CHAMPAIGN — With seven consecutive months of above-average temperatures, 2012 is now the warmest-ever January through July period in Champaign-Urbana weather history.
Local full-year weather records go back to 1889.
The average temperature so far this year in Champaign-Urbana is 57 degrees, a full degree warmer than the January to July period in 1921, said state climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey.
Statewide, it's also the warmest January-July period, Angel said. The statewide average temperature this year is 56.9 degrees, topping the previous record of 56.1 degrees, also set in 1921.
But in order for 2012 to set the record for warmest year in local weather history, temperatures will have to remain above average for the remaining five months, Angel said.
"If we assume normal temperatures for August through December, we are on track for the third warmest year on record at 55.1 degrees. In first place is 1931 with 55.3 degrees. In second place is 1921 with 55.2 degrees," Angel said. "But in Illinois we rarely see 'normal' temperatures, so I would say the jury is still out on this being one of the warmest years on record."
Other unusually warm January-July periods were in 1954 (54.4 degrees), 1933 (54.2 degrees) and 2006 and 1953 (both 54.1 degrees), said Angel.
All of those years ended up among the top 15 warmest years in local weather records, he added.
Statewide, this also has been the third driest January-July period with an average of 14.05 inches of precipitation. The record holder is 12.22 inches in 1936. In second place is 1934 with 13.55 inches.
In Champaign-Urbana, the first seven months of the year has been the eighth-driest on record with 14.59 inches of precipitation. That is about 10 inches below normal.
More hot weather records are in sight. Last month set the local record for most 90-degree days in a month, 27. There have been 45 90-degree days so far this year, including Tuesday, with temperatures at 90 degrees or above. The Champaign-Urbana record for 90-plus days is 56, set in 1988, 1954 and 1936, said Angel.
There have been nine 100-degree days this year. The record is 15 in 1936.
Monthly average temperature differentials in 2012
MonthAverage tempDifferenceJanuary 31.7 degrees 6.9 above normalFebruary 34.8 degrees 5.8 above normalMarch 55 degrees 15.1 above normalApril 54.4 degrees 2.4 degrees above normalMay 68.6 degrees 6.1 degrees above normalJune 72.5 degrees 0.3 degrees above normalJuly 82.5 degrees 7.5 degrees above normal