Dry conditions continue to worsen in Illinois as drought spreads across the state, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at the Illinois State Water Survey.
The U.S. Drought Monitor now shows the Chicagoland area, much of central Illinois, and areas along the Missouri border from Quincy to St. Louis are in moderate drought, and the northern two-thirds of the state are characterized as abnormally dry.
Among the many impacts of drought conditions, lawns, gardens, and trees have begun to show moderate to significant moisture stress in northeast and central Illinois. Reports have indicated some visible stress in soybeans in central Illinois and emergence issues in corn in western Illinois. Streamflow across much of the state is well below normal for the start of summer in several spots along the Illinois, Vermilion, and Kaskaskia rivers and in other areas.
“Forecasts for the next seven days show continued drier weather with only a few chances of rainfall, and near to above normal temperatures,” Ford said. “Without significant rain in the next week, conditions will likely worsen, and more drought impacts may occur.”
Outside of a few areas of heavy rain, most places have had only 25 to 60 percent of normal precipitation in the past 30 days, and parts of northeast and western Illinois have had less than 25 percent of normal precipitation since the start of May. Chicago had its fourth driest May on record, and April and May total precipitation in Quincy was the third lowest on record.
The 7-day forecast from the National Weather Service shows some chances of rain across the state but with totals mostly less than a quarter of an inch. Temperatures are expected to remain in the upper 80s and low 90s this weekend and into next week before moderating a bit.
The NOAA Climate Prediction Center also shows the highest chances of near to above normal precipitation between June 8 and 14, though outlooks for more than seven days can be uncertain, Ford said.
“It is likely the drought conditions will worsen before we see improvement if we do get a shift to wetter weather in June,” he said.
Ford requests that Illinoisans report their local drought conditions and effects through the National Drought Mitigation Center’s Condition Monitoring Observer Report (CMOR) system or by email to the State Climatologist Office, email@example.com. These reports inform our understanding of drought and can direct resources where they are needed in Illinois.