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CHAMPAIGN -- January in Illinois was colder and drier than normal without much snow, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois.

The statewide average temperature was 24.1 degrees, 2.3 degrees below normal. The month started with temperatures below zero, and then fluctuated between two unusually cold and unusually warm periods. The warmest reading for the month was 68 degrees at Jerseyville on January 22. The coldest reading for the month was -24 degrees at Morrison on January 1.

The statewide average precipitation (rain and water content of snow) was only 1.31 inches, 0.76 inches below normal. The largest precipitation total for the month was 4.07 inches at Rosiclare in Hardin County. Most of the state received 1 to 1.5 inches of precipitation with drier patches in northern and western Illinois and much of southern Illinois. Overall, most of the state was within an inch of normal.

The largest snowfall total for the month was 9.3 inches, reported at both Lake Villa and Gurnee. By the end of the month, little snow remained on the ground in Illinois and nearby states.

By the end of January, 54.9 percent of the state was either abnormally dry or in the early stages of drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Although January was somewhat dry, especially in the region around St. Louis, the overall drought conditions are the result of many months of dryness. In winter, drought conditions evolve very slowly with few demands on water supplies and soil moisture.

According to the National Weather Service, the outlook for February in Illinois shows that the northern half of Illinois has an increased chance of being colder than normal. However, climate conditions do not favor either above or below normal temperatures for the rest of the state. Although Northeastern Illinois has an increased chance of above normal precipitation, climate conditions do not favor either above or below normal precipitation for the rest of the state.

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