Forget our warm May: Illinois is off to fourth coldest start ever

News-DemocratMay 7, 2014 

While the temperature has warmed up quite a bit over the last week, 2014 is off to the fourth-coldest start to a year on record.

State climatologist Jim Angel said the average temperature in Illinois from the start of 2014 through April was 31.2 degrees. That's 6.6 lower than the average temperature for the first third of the year.

But Angel said the temperature has been catching up to the average lately.

"The statewide average temperature for April was 51.9 degrees, only 0.7 degrees below average," Angel said. "While it continues the string of below-average months that stretched all the way back to November, this month had the smallest departure from average."

The averages ought to be even closer to normal as May progresses. The typical high temperature for the first week of may in the St. Louis metropolitan area is 73 degrees, according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

On Monday and Tuesday temperatures peaked at 88 and 87 degrees, respectively. The National Weather Service forecast for Wednesday calls for mostly sunny skies and a high temperature of 87.

Angel said April was one of the wettest months in the last year with 5.11 inches of rain. That's 1.33 inches more than the average April rainfall recorded from 1971-2010. While May got off to a relatively dry start, that will change over the next several days.

The low will drop to 66 overnight with partly cloudy skies. Then on Thursday a chance of storms will move into the area.

A 30 percent chance of thunderstorms is forecast for Thursday during the daytime hours with the mostly likely chance of rain coming after 4 p.m. The high temperature is expected to be 84. The chance of thunderstorms will increase to 80 percent Thursday evening with a slight chance that storms could become severe.

The chance of wet weather continues into Friday when a 60 percent chance of rain is forecast with a high temperature of 81.

While Southern Illinois has had plenty of water this year thanks to plenty of rain and unusually high amounts of snowfall, the Quad Cities area in northwestern Illinois is "abnormally dry" and nearing drought conditions.

Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at swuerz@bnd.com or call 239-2626.

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