CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Recent rains have caused soil moisture levels to rise in most of Illinois, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring program manager at the Illinois State Water Survey.
Illinois received 2.85 inches of rain between May 14 and 17 with totals of more than 7 inches reported in the northeast.
Prior to this, soil moisture levels had been declining in all regions during the first two weeks of May as the state saw an average decrease of 19% in moisture levels at the 2-inch depths.
Heavy rain, though, reversed the trend as moisture levels increased 35 percent to a mid-month average of 0.45 water fraction by volume on May 17.
Similar increases occurred at the 4- and 8-inch depths. Soil moisture remains highs at depths of 20-inches and greater.
Soil temperatures measured at 4 inches under bare soil have increased 8 degrees the first half of May. Temperatures averaged 66 degrees on May 17 as daily highs ranged from the mid-60s in the north to high 70s in the south.