Peoria, Ill. (WMBD) — The latest Drought Monitor shows Moderate Drought has expanded across Central Illinois, now encompassing much of Tazewell, Woodford, McLean and Livingston Counties. While the area did receive some much needed rain on Tuesday and Wednesday, most of that rain has not been factored into this week’s Drought Monitor update, but it likely wouldn’t have much of an impact in the ongoing drought conditions.

The development and expansion of drought conditions across the region is not surprising given how dry the last month has been. In fact, through the month of September, Peoria only received 0.79″ of rain, well below the monthly average of 3.49″. This made September 2022 the 5th driest September on record.

Here are the driest Septembers on record for Peoria

YearRainfall Amount
1. 19790.03″
2. 19560.41″
3. 20170.54″
4. 20020.78″
5. 20220.79″

It hasn’t just been Central Illinois dealing with abnormally dry conditions, it’s been an issue across much of the eastern U.S. The combination of an unfavorable weather pattern over the Midwest and the lack of tropical activity in the Gulf has resulted in below average precipitation for a good portion of the eastern U.S. Let’s not forget about the ongoing Extreme and Exceptional Drought that continues across the Central Plains and the western U.S.

As illustrated by this tweet from Jordan Fife in Vicksburg, MS, the Mississippi River and its tributaries are running very low. In fact Vicksburg is currently reporting a water level below 5 feet while other locations along the Mississippi are reporting negative water levels.

These low water levels will likely impact the ability to transport goods up and down the Mississippi River. The good news is, the current drought conditions are expected to only have short term impacts. With a triple-dip La Niña winter expected, chances are, parts of the Midwest will see above average precipitation over the winter. An even though La Niña winters are often dry across the south, rain and snow falling across the Midwest and over northern basins of the Mississippi River will help bring these water levels up.

Long Range Forecast

Aside from a few showers that will move through Central Illinois Friday evening, the long range forecast looks pretty dry for a good portion of the Midwest. The 7-Day Rainfall Outlook from WPC shows little to no rain across Central Illinois thanks to a persistent NW flow. That same pattern will keep temperatures cool through much of next week. However, the Climate Prediction Center’s 8-14 Day Outlook calls for above average temperatures towards the end of October though below average precipitation is still favored.