CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) – The latest drought monitor was released on Thursday morning.
Over the last two months, parts of Central Illinois have been centered in severe drought conditions, particularly in Champaign County.
Given abundant rainfall over areas that have been facing drought conditions in recent weeks, there have been some improvements.
The latest drought monitor update for Thursday, September 1st has removed Severe (D2) drought conditions from Central Illinois.
But there still remains a section of area focused along I-74 with Moderate (D1) drought status.
While some have faced drought conditions this summer, others have seen a surplus of rain.
Areas along I-70 have been water logged all summer long, with some parts reporting a foot more of rain than normal for the year-to-date totals.
For others, it’s been hard to get much, and areas facing drought have at times been 6 or more inches below normal.
With improvement in the drought in Central Illinois, many are asking what would it take to completely get rid of the drought.
While these big rain events are helpful, sometimes too much rain in a short period of only leads to run-off and the ground won’t soak up all of it.
That’s why we’d need a few more rain events with several inches each, particularly slower soaking rains instead of a deluge in a few hours during the next month to bring us back to normal and to finally stick a fork in the drought.
The extended outlooks though do suggest we’d have several more months of below normal precipitation chances to come.
While that’s not the gospel, it’s a trend that would need to be watched closely.
If dry conditions persist for a few weeks, it would be enough to bring back severe drought conditions to parts of Central Illinois.
But, looking ahead to the winter months, we are set to head into our third La Nina winter in a row.
La Nina’s impacts are most felt during the winter months in the Great Lakes region.
That’s when the jet stream pattern supports increased rain chances over the region.
The extended seasonal outlooks mirror this pattern and suggest that rainfall could trend above normal in the winter months, and that could very well continue into the Spring months.