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The Bulletin

Feb 24 | Weekly Climate Review & Weather Forecast

Todd Gleason

University of Illinois Extension
Trent Ford, State Climatologist
Illinois State Water Survey
Prairie Research Institute

February 24, 2023
Recommended citation format: Gleason, T. "Feb 24 | Weekly Climate Review & Weather Forecast." University of Illinois Extension, ---, Trent Ford, State Climatologist, Illinois State Water Survey, Prairie Research Institute, February 24, 2023. Permalink

Our mild February continues for another week. Average temperatures this week ranged from the high 20s in far northern Illinois to the mid-40s in southern Illinois, between 3 and 10 degrees above normal. February to date has been 4 to 8 degrees warmer than normal, and will likely end as a top 20 warmest on record for most places in the state. This month followed the 6th warmest January statewide, and the mild conditions since the start of the new year have pushed spring phenology about 2 to 3 weeks earlier than normal. We have reports of tulips and other spring bulbs making their appearance as far north as Naperville this week. Although most of us are looking forward to spring, the advanced phenology could put our tender perennials and flowering trees at higher risk of freeze damage. For perspective, the 30-year average last spring freeze is in the first week of April in southern Illinois and the third week of April in northern Illinois.

The northern half of the state saw quite a bit of precipitation this week. 7-day totals ranged from around half an inch for most of southern Illinois to nearly 4 inches in parts of central Illinois. Storms rolled through ahead of a warm front on Wednesday, bringing a wide swath of 2 to 3 inches of rain in a single day from Beardstown to Watseka. A few places in Logan and McLean Counties saw nearly 4 inches in a single day, causing widespread ponding of water in fields and yards. At this point, we can consider soil conditions across virtually all the state as somewhat to very wet. Meanwhile, the northern edge of the state saw a snow-rain mix, with ice accumulation ranging from around a tenth to three-tenths of an inch. We saw reports of tree damage and some power outages in parts of Boone, McHenry, and Lake Counties from the ice. One thing we didn’t see from this storm was significant snowfall accumulation, continuing our season-to-date snowfall deficits. Most places north of I-64 are 10 to 15 inches below normal on snowfall.

Looking ahead, our mild pattern is likely to continue at least through the first week of March. There are hints at a possible switch to some colder weather in the middle of March, but for the next 7-to-10 days our temperatures will be more spring-like. All indications also point to an active storm pattern, with forecasted accumulations between 1 and 2 inches statewide over the next 7 days. Precipitation outlooks also continue to lean wetter than normal through the middle of March, so we may not get a good chance for soils to dry out at least until the latter half of the month.

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