The mild and dry weather stuck around for the second full week of November. Average temperatures this week ranged from the mid 40s in northern Illinois to the high 50s in southern Illinois, between 2 and 5 degrees above normal. November to date has also been around 2 to 5 degrees above normal statewide, continuing what has been an overall very mild fall season. The entire state has had at least one killing frost by now, which came just slightly later than normal in northern Illinois, and close to if not slightly earlier than normal in central and southern Illinois.
Dry weather has dominated the Midwest since late October. This week’s precipitation totals were mostly less than a quarter of an inch, and most of central Illinois picked up exactly 0 inches of rain before Friday. Virtually all of the state has had less than 75% of normal precipitation since mid-October, and parts of northern and south-central Illinois have had less than 50% of normal over that time. Through Thursday, the statewide average total precipitation in November was 0.05 inches, putting this month in the top 3 driest starts to November on record. The Drought Monitor has taken notice of recent dryness, expanding moderate drought across south-central and western Illinois this week, and creeping abnormally dry conditions into most of southern Illinois. Several counties in southern and southeast Illinois have enacted burn bans due to fire concerns, and there have been some smaller field and brush fires that have gotten out of hand this past week. Folks should take extreme caution when burning, and that includes those thinking of deep frying turkeys next week.
Looking ahead, next week brings us a bit of a change. Gone are highs in the 60s, and replaced by 40s and 50s early next week. Early indications show much of northern and central Illinois may struggle to get above freezing on Thanksgiving, making for ideal conditions for Bears fans to enjoy watching the Lions destroy the Packers on Thursday. The cool down will likely come with some more active weather, likely bringing more substantial ran to at least the southern two thirds of the state. 7-day forecasted precipitation totals range from over 1.5 inches in southern Illinois to around a quarter of an inch in northern Illinois. A bit further out, we’re seeing higher odds of cooler and drier than normal conditions for the final week of November.