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A snowy, rainy March in Illinois

CHAMPAIGN — Statewide precipitation averaged 3.62 inches, 0.66 inches above normal. The highest monthly total precipitation was in Lockport with 7.22 inches, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey.

Precipitation was greatest in a wide band from Quincy to Chicago with amounts between 3 to 6 inches, which is 1 to 3 inches above normal. The driest area was in southeastern Illinois with only 1 to 2 inches of precipitation, which is 1 to 2 inches below normal.

The statewide average temperature for March was 42.3 degrees, 1 degree above normal. Temperatures swung from periods several degrees above normal to several degrees below normal with little time between the highs and lows. Several sites reported temperatures reaching into the 80s.

The warmest daily report was in Belleville with 86 degrees on March 21. Chicago Midway reported a high of 82 degrees on March 24. Meanwhile, the coldest temperatures of the month were experienced in the northwest quarter of the state, including Altona and Illinois City, with a low of 6 degrees on March 25.

March brought a significant amount of snow in some areas. Several places received more snow in March than in any other month this winter. The heaviest amounts were in northeastern Illinois because of lake-effect snows.

The highest monthly total snowfall was in Waukegan with 16.4 inches. Besides the Chicago area, near to above normal snowfall occurred in a band from the Quad Cities down the length of the state.

Snowfall for winter 2016-17 was well below normal despite the snowy March. Seasonal totals ranged from 20 to 30 inches in far northern Illinois to less than 1 inch in far southern Illinois.

Therefore, snowfall departures ranged from 75 percent of normal in far northern Illinois to less than 25 percent of normal in southern Illinois. Waukegan reported the most snowfall for the season with 35.0 inches, of which half fell in March.

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.

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