Prairie Research Institute News

blog navigation

Illinois State Water Survey

blog posts

  • Soil temperatures and moisture levels declining in early March

  • Soil temperatures this winter in Illinois were warmer than normal

  • 2018 Celebration of Excellence

    On April 11, the Prairie Research Institute honored employees for their outstanding achievements and excellent work. Selection committees composed of staff from across the organization reviewed multiple strong nominations before selecting the 2018 honorees.

  • Water Survey to receive $1M for rural outreach programs

    The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) will receive more than $1 million in funding through 2021 to support its drinking water outreach programs for private well owners and small, rural communities.

  • 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.

  • ISWS investigates the potential for stormwater credit trading in Cook County

    In 2017, The Metropolitan Planning Council, The Nature Conservancy, and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District in Cook County collaborated on a feasibility study to consider stormwater credit trading as an alternative to creating on-site facilities for site development or redevelopment. As part of this study, the collaborators contracted a team of engineers and hydrologists at the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS), joined by U of I Department of Landscape Architecture staff, to assess the land area that has the potential for off-site stormwater management facilities in suburban Cook County

  • Record-Breaking Wet February in Illinois

  • Cooler soil temperatures in mid-April

  • Network now monitors air temperature inversions in several locations

  • Fourth wettest February-March on record in 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.

  • January in Illinois was cold and dry

    January in Illinois was colder and drier than normal without much snow, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois.

  • Central Illinois weather station is upgraded to track air pollution particles

    After 23 years of data collection on atmospheric conditions at the Bondville Environmental and Atmospheric Research Site, a team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration worked with scientists at the Prairie Research Institute to move the monitoring system to a new temperature-controlled building.

  • Soil temperatures across Illinois are rising

  • Upwind Lakes Can Influence the Intensity of Lake-Effect Snowstorms over Downwind Lakes

    Research shows that small lakes even hundreds of miles away can cause lake-effect snows to intensify around the Great Lakes, a phenomenon that may occur more often with climate change, according to David Kristovich, head of the Center for Atmospheric Science at the Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois.

  • Warm year in Illinois ends with a cold, dry December

    2017 was the sixth warmest year on record in Illinois with a statewide average temperature of 54.3 degrees, or 2 degrees above normal, in spite of the very cold ending to December.

  • State Climatologist Digs up Historical Weather Records for Illinois

    The oldest official weather records ever found in Illinois, dating back to 1820, reveal temperature data that showed remarkable accuracy given the technology of the day, according to State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS).

  • September in Illinois: Cooler and Wetter than Normal

    September was the first cooler and wetter than normal month in 2012, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign

  • Groundwater is plentiful for water supplies in future years, but surface water may be lacking, especially for Springfield, putting East-Central Illinois communities at risk for water shortages in a serious drought, according to George Roadcap, Hydrogeologist with the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) in the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Study Identifies Cities Where Water Shortages May be a Future Issue in East-Central Illinois

    Groundwater is plentiful for water supplies in future years, but surface water may be lacking, especially for Springfield, putting East-Central Illinois communities at risk for water shortages in a serious drought, according to George Roadcap, Hydrogeologist with the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) in the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Soil Temperatures in Illinois Normal So Far This Winter

    Soil temperatures across the state have been near normal on average so far this winter, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Manager at the Illinois State Water Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois.

  • 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.

  • Illinois State Water Survey to Inventory Private Wells in McLean and Tazewell Counties – Well Owners Asked to Help

    The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) is set to conduct an inventory of private wells in the rural areas surrounding Armington, Congerville, Danvers, Deer Creek, Goodfield, Hopedale, Mackinaw, McLean, Minier, Morton, and Stanford to determine water levels, pump settings, and well depths for all local wells.

  • Thunderstorms Produce Tsunami-like Waves in the Great Lakes

    Spring and summer storms that create thunder and lightning on land also cause tsunami-like waves on the Great Lakes, bringing water surges onshore and jeopardizing docked boats and beach lovers, according to David Kristovich, head of the Climate and Atmospheric Science section with the Illinois State Water Survey, Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois.

  • Surveyors Collect Data on Home Elevations in North-Central Illinois for Flood Risk Project

    As part of an Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) project to determine the risk of flooding for individual homes and businesses in floodplains, licensed surveyors will visit properties to measure the height of structures from late June to July for two pilot areas in the City of Ottawa and the City of Moline.

  • 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.

  • Study Shows NE Illinois Should Have Enough Water to 2050

    Water supplies in NE Illinois should be adequate for the next 40 years, yet communities should still analyze their own situations and work with neighboring communities to avoid conflicts in the years ahead, according to Scott Meyer, hydrologist with the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) at the University of Illinois.

  • Researchers Track Mercury in Fish from Illinois Streams

    Mercury concentrations in small fish from Illinois streams have decreased since the turn of the 20th century, but mercury pollution persists in the environment, even in rural areas far from mercury sources, according to findings from a study conducted by scientists from the Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois.

  • Midwest Sets Record Cold Temperatures in July

    This was the coldest July on record for the nine-state Midwest region, based on preliminary temperature data. The average temperature for the region was 68.0 degrees, 4.7 degrees below normal. The previous record was 68.9 degrees in 1992, according to Mike Timlin, Regional Climatologist with the NOAA Midwestern Regional Climate Center (http://mrcc.isws.illinois.edu).

  • Soil Moisture Levels Increased in Southern Illinois with the Weekend Rains

    Soil moisture levels in southern Illinois increased over the weekend as the region saw more than 3 inches of rain at some locations, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) Program Manager at the Illinois State Water Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois.

  • PRI researchers gain new insights into how groundwater flows within the Illinois Basin

    A conceptual model of water movement in rock layers many feet underground, published by Prairie Research Institute scientists, shows for the first time that water is flowing steadily south through the thick sequence of rock layers that form the Illinois Basin.

  • Arsenic in Private Wells is Hot Topic at ISWS Water Testing Lab

    September 18 is World Water Monitoring Day

    Since the national drinking water standard for arsenic became more stringent in 2006, arsenic in Illinois groundwater has become a health concern, especially for private well owners. Community water supplies are government-regulated, but private well owners must monitor their own water for safety, according to Brian Kaiser, associate chemist at the Illinois State Water Survey Public Service Laboratory at the University of Illinois Institute for Resource Sustainability.

  • Illinois in 2012: Second Warmest and Tenth Driest on Record

    The year 2012 will long be remembered for the drought and the exceptionally warm temperatures. While the data for December are still preliminary, 2012 was the second warmest and tenth driest year on record for Illinois, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois.

  • 2006 Ranks as 9th Warmest Year for Illinois

    "Based on preliminary data, temperatures of 54.0°F statewide (1.8°F above 30-year normals) made 2006 the 9th warmest year in Illinoissince 1895. This was largely the result of a record-setting January last year with an average temperature of 37.9°F, 13.3°F above normal," said State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

  • December 2010 in Illinois–Cold and Snowy

    The statewide average temperature for December was 24.0 degrees, which is 5.8 degrees below normal. This ranks as the 12th coldest December on record, according to State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.isws.illinois.edu).

  • December in Illinois: Warm with Little Snow

    The statewide average temperature for December 2011 in Illinois was 35.7 degrees, 5.9 degrees above average. This ranked as the ninth warmest December on record with statewide records going back to 1895, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Record-Setting December Occurred in Illinois

    December was the warmest and second wettest for that month on record in Illinois, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel, Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois.

  • Cold, dry December ends a warm year in Illinois

    The statewide average temperature for December was 28.6 degrees, 1.3 degrees below normal, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel, Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois.

  • Illinois Has Fourth Wettest Year on Record

    Based on preliminary data in Illinois, the statewide average precipitation for 2009 was 50.3 inches, 11 inches above normal. This was the fourth wettest year on record for the state based on data going back to 1895, according to State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey

  • 2014 Marks the 4th Coldest Year on Record for Illinois

    The statewide average temperature for 2014 was 49.4 degrees F, which is 2.9 degrees below average.  The year was tied with 1912 and 1979 for fourth place, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel, Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois.

  • Midwest Experiences Warmest and Wettest December on Record

    In a year when many state records were broken, 2015 ended with historically warm temperatures and well above-normal precipitation, leading to the warmest and wettest December on record for the Midwest, according to the Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC) at the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS).

  • Study Shows McHenry County Water Supplies May Not Suffice in Future

    Groundwater resources in McHenry County may be strained in 35 to 40 years, potentially causing local water shortages and detrimental effects to the ecology of local streams, according to Scott Meyer, hydrogeologist at the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS), a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois.

  • December Finished Cold in Illinois

    In December, the statewide temperature of 25.5 degrees was 4.4 degrees below average, making it the 20th coldest December on record since 1895. However, it is far short of the record coldest December of 1983 when the statewide temperature was only 17.1 degrees, 8.4 degrees colder than this December, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel at the Illinois State Water Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois.

  • Illinoisans Experience Spring-like Weather in January

    On January 7, winter weather gave way to spring-like conditions with record-breaking warmth, heavy rains, and severe weather across Illinois. Record high temperatures were set at several locations, including Peoria (67 degrees), Chicago (65 degrees), and Champaign (67 degrees), according to State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

  • Second Wettest Year on Record for Illinois

     Illinois experienced its second wettest year on record when 50.7 inches of precipitation fell in 2008. This was 11.4 inches above normal. Only 1993 was wetter with 51.2 inches. Nine of the 12 months in 2008 received above-normal precipitation, according to State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.isws.illinois.edu).

  • Rainy and Dry, Chilly and Warm: 2011 Was a Unique Year

    The year 2011 was the 10th wettest year and a year of extreme monthly temperatures and precipitation, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel at the Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • New Collaboration with the United Kingdom Focuses on Water Quality and Quantity Challenges

    The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) at the Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois, has signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on water-related projects with faculty at the Water@Leeds Research Centre, University of Leeds in the United Kingdom.  This collaboration will focus on topics such as climate change, water quality and supply, flooding, drought, and regulatory issues.

  • January 2018 has been colder and snowier than last year

    We're halfway through January 2018, and State Climatologist Jim Angel writes that so far it's been colder and snowier than last year, with a statewide average temperature of 16.5 degrees, 7.3 degrees below normal.

  • Weather Watchers Needed to Help Observe Rain, Hail, and Snow

    Weather affects all of us and can vary greatly even over short distances. In an effort to increase the density of rainfall observations over the United States, a fast-growing, volunteer program needs weather observers in Illinois.

    The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow (CoCoRaHS) network already has more than 2500 observers in 14 states and originally began in Colorado. Program coordinators for Illinois include the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS), the National Weather Service, and the University of Illinois Extension Natural Resources Management team.

  • Lake-Effect Snow Poses Challenging Questions for Meteorologists

    Weather forecasters can predict an upcoming lake-effect snowstorm, but the intensity of the storm, which communities will be hit, how far inland the snow will extend, and how long it will last are much harder to foresee. Like storm chasers hoping to solve weather mysteries, Illinois State Water Survey Head of the Center for Atmospheric Science David Kristovich, students, and colleagues have flown over the Great Lakes inside developing storms to study lake effects on winter storms in lakeside communities.

  • A mild January in Illinois

    The statewide average temperature in January was 31.4 degrees, 5.0 degrees above normal, and the 14th warmest January on record, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois.