Crawford County was dryer and cooler in March than it was a year ago.
According to the National Weather Service, 2.70 inches of rain and more than 1.6 inches of snow was reported in the county during March.
By contrast, 3.69 inches of rain was reported here in March 2018, with 2.08 inches of the total falling in just the final six days of the month. The heaviest rainfall of the month dropped .93 inches of rain here on March 24.
No measurable snowfall was reported last March, but flakes were often spotted mixed among the raindrops March 20.
This year, much of the snow was mixed with rain and occasionally paired with sleet or ice, as it was March 30. Most of the snow, however, fell March 3, one of the coldest days of the month. A total of 1.5 inches of snow accumulated here that day.
The heaviest March snowfall on record occurred March 7, 1978. Ten inches of new powder fell atop an estimated 7 inches of old accumulation. Strong winds caused much drifting.
The average daytime high during March was just shy of 48 degrees, slightly less than the 48.9-degree average reported last March.
The hottest temperature of the month was 72, reported on the 14th. That is 10 degrees warmer than the high of 62, reported March 19, 2018.
The mercury rose into the 60s three times last month but failed to get above freezing between March 3 and 7. Most high temperatures were in the 50s this year and last, though. It never warmed up to more than 39 on March 20 last year.
The average low was almost 28.6, down from 31 in 2018. The coldest temperature of the month was 3, reported March 4. The high that day was only 14. Last year, the coldest temperature was 20, reported on both the 9th and 14th.
Most lows were in the 20s or 30s, with temperatures below freezing 19 times, including three nights in the single digits, March 4, 5 and 6. Most 2018 lows were in the 30s, although temperatures were at freezing or colder 21 nights.
The hottest March temperature on record is 84, set March 22, 1939. The March record low is 12 below zero, set March 6, 1960.
In February, 3.21 inches of rain and a trace of snow fell here. The single rainiest day was Feb. 6. A total of .94 inch was reported. This was on top of the .89 inch that fell on Feb. 5 and the .06 inch that was reported during the two previous days.
Snow was generally mixed with rain during February. County residents saw snow and sleet mixed in with the .21 inch of rain that fell here on the 10th.
The average February high was about 42.7 degrees. The warmest temperature of the month was 62, reported Feb. 3.
Most highs were in the 30s and 40s this year. The mercury rose into the 50s a half-dozen times but failed to get above freezing four days.
The warmest February high on record is 76, reported Feb. 25, 2000.
The average February low was almost 26.7. The coldest temperature of the month was 12 on Feb. 9.
There were 22 nights of below freezing temperatures, including three of temperatures in the teens or colder.
Significant March rainfall led to above normal soil moisture in Illinois and major flooding events on many local streams and rivers, according to Brian Kerschner, spokesperson for the Illinois State Climatologist Office.
The preliminary statewide average precipitation for March was 4.16 inches, which is 1.20 inches above the long-term average.
Major and historic flooding on the lower Ohio River Basin in southern Illinois continued into the first week of March, as a result of substantial February rain events.
By the middle of the month, a strong and historic low-pressure system brought heavy rain, storms, and strong wind to Illinois and the rest of the Midwest.
The heavy rains and combined regional snow melt resulted in additional widespread flooding concerns across the region. This included a major flooding event for northern and northwest Illinois, with the Rock, Fox and Mississippi rivers experiencing significant crests.
The heaviest March precipitation fell across the central and southern portions of the state where 4 to 6 inches were common. Five stations in these regions reported over 6 inches of precipitation for the month.
Totals were lower in northern Illinois with generally 1.5 to 3 inches. The lowest totals for the month occurred along the Wisconsin border.
The highest March precipitation total of 6.41 inches was reported at a station near Jerseyville in Jersey County.
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Soil moisture profiles across Illinois remain in the 90th percentile or higher heading into April. This leaves soil conditions favorable for spring runoff, an ever-growing concern for the agricultural community.
Low temperatures began the first full week of March with a brutal Arctic outbreak in which temperature departures of 15 to 25 degrees below normal were common across Illinois.
During this time, three stations recorded minimum temperatures of 10 below zero or colder. The lowest reading in the state - 12 below - occurred at the Little Red School House station in Cook County March 5.
In contrast, the warmest reading in the state was 76 degrees, reported at a station near Dixon Springs in Pope County March 13.
Preliminary results show that March finished with a statewide average temperature of 36.6 degrees, which is 4.7 degrees below the long-term average.
March temperature departures finished below average statewide, with the coldest departures occurring across large areas of central Illinois and in the northwest corner of the state.
Snowfall in March occurred statewide, although it rarely lasted long. Storm tracks show that the maximum snowfall was near the corridor from Rushville to Springfield, and a second was centered near Kankakee. In both cases, 3 to 5 inches of accumulation were measured.
The NWS spring flood outlook places the entire state in its flood risk zone. Eastern and central Illinois are subject to a minor flood risk, while western, extreme northern, and southern portions of the state are in a moderate flood risk zone. Locations immediately along the banks of the Mississippi River are in a major flood risk zone.
February was particularly cold and stormy in Illinois, with an almost constant succession of storms resulting in moderate snow accumulations for the northern counties and persistent rain events and widespread flooding for the far southern counties.
The preliminary average statewide precipitation was 3.33 inches, which is 1.27 inches above average.
The preliminary average statewide February temperature was 28.6 degrees, which is 2.3 degrees below the long-term average.
The statewide average precipitation for March 2018 was 4.03 inches, 1.07 inches above normal. Most of the state saw little snow in March. The statewide average temperature was 38.7 degrees, 2.6 degrees below normal.
Looking ahead at the rest of April, the Climate Prediction Center is favoring probabilities of above average temperatures statewide. This is a welcome change compared to April 2018, which ranked as the second coldest April in state history.
An active weather pattern looks to persist, as the April outlook favors slight probabilities of above average precipitation for the western half of the state.