When we last spoke at the end of July I made a call for near average temperatures and average to slightly below-average precipitation in Champaign-Urbana during the month of August. We were flirting with a ridge of high pressure that had been parked over the western U.S. and the big question was whether or not we would ever see that ridge and its associated heat shift into our area.
As it stands, my prediction wasn't awful. We came in a little warmer than average, but our precipitation for the month was just about spot-on.
August finishes with an average temperature of 75.3-degrees, which is 1.9-degrees above the average for the month (our average high-temperature was 85.2-degrees, if you were curious). Total precipitation for Champaign-Urbana in the month of August finishes at 4.15", which is just a tick above the monthly average of 3.93". Let's break it down a bit.
August was just about exactly what I expected it to be — pretty darned boring. At the beginning of the month there was no strong signal one direction or another when it came to anything. Major heat? Eh, possible, but not likely. Flooding rains? Drought? Everything looked to be remain fairly even keeled, and that's exactly what happened.
Of the first 25 days in August, only one day had an average temperature that was more than 5-degrees above or below the average. August was warm, but rarely was it *too* warm. I suppose that's subjective — but trust me — I run hot, and I'm typically the first person griping about summer heat. It was warm, but for the most part it was typical August warmth. It was not until August 26-28 that we had a stretch of days that exceeded 10-degrees above average.
Precipitation was spread out evenly throughout the month, and was about as close to average as you'll find. Avoiding any extended dryness (a major plus for your local farmers!) we never went more than five days without measurable precipitation in Champaign-Urbana. We never saw any extremely heavy rainfall events in the twin cities either, with the highest daily total falling on August 21st when 1.80" was measured.
Severe weather did make a couple of appearances during the month of August. On August 6th, a severe thunderstorm produced a pair of funnel clouds just east of Urbana, prompting a Tornado Warning to be issued. During the early morning hours on August 17th, a strong storm blasted into Champaign-Urbana at 2 a.m. prompting a Severe Thunderstorm Warning while causing minor wind damage in parts of the county. We had a small tree branch hanging from the powerlines in our backyard when I went out to survey the next morning.
So August comes in a little warm, but right on the money for precipitation — what about September? This one feels obvious to me and my confidence is fairly high, which is probably a recipe for a forecast bust.
I think September comes out on the warm side, above average temperature-wise. We'll see a bit of a cool-down late this week, but beyond roughly September 10th it does appear for now that we'll trend back toward warmer weather in the Midwest, probably complete with late-summer humidity.
I also believe we've got the makings of a soggy September, with precipitation likely finishing above-average, as well. There is the potential for a quick start — a frontal boundary will sink into the region late this week bringing the chance for scattered showers and thunderstorms. Over the weekend, it appears at least for now that the remnants of Tropical Storm Gordon may migrate into the Midwest and this is another opportunity for parts of the area to pick up sizeable rainfall totals. There's still no strong signal that we'll dry up any time soon so with regular shots at showers and t-storms in the area I think we'll top our monthly average by the time we're talking again in early October.
So, warmer and wetter than average for the month of September? We'll see! For now, get out there and enjoy those last warm evenings.
Andrew operates Chambana Weather, where he publishes daily weather information for Champaign-Urbana and surrounding communities. He is also an agricultural meteorologist with Agrible, Inc. at Research Park, focused on domestic and international weather and its impact on ag.
Champaign-Urbana monthly climate statistics are courtesy of the Illinois State Water Survey.
Photos by Andrew Pritchard