Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

October 10, 2013

Unseasonably warm, dry weather holds off frost

Tony Huffman
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — Climatologists say an unseasonably warm and dry September makes the probability of an early frost far less likely. Farmers have feared an early frost may harm slow developing soybeans, which were planted late because of wet and cool conditions.

“We have been running on the warm side for a while, so that should hold back the fall frost,” said Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel, noting the average frost date is around mid-October.

     A wet and cool spring was replaced by warmer weather and lower-than-average precipitation through late summer, said Angel. Effingham County saw .39 inches of rain in August, far below the average of 2.75 inches. September precipitation also was below the 2.99-inch average, with 1.38 inches recorded.

“We have had cases over the last couple years in the critical crop-growing months of July, August and September of issues with dryness in late summer,” said Angel.

Over the past few months, the July through September time frame has been the sixth driest on record in Illinois, added Angel.

According to Angel, historical weather patterns since the late 19th century point to 20- to 30-year swings of slightly above- and below-average changes in temperature and precipitation. In the late 1800s, it was wet and cool, with the first half of the 1900s hot and dry. The latter part of the 20th century brought wet and cool weather again, and while Angel says it is probably too early to tell, he sees the cycle coming around to dry and warmer weather for coming years.

Angel says that the dramatic swings in Illinois weather “keeps my job interesting.”

“In Illinois, the weather goes from one extreme to the next,” said Angel. “If it’s not one thing, it’s another.”

Tony Huffman can be reached at 217-347-7151 ext. 138 or tony.huffman@effinghamdaliynews.com.