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One for the record books

The 2012 year has entered the record books as one of the mildest years in Illinois in a very long time.

On Wednesday, state climatologist Jim Angel announced the 2012 year appears to be the second warmest and 10th driest year on record for Illinois, based on preliminary data available for December.

The statewide average temperature for 2012 was 55.5 degrees, which is 3.3 degrees above normal, Angel said. 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,” Angel said.

As evidenced by the drought of 2012, statewide average precipitation for the year was 30.4 inches, which is 9.8 inches below normal, Angel said, adding much of the shortfall was the result of significantly below-normal precipitation in May, June, July and November.

Looking at the December 2012 data, Angel said December continued the year’s mild trend, with a statewide average high temperature of 35.8 degrees, which is 5.9 degrees above normal. At this point, December will be marked as the 13th warmest December on record. As far as precipitation for the month, the statewide average precipitation was 2.3 inches, which is just 0.4 inches below normal.

In Bureau County, the Princeton Water Treatment Plant staff documented 17 warm weather records for 2012, including three in January, eight in March, five in July and one in December.

Princeton set high temperature records on Jan. 5 at 54 degrees, on Jan. 10 at 53 degrees, and on Jan. 30 at 58 degrees. March records were set on March 14 at 79 degrees, March 15 at 80 degrees, March 16 at 81 degrees, March 17 at 81 degrees, March 18 at 82 degrees, March 19 at 80 degrees, March 20 at 83 degrees and March 21 at 84 degrees.

High temperature records were also set in Princeton on July 4 at 101 degrees, July 5 at 102 degrees, July 6 at 103 degrees, July 17 at 99 degrees, July 18 at 103 degrees and also on Dec. 3 at 70 degrees.

On a more regional focus, WQAD News Channel 8 meteorologist James Zahara said the 2012 year was the third warmest year on record for the Quad Cities area. The record-breaking year was characterized by a lack of rain and snow, which caused a severe drought locally and throughout most of the Midwest.

According to the Quad Cities office of the National Weather Service, the average temperature at the Quad City Airport in Moline was 53.6 degrees, which is 2.9 degrees warmer than normal, Zahara said.

“Rainfall amounts took a beating as well as the official amount of 27.25 inches was close to 11 inches below normal which puts a risk on the sub soil and planting for farmers heading into this spring planting season,” Zahara said. “Some farmers aren’t taking any chances for another drought and are instead expecting to change their crop from corn to soybeans this year.”

As far as any weather predictions for the coming weeks, Zahara said winter is far from finished.

“The outlook is still trending to more active weather and that means snow as we march through January into February,” Zahara said.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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