Peoria, Ill. (WMBD) – The latest U.S. Drought Monitor released on Thursday, September 16th reintroduced level 1 drought conditions across much of Central Illinois. The development of drought across the region is not all that surprising given how much of the region has experienced well below average rainfall over the last 30 days. HRAP (Hydrologic Rainfall Analysis Project) Estimated Rainfall shows that much of Central Illinois has received 1-3 inches of rainfall in the past 30 days. For many, this is approximately near or less than half of “normal” rainfall for the same 30 day period.
Conditions are even worse for northern Illinois where there was an expansion of Moderate Drought conditions. Without a doubt this part of the state has struggled more than most when it comes to drought and severe weather. For instance, Rockford has only received about 39% of their normal rainfall in the last 30 days yielding a 30 day rainfall deficit of approximately 2 inches. It’s even worse just to the southeast in DeKalb.
Now, some context….
While this year’s ongoing drought has been a challenge, particularly for northern Illinois, it’s not as bad as what the state had experienced less than a decade ago. In fact, drought conditions in 2005-06 and 2012-13 wore worse in terms of severity, the later of which saw 100% of the state under Moderate Drought conditions and 80% of the state under Extreme Drought conditions. You can see the timeseries of Illinois drought conditions dating back to 2000 below.
Any rain on the way?
The next best chance for measurable rainfall across the state will come with a stronger cold front that is expected to sweep across the state on Tuesday. A prefrontal wave could bring a few showers to the area on Monday before the cold front brings showers and a few thunderstorms to the region on Tuesday. While exact amounts remain unclear, it appears most of the state will receive less than a half inch of rainfall through Tuesday afternoon. So this coming cold front likely won’t be a drought buster for anyone in the sate.
Unfortunately the long range outlook for the end of September offers little hope for improving drought conditions. The Climate Prediction Center’s 8-14 day outlook calls for above average temperatures and below average precipitation between September 24th and September 30th.