CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – 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 10th 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 through May, July, and December that caused 2012 to be ranked so highly.
At 55.0 degrees, on average, Grundy County was just slightly cooler during 2012 than the state as a whole, according to information released by the Weather Data Division of the Grundy County Emergency Management Agency.
The highest temperature recorded in Morris during the year was 102 degrees on July 7, while the average high temperature was 65 degrees. The average low was 44.9 degrees, with the mercury dipping to a low-point for the year of 3 degrees above zero on Jan. 20, 2012.
There were 46 days during the year when the temperature locally hit at least 90, and 104 days when the thermometer dipped at least to the freezing point.
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 through July and November.
Grundy County was even drier than the state as a whole, with just 24.78 inches of liquid precipitation measured in Morris during the calendar year. Total snowfall for the year was just 12.8 inches.
Measurable precipitation fell on the area 101 days in 2012, with the most rain in any one day being the 1.71 inches that fell during the 24 hours preceding 8 a.m. on May 7.
The peak wind gust at Morris in 2012 was measured at 58 mph on Aug. 4.
Like the rest of 2012 that preceded it, December was mild, with the statewide average temperature at 35.8 degrees, 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.
In Morris, according to Grundy County EMA, the average temperature during December was 36.4 degrees. The temperature climbed as high as 71 on Dec. 3, and fell as low as 14 on Dec. 22 and 30. In total, 20 days during the month recorded a temperature at or below 32 degrees.
Precipitation measured 1.73 inches during December, with most of that amount, 1.01 inches, falling in the 24 hours preceding 8 a.m. on Dec. 20. Rain fell on 10 days during the month, while the county had only one day with measurable snow — totaling just .03 inches.
“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.”
The Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a division of the Prairie Research Institute, is the primary agency in Illinois concerned with water and atmospheric resources.