Little snow one thing, but little precipitation quite another
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain firstname.lastname@example.org January 11, 2013 2:48PM
A snowblower is seen for sale off Center St. near Western Ave. Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Joliet. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 14, 2013 6:42AM
JOLIET — By the time this story hits your driveway or Internet feed, there could be a couple of inches of snow on the ground.
On Friday, meteorologists were predicting 2-3 inches of snow Saturday night into Sunday morning.
If so, the predicted flakes will be rare specimens this season. So far Northern Illinois has had only about 1.3 inches of snow, said Kevin Birk, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Average snowfall by this time of the year is 13.7 inches.
“So we’re definitely running well behind,” Birk said.
Moisture in any form is scarce. The total precipitation for 2012 was 26.91 inches, about 10 inches lower than the average of 36.89.
That’s not good news for farmers, said Mark Schneidewind, manager of the Will County Farm Bureau.
“It’s a definite concern,” he said. “I’ve had meetings the last three nights and it’s been a topic of conversation.”
Thursday’s 1 inch of rain helped things a bit, he said. Because the ground wasn’t frozen, the water was absorbed instead of turning into runoff. But more rain or snow is needed, Schneidewind added.
“It takes a long time to recoup that 10 inches,” he said.
If the ground is dry when corn is planted in early April, any rain that falls will evaporate more quickly, which could hurt the planting season.
Temperatures also have been above average, which adds another winter worry for area farmers.
“We’d like to see a good cold snap for a while to help with killing bugs,” Schneidewind said.
December’s average of 36.1 degrees was 8.4 degrees above normal. The predicted low temperature of only 45 degrees for Friday night was expected to break a record for the warmest low temperature of 40 degrees set in 1890, Birk said.
Colder air was expected to blow in with the snow from the Dakotas, however, Birk said, replacing the moist Texas air that wafted into the region, bringing rain and warmth at the end of the week.