CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Warmer weather in early July has led to higher than normal soil temperatures in Illinois, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring program manager at the Illinois State Water Survey.
Soils averaged 2 to 4 degrees higher than the long-term averages in the first half of July. Temperatures measured at 4 inches under bare soil averaged 83 degrees on July 19 with daily highs reaching the 90s in western and southern Illinois. Temperatures rose 6 degrees on average the first part of the month for the state with all regions except the north seeing increasing temperatures.
Despite the higher than normal rainfall throughout the state in July, soil moisture has declined. Moisture levels at the 2-inch depths fell 16% on average so far for the month.
The largest declines were in southern Illinois where soil moisture decreased 31%. Only the north experienced increases during this period. However even with the declines, levels remained above the wilting capacity for most of the soils monitored.