CHAMPAIGN — The year 2012 will long be remembered for the drought and the exceptionally warm temperatures. While the data for December are still preliminary, 2012 was the second warmest and tenth driest year on record for Illinois, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois.
The statewide average temperature for 2012 was 55.5 degrees, 3.3 degrees above normal and the second warmest year on record for Illinois. The warmest year was 1921 with 55.6 degrees. It was the much warmer than normal temperatures in January–May, July, and December that caused 2012 to be ranked so highly.
The statewide average precipitation for 2012 was 30.4 inches, 9.8 inches below normal and the 10th driest year on record in Illinois. Much of the shortfall was the result of significantly below-normal precipitation in May–July and November.
December was mild with the statewide average of 35.8 degree, 5.9 degrees above normal and the 13th warmest December on record. The statewide average precipitation was 2.3 inches, just 0.4 inches below normal.
“Winter is our driest time of year in Illinois,” Angel said. “The normal precipitation for January and February is just over 2 inches for each month. Even March is not much wetter at 3 inches. That adds up to 7 inches for those three months combined. It would take more than double of that amount to erase the deficits accumulated in 2012.”