record.

  • brown grass on lawn

    Illinois team contributes to vital weekly drought assessment

    Determing which areas of the U.S. and of Illinois are experiencing drought is a critical function of the U.S. Drought Monitor. A team of Illinois scientists led by Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford provides input on the state drought determination every week. 

     

     

  • 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.

  • Warmer fall temperatures don’t eliminate risk of early fall freeze

    Temperatures in September and October have risen for decades in the Midwest; however, early fall freeze events have occurred despite the increasing temperatures.

  • State Climatologist: An active July continues a warm summer

    July was warmer and wetter than average across Illinois, continuing a warmer than average summer season. The preliminary statewide average July temperature was 77.2 degrees, 1.8 degrees above the 30-year normal. Preliminary statewide average total precipitation for July was 5.79 inches, 1.71 inches wetter than normal.

  • corn fields

    Corn fields add to muggy, humid Midwestern temps

    It’s not just the heat; it’s the humidity and “corn sweat” making muggy Midwestern summers feel even hotter.

  • Corn growing in the field

    Soils are warmer than normal for Illinois in mid-July

    Warmer weather in early July has led to higher than normal soil temperatures in Illinois, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) program manager at the Illinois State Water Survey.

  • Study shows future climate changes in wind patterns vary by U.S. region and season

    The Midwest is a particularly promising region for future wind energy development out to 2100 when accounting for climate change, according to a new study at the University of Illinois.

  • the water testing laboratory at the Water Survey

    ISWS analysis can provide answers to water questions

    When Illinoisans have questions about their home water supply, the Water Survey’s Public Service Lab can provide answers. The Water Survey’s chemists customize each water analysis depending on where the water came from, how it will be used, and the symptoms of the problem. 

  • 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.

  • Reflection of Building on Body of Water at Daytime

    The impact of Bulletin 75

    As Illinois experiences a third consecutive year of record-breaking rainfall stretching from Chicago to Cairo, researchers at the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) have updated the publication that provides Illinois’ standards for expected extreme storms, known as Bulletin 75.

  • June was mostly warm and dry across the state.

    Summer started mostly warm and dry in Illinois

    The preliminary statewide average June temperature was 73.7 degrees, 1.8 degrees above the 30-year normal, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey. The preliminary statewide average total June precipitation was 3.70 inches, 0.51 inches below the 30-year normal.

  • ISTC and ISWS Director Kevin OBrien with University of Illinois System President Timothy Killeen at City, Water, Light, and Power in Springfield, Illinois.

    Carbon capture collaborations lead clean energy drive

    The Prairie Research Institute — is leading a drive to implement CO2 removal strategies, an essential step to a clean-energy future. 

  • Google Earth image of the shooting range showing the actual flood extent.

    Case study on flooding highlights usefulness of topographical tool

    After a downpour in early June, Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) hydrographer Ryan Meekma compared images from the Topographic Wetness Index (TWI), which outlines low-lying areas in Illinois that could flood, with actual flooding at a gun range in Champaign, Illinois, to study the tool’s effectiveness.

  • 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.

  • May was cool and wet in Illinois

    Cool, wet May ends wet spring

    May was much colder and moderately wetter than average across Illinois, bringing an end to a wet climatological spring season. The preliminary statewide average May temperature was 60.5 degrees, 2.2 degrees below the 30-year normal and the 39th coldest on record. Preliminary statewide average total precipitation for May was 5.41 inches, 0.81 inches wetter than the 30-year normal and the 25th wettest on record.

  • 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.

  • Illinois mp of water supply planning regions.

    Water Supply Planning team helps Illinois meet water needs

    Due to projected growth of the population and economy, Illinois could require 20 to 50 percent more water in coming decades. Ensuring adequate and reliable supplies of clean water for all requires us to think ahead. We need to know how much water will be available, how much water we will need, what the options are for providing additional supplies, reducing demand, and what the impacts and costs will be.

    Since 2006 the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has tasked the Water Survey with leading regional water supply planning activities for 11 Illinois regions. Learn more about the team that carries out this important activity.

  • New hydrologic and hydraulic modeling in McHenry County, Illinois is underway.

    Water Survey to analyze flood risks in McHenry County, Illinois

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

  • frost on flower bud

    April's temperature roller coaster ends colder, wetter than average

    According to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford, April ended colder and wetter than average across the state. The preliminary statewide average April temperature was 49.2 degrees, 3.4 degrees below the 30-year normal and tied for the 27th coldest on record going back to 1895. The preliminary statewide average total April precipitation was 4.36 inches, 0.58 inches above than the 30-year normal and the 43rd wettest on record.

  • illinois temperature maps first half of april and second half of april

    State Climatologist reported that April temperatures and precipitation fluctuated in Illinois

    The preliminary statewide average April temperature was 49.2 degrees, 3.4 degrees below the 30-year normal and tied for the 27th coldest on record going back to 1895. The preliminary statewide average total April precipitation was 4.36 inches, 0.58 inches above than the 30-year normal and the 43rd wettest on record.

  • ""

    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.

  • 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.

  • Ask me anything: WARM team

    Environmental chemist Jennie Atkins manages the Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) Program, which monitors and measures Illinois' waters, soils, and climate. WARM works with municipalities, industries, state agencies, and environmental groups to develop monitoring plans to address major watershed issues. 

  • Rethinking short-term droughts in Illinois

    While there is no universally accepted definition of drought, contemporary definitions look at a percentage of precipitation over a protracted period of time, in most cases over the course of a year. Some say this approach leaves people and communities vulnerable to a different type of drought – flash droughts.

  • broken umbrella in muddy field

    March was warmer with above average precipitation in Illinois

    March was warmer and wetter than average across the state, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • ""

    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.

  • snowdrop flowers in snowing earth

    State Climatologist reports that a typical February ends an otherwise atypical winter

    February was slightly warmer and wetter than average across Illinois, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford.

  • storm clouds over a field

    World Data Centre for Precipitation Chemistry finds a new home at ISWS

    The Illinois State Water Survey is the new home of the World Data Centre for Precipitation Chemistry, which receives and archives precipitation chemistry data and complementary information from stations across the globe.

  • 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.