A dry November sparked fears that the drought of 2012 might not be as over as everyone had hoped.
According to figures supplied by Official Crawford County Weather Observer Ron Brock, Palestine, only 1.43 inches of rain fell here during the month. This was down from the more than 7.52 inches of rain dumped on the county during the month in 2011.
The heaviest rainfall of the month produced only .58 inch of precipitation, following .33 inch that fell the previous day. Measurable rainfall occurred on only seven days out of the month.
Most of last November's rainfall occurred during the last third of the month. In fact, rainfall between Nov. 21 and 30 was almost twice as much as fell during the fist two-thirds of the month.
The single wettest day in 2011 was Nov. 29, when 1.70 inches fell. This was on top of the 1.77 inches that had fallen during the two previous days. Snow flakes could occasionally be spotted mixed amongst the drops.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, Crawford County and much of the state is still ranked as "abnormally dry." Many more dry months could put the county and all of Illinois back in the same dry, dusty position it was during the summer.
The recovery that began in late August and continued through October in much of the state has stalled out, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey.
November was especially dry statewide and temperatures were cooler than normal for the month, Angel said. The statewide average precipitation for the month was only 1.26 inches, 36 percent of normal or 2.21 inches below normal. It ranks as the 17th driest November on record since 1895.
Illinois' average temperature during the month was 40.8 degrees, 1.1 degrees below normal.
"We will need close to normal precipitation in the winter months to continue to close the gap on soil moisture as well as surface and groundwater supplies," Angel said.
Crawford County's average daytime high during November was almost 50.9 degrees, down from more than 55.53 degrees last year.
The warmest temperature of the month this year and last was 72. This year it occurred on Nov. 10. Last year, it was reported on the 14th.
Most highs during the month were in the 40s and 50s, while last year, the highs were in the 50s and 60s. In 2011, the temperature rose into the 70s twice and never got out of the 30s twice, too. This year, only one day - Nov. 24 - had a high in the 30s.
The average overnight low was almost 31.1, down from 40.7 in 2011. The lowest temperature of the month was 19, reported on the 24th. This was down from a low of 26, reported Nov. 11 last year.
Most lows during the month were in the 20s and 30s, while last year the lows were in the 30s and 40s. The mercury dipped to freezing or below 20 times this year, compared to six times in 2011.
The record high for November is 84, reported Nov. 1, 1950. The record low - 1 below zero - was set Nov. 25 that same year.
The average daytime high temperature in October was more than 63.4 degrees. The hottest temperature of the month was 79, reported on both Oct. 4 and 5.
The temperature peaked in the 50s a dozen times during October. It also hit the 70s 11 times, but failed to get above 49 on the final day of the month.
The average October low was more than 44.8. The coldest temperature of the month was 22, reported Oct. 29.
Most lows during the month were in the 40s. The mercury dipped into the 30s nine and below freezing four times.
The record high for October is 95, set Oct. 2, 1953. An unusually warm October, the temperature soared to 90 or above on four days and was often in the upper 70s or middle 80s. Nighttime temperatures were more autumn-like, ranging from 61 on the 3rd down to 18 on the 27th.
The record low for the month is 16, reported Oct. 21, 1952.
The drought continued to dwindle in October as 3.68 inches of rain fell on the county. The heaviest rainfall dropped 1.24 inches here on the 5th. Another .35 inch fell the next day and .30 inch had fallen during the four previous days.
The wettest October on record was in 2004. Storms lashed the county Oct. 18, bringing high winds and 3.05 inches of rain. Another .97 inches fell during the next two days and 2.37 inches fell between Oct. 12 and 16. A total of 1.16 inches was recorded between the 26th and the 28th. The previous record-holder for wettest October was 2001. That year, more than 8.38 inches of rain fell here during the month. The driest October occurred in 1952 when .39 inch fell.
There was never any threat of snow during October, but there could have been. The earliest snowfall on record was Oct. 18, 1989. Only a trace amount was reported.
Statewide, October was cooler and wetter than normal. The statewide average temperature was 52.2 degrees. The statewide average precipitation was 3.9 inches.
The statewide average precipitation from January to November was only 27.6 inches, nearly 10 inches below the normal of 37.5 inches, according to Angel.