The numbers are in for last year’s rainfall. Illinois received three-quarters of the normal level of precipitation last year, getting 30.4 inches across the state, 9.8 inches below normal. This made the year the 10th driest since record keeping began in 1895, according to the Illinois State Water Survey.
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State climatologist Jim Angel says the timing of the drought, and the heat, were brutal on the crops. “Because it was so dry early on, and it continued that way, we kind of started out the growing season already behind on soil moisture and we just never caught up, and so we basically ran out of a soil moisture by the time we got into July, so that was a real problem,” he said.
When will the drought end? Much of the state is no longer officially in a drought. Angel says the soil moisture for farming will recover before the ground water and the level of lakes, rivers and streams recovers.