Record rainfall makes weather frightful for trick-or-treaters

Record rainfall makes weather frightful for trick-or-treaters

CHAMPAIGN — Conditions for Halloween could hardly be more frightening for treat-seekers or tricksters.

Windy. Occasional showers and thunderstorms. A 100 percent chance of rain during the day, but maybe only 50 percent during trick-or-treating hours.

And now, a record rainfall.

The weather station at the University of Illinois Willard Airport reported 1.32 inches of rain between midnight and 10 a.m. today, making it unofficially the wettest Halloween ever in Champaign-Urbana weather history.

The previous record was in 1919 when 1.09 inches of rain fell.

And state climatologist Jim Angel noted that the National Weather Service says there is the potential for another three-quarters of an inch of rain this afternoon and evening.

That's bad enough to ground even the most evil witch, to halt zombies in their tracks, to keep princesses and their gowns safe and dry at home.

Although gusts and a cold, drenching rain seem perfectly appropriate for this spooky evening, they're actually unusual in central Illinois, according to National Weather Service records.

Springfield has had rain on 31 percent of Halloweens over the last 130 years, according to the weather service. It's rained in Peoria on 32 percent of Halloweens since 1893.

Last year was dry in Champaign-Urbana with a high of 50 and a low of 31, colder than normal but good enough to run from house to house in search of goodies.

But Halloween can be like the postal service. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night. ...

In 1946 a steady rain and a post-war soap shortage made Halloween "not as bad as those of previous years," Champaign Police Chief Clyde Davis told the Daily Illini. But while there were fewer soaped windows, there were still an estimated 75 streetlight globes smashed by vandals, according to the city electrician. And there were numerous reports of broken windows.

And in 1935, according to the Urbana Courier, the threat of rain didn't dampen the turnout for the Champaign Chamber of Commerce Halloween celebration. An estimated 5,000 people came downtown for a parade from West Side Park to the City Building to the old News-Gazette building at Main and Market streets. Approximately 100 costumed marchers walked the route. The winner was Lewis Williams, 312 Kirby Ave., C, who used greasepaint and plastic clay to portray Frankenstein.

Williams, according to the Courier, "achieved an effect so horrible that some of the smaller children in the parade refused to march near him."

Eventually the rain came that night, cancelling a scheduled downtown street dance.

At least it will be relatively mild this Halloween. The forecast high of 67 degrees is 8 degrees above normal, and a lot nicer than Halloween 1925 when the low was 20 degrees. It even snowed that day in Peoria and Springfield.

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