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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

     

     

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Buying a home in Illinois? You'll need PRI for that.

    Nearly 150,000 homes were sold in Illinois last year. For every Illinois home sold, the Prairie Research Institute provides data needed for banks, title companies, insurance companies, and consumers to make informed decisions about home ownership. 

  • State Climatologist says 2020 is off to a warmer, wetter start

    According to State Climatologist Trent Ford, January 2020 was warmer and wetter than average across the state. The preliminary statewide average January temperature was 31.4 degrees, the 17th warmest on record going back to 1895. The preliminary statewide average total January precipitation was 4.41 inches, the 9th wettest on record.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • Water Survey commemorates 125th anniversary

    A series of free half-day seminars will be offered across the state this year to commemorate the Illinois State Water Survey’s 125th anniversary. Seminars will highlight critical water, weather, and climate issues of Illinois. 

  • Warm, dry December concludes a cold, wet year

    December temperatures were well above the long-term average across the state, breaking dozens of local daily maximum and minimum temperature records. The preliminary statewide December average temperature was 35.2 degrees, about 5 degrees above the 1981-2010 normal and the 18th warmest on record. 

  • Jo Daviess County collaboration tackles water quality

    With its unique geology marked by sinkholes, crevices, and caves, Jo Daviess County is highly susceptible to water contamination. Scientists from the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) and Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) are using their expertise and collaborating with a local organization to help citizens understand water quality issues and protect their water supplies.

  • Cold November brings an end to meteorological autumn

    November temperatures were well below the long-term average across the state, breaking hundreds of local daily records. The preliminary statewide November average temperature was 35.6 degrees, about 7 degrees below our 30-year normal and tied for the ninth coldest on record.

  • Project features home assessments for flood risks

    Scientists studying and mapping flood hazards have long identified whole neighborhoods that are vulnerable to flooding, but with new data, researchers at the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) can specify flood risk for individual homes and businesses.

  • Welcome new Water Survey staff!

    Since the beginning of the year the Water Survey has hired more than a dozen new people, expanding its capabilities and capacity.

  • October broke records for both heat and cold

    State Climatologist Trent Fords reports that Illinois saw highly variable temperatures in October, with record-breaking heat in the early part of the month and record-breaking cold in the latter part.

  • 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.