Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

April 8, 2013

March fifth coldest on record for Effingham

Jackson Adams
Effingham Daily News

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The month of March was the 11th coldest on record for Illinois and the fifth coldest for Effingham, partially because of late snows and frigid weather.

"The winter was all over the place," said Jim Angel, state climatologist at the Illinois State Water Survey. "Some areas were way ahead on snowfall and some were way behind and then caught up in late February and early March. It was crazy."

While March didn't set a new record for Effingham since measurements were counted in 1882, the average temperature for the month was 31.5 degrees. Both 1960 and 1978 had colder months, as well as several years in the 1980s.

Despite heavy snowfalls in the last few weeks, Angel said precipitation hasn't been record breaking or too unusual from what the rest of the state has been seeing this year or in years past.

"You're kind of middle of the road as far as precipitation goes (in the state) and right in the middle of the pack as far as Effingham usually goes," he said. "That's what we're seeing for a lot of places."

The wettest March for Effingham was in 1898 when more than 12 inches of precipitation fell, according to Angel.

Angel said the late cold weather could be a good thing for farmers and local growers in the long run, with an unlikely chance for a late winter snap to kill any newly planted crops.

"You see it in the gardens and yards, the grass is just now turning green, and we'll see some rapid progress, certainly a big contrast from last year," he said. "In a sense, it's not as problematic as an exceptionally warm March. Everything races out to development and then it can still get nipped by April frost like 2007 and last year. Those warm marches set you up for those April frosts. Once everything starts going, it'll be late this year."

Jackson Adams can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 131, or jackson.adams@effinghamdailynews.com