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  • 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. 

  • 2021 research report highlights Water Survey work in key strategic areas

    The Water Survey's annual research report highlights the work of our scientists in key areas, including public health,  community resiliency, surface and groundwater, climate and atmospheric science, and the nexus of water and sustainable energy. Download the Water Survey's 2021 Research Report

  • 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.

  • June brought all kinds of weather to start the summer in Illinois

    June in Illinois started out particularly warm and ended with above average rainfall from numerous storms, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey.

  • Illinois soil conditions are hot and dry in June

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

  • 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.

  • May brought a cool end to a warm spring

    May temperatures varied substantially across Illinois, with an average temperature 2.5 degrees below the 30-year normal, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • April brought a mix of winter, spring, and summer weather

    Illinois temperatures varied considerably in April from way above to significantly below normal, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey.

  • Corn stalks in summer

    Climatologist: Vegetation plays a role in developing flash droughts

    Farmland vegetation and grasses can affect both the frequency and extent of flash droughts, say scientists at the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS), who hope to better understand the phenomenon and improve early warnings.

  • PRI experts help assess climate change impact on Illinois

    Illinois is undergoing a rapid change in weather patterns that has started to transform the state, according to a new scientific assessment by The Nature Conservancy in Illinois. Scientific experts from across PRI contributed to the report, including Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford; Water Survey scientists Daniel Abram, Walt Kelly, Momcilo Markus, Sally McConkey, and Ashish Sharma; and Natural History Survey scientists Sergiusz Czesny, Jim Ellis, Chris Stone, and John Taft.

    Read more about the report and its findings from the Nature Conservancy.

  • watershed management areas map

    Water Survey helps Cook County manage stormwater

    Experts from the Illinois State Water Survey support the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago in making informed watershed management decisions for a vast service area that includes 128 suburban communities in Cook County. 

  • Mild March was quite a contrast to February

    The preliminary statewide average March temperature was 45.9 degrees, 4.5 degrees above the 1991–2020 average and the 13th warmest on record going back to 1895. Preliminary statewide average total March precipitation was 4.10 inches, 1.16 inches above the 1991–2020 average and the 30th wettest on record going back to 1895.  

  • map of Illinois flood insurance rate map status by county

    FEMA recognizes Water Survey's significant contributions as a Cooperating Technical Partner

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently praised the Water Survey’s accomplishments as a Cooperating Technical Partner, including improving the flood mapping process in Illinois and developing accurate, easily accessible flood data for every county in Illinois. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Lead sampling kit

    Testing for lead in private wells

    To prevent public health crises that result from widespread lead contamination in drinking water, community water supplies are required to closely monitor their drinking water quality. 

  • 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.