Based on preliminary data, the statewide average temperature for Illinois in April was 58.4 degrees, 6.2 degrees above normal and the warmest April on record. This beats the old record of 58.2 degrees set in 1955. Official statewide average temperature records go back to 1895. The warm temperatures in April were not unique to Illinois – the entire Midwest was much above normal.
A changeable weather pattern is ahead in the days ahead.
As a warm front approaches from the southwest, a few showers and thunderstorms will occasionally overspread area during Friday morning as an intensifying low pressure system moves across the Midwest.
Across the Corn Belt, cool, unsettled weather across northwestern portions of the region is slowing fieldwork. Dry, mild weather elsewhere is favoring a rapid pace of summer crop planting and emergence.
Scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected Monday and Monday evening ahead of a weak cold front approaching from the west.
Last week proved to be another busy week in the fields for producers across Illinois.
Corn jumped to 73 percent planted compared to 4 percent a year ago and 28 percent for the five-year average. This surpasses the previous high percent planted for April 25 of 67 in 2005. Soybeans are 5 percent planted compared to the five-year average of 1 percent.
A weak weather system will drop into the area Monday night and bring scattered showers to areas south and west of I-74 / 72.
Tuesday, the sky will become mostly sunny across most of the area, with a few lingering showers in southeast Illinois early in the day. The sky will then be mostly clear Tuesday night.
Rain and snow will diminish over the Intermountain West and Pacific Coast States as a large storm drifts shifts eastward. The storm is expected to stall over the central High Plains, producing heavy snow in the central Rockies, while rain and thunderstorms break- out over the Plains and Corn Belt.
Across the Corn Belt, mostly dry, mild weather favors planting and early crop emergence. Dryness, however, is becoming an increasing concern over the Upper Midwest and eastern Ohio Valley, where soil moisture is limited for crop establishment.