By Illinois Radio Network
SPRINGFIELD – Most of Illinois only got a couple weeks of rain last month, but it was enough to make it the wettest February in recorded history.
What started off as a dryer-than-normal month ended up breaking records for precipitation. State Climatologist Jim Angel said the statewide average precipitation was 5 inches last month, the wettest February on record for Illinois.
“That’s darned near twice the normal [average precipitation] and then some,” Angel said.
The rains caused rivers to swell, putting homes and businesses under water.
Angel says it’s especially remarkable considering much of the state didn’t get any rain for the first two weeks of the month.
“It started out very dry so it’s quite a comeback from that dry period,” he said.
It was enough flooding for Gov. Bruce Rauner to declare Iroquois, Kankakee and Vermilion counties state disaster areas due to flooding. The flooding caused homeowners and businesses millions of dollars in damages across the state.
On the bright side, Angel said all that precipitation will be good for the state’s crops once hotter and dryer months come.
“We are pretty much fully recharged in terms of soil moisture,” he said.
While the freshly soaked subsoil won’t withstand a drought like the one in 2012, Angel says it will come in handy should the state go a couple weeks without rain.