CHAMPAIGN — August in Champaign-Urbana was a month of "bipolar" temperatures, said state climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey, with cool temperatures in the first half of the month and above-average readings in the second half.
But it was extraordinarily dry all month.
It was, in fact, the second-driest August in local weather history, with just 0.36 of an inch of rain at the water survey's measuring station at First Street and Windsor Road in south Champaign.
Only August 1893, with 6-hundredths of an inch of rain, was drier.
It was even drier at the recording station at Willard Airport, where just 0.25 of an inch of rain fell in August.
Peoria also reported its second-driest August ever, and Springfield had its fourth-driest August, according to the National Weather Service.
Even less rain fell at Decatur (0.02 of an inch), but Lincoln (1.87 inches) and Lawrenceville (1.71 inches) had more generous amounts last month.
Total precipitation so far this year at the state water survey measuring station in Champaign is 28.06 inches, which is about a half-inch below the normal for the first eight months of the year. Three of the last four months, however, have had below average precipitation. But the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center is forecasting normal precipitation chances in Illinois in September, and above average chances in Illinois for the next 90 days.
Temperatures in August were highly irregular in Champaign-Urbana, with the coolest readings in the first half of the month and the hottest in the last week.
The temperature didn't exceed 84 degrees during the first 18 days of August, and daily highs never dropped below 86 degrees after that.
The highest reading was 97 degrees on Aug. 31; that also was the hottest day of summer. But it missed by one degree tying the all-time record for hottest Aug. 31 in Champaign-Urbana, which was set in 1953.
All five 90-degree readings during the month came in the last six days of August.
Overall, the average high in Champaign-Urbana last month was a half degree above average and the average low was 1.1 degrees below average.
C-U rain days this summer
Precipitation has been 2.81 inches below normal for the climatological summer, according to the Illinois State Water Survey. Rain dates the last three months, with amounts in inches: