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January 21, 2018

1/8/2018 12:00:00 PM
Stats: County finally gets white Christmas, but dry month
Crawford County residents experienced their first white Christmas in seven years in December.

Still, it was another dry month here, according to statistics provided by the National Weather Service.

Only .25 inch of rain and .67 inch of snow was reported here during December. Almost all the rain - .24 inch - fell in a 48-hour period Dec. 4 and 5. The snow began to fall Dec. 22 and wrapped up on Christmas Eve. Most of it - .53 inch - accumulated on the 23rd.

In December 2016, only 1.49 inch of rain and a little more than .37 inch of snow fell here.

The heaviest rain dropped only .43 inch on the county on the 17th. This was on top of the .2 inch of snow and sleet that fell the previous day. Fluries and sleet were mixed in with the .23 inch of rain that fell Dec. 4.

The heaviest snow of the month occurred Dec. 13 and resulted in only .35 inch of short-lived accumulation.

The wettest December ever was in 1957, when Crawford County was soaked by 8.56 inches of rain. Things were dramatically different a year later when only .46 inch fell, making it the driest December in history. Record snowfall for the month, 14.1 inches, was recorded in 1935.

Meanwhile, the days were slightly warmer and the nights slightly colder overall than during December 2016.

The average daytime high during December was 39.6 degrees, up from almost 37.7 degrees last year. The warmest temperature of the month was 65, reported Dec. 4. This was one degree warmer than the high of 64 reported Dec. 26, 2016.

Most highs during the month were in the 30s or colder, with the temperature never rising above freezing on 10 days, including the week from Christmas Eve to New Year's Eve. On Dec. 27, the temperature never rose above 11. The low was 3 below zero, the coldest of the month. The average overnight low was 21.6. Most lows were in teen or colder.

The temperature remained below freezing for 10 days scattered throughout the month in 2016, too. It never got out the 20s most of those days, with the coldest daytime high - 21 degrees - reported Dec. 19, the same day as the month's coldest low temperature.

The average low last year was about 24.2. The coldest temperature of the month was 2, reported Dec. 19.

Most lows during the month were in the 20s. There were only seven nights when the mercury did not dip below freezing. There were three nights of temperatures in the teens and four of single-digit lows.

The warmest December day on record was Dec. 6, 1956. The mercury hit 71 that day. The coldest December temperature ever, 19 below, was recorded on Dec. 22, 1989. It eclipsed the 12 below record set only six days earlier, which in turn had surpassed the 9 below record of Dec. 18, 1951.0

Only 2.61 inches of rain was reported here during November. It rained every day during the first week of the month, but when the showers stopped, only 1.61 of precipitation had been reported. The rainiest days of the month were Nov. 5 and 6, when .56 inch and .89 inch were reported, respectively.

There was no measurable snow during November, although many local residents spotted a few slushy flakes hitting their windshields along with raindrops on the 19th.

The county's average November high was 53.5 degrees. The warmest temperature of the month was 70, reported Nov. 2 and 5.

The average November low was almost 33.1. The lowest temperature of the month was 23, reported on the 20th and 23rd.

Most November highs during the month were in the 50s and temperature never rose out of the 40s on five days. Most lows during the month were in the 20s, with temperatures at freezing or coler on 18 nights.

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 earliest snowfall with accumulation on record in Crawford County was Oct. 18, 1989. Only a trace amount was reported.

The statewide average precipitation total for December in Illinois was .86 inches, 1.83 inches below normal and the eighth driest December on record, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois.

Far southern Illinois received 1 to 3 inches of precipitation, but the rest of the state received less than an inch.

December temperatures in Illinois were exceptionally mild until Christmas Eve. The cold and warm weather balanced out in December, leaving the statewide average temperature for the month at 28.9 degrees, 1 degree below normal.

The largest snowfall totals stretched from the Quad Cities and passed just south of Chicagoland. Overall, the state remained below normal on December snowfall.

The record coldest December occurred in 1983 when the statewide temperature was only 17.1.

The statewide average temperature for December 2016 was 28.6 degrees, 1.3 degrees below normal. Precipitation averaged 1.41 inches, 1.28 inches below normal. Snow was largely absent troughout most of the state.

The statewide average temperature for November was 41.7 degrees, .8 degrees below normal. Statewide average precipitation was 2.13 inches, 1.34 inches below normal.

Angel said 2017 was the sixth warmest year on record in Illinois with a statewide average temperature of 54.3 degrees, or 2 degrees above normal, in spite of December's extremely cold ending.

Eight out of the 12 months in 2017 brought above-normal temperatures. Illinois experienced the warmest February on record with a statewide average of 41 degrees, 10.1 degrees above normal.

On the other hand, Illinois' 10th coolest August on record came in 2017 with a temperature of 70.5 degrees, 3.1 degrees below normal.

The statewide average precipitation for the year was 37.65 inches, 2.31 inches below normal.

This was despite the dramatic precipitation events that occurred in 2017, such as the heavy rains in southern Illinois in spring and in northern Illinois in July and September. Illinois received 6.86 inches of rain in April, 3.08 inches above normal and the fifth wettest April on record.

Still, Illinois experienced its fifth driest September on record with only .82 inches, 2.41 inches below normal.

Some exceptionally dry areas still exist in central Illinois, around St. Louis and parts of southeastern Illinois. These will be areas to watch in spring for the 2018 growing season.

Snowfall for the 2017-18 winter season started slowly, but with some significant accumulations by the end of December. Snowfall totals ranged from 6 to 15 inches in the northern half of the state and down to almost zero in far southern Illinois by Dec. 31.

Cissna Park (Iroquois County) reported the largest winter snowfall total of 15.5 inches. Mt. Carroll (Carroll County) was in second place with 10.8 inches, and Chatsworth (Livingston County) was in third place with 10.5 inches.

For the year 2016, the statewide average temperature was 54.7 degrees, 2.4 degrees above normal and the fifth warmest year on record. The statewide average precipitation for 2016 was 39.63 inches, .33 inches below normal.

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