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Hill and Furrow

Setting Records: February 2014 Weather Summary

Historical weather data. The Monmouth weather station has been in operation since 1893, meaning that average temperature, precipitation and snowfall data have been collected for each of the last 122 Februarys. Temperature, snowfall and precipitation data listed below were collected at the Monmouth weather station located a little more than 4 miles from the Northwestern Illinois Agricultural Research and Demonstration Center (NWIARDC), while soil temperature data was collected at the NWIARDC.


February's average high temperature was 24 degrees, 14 degrees below the 30-year average and the second coldest February average high on record (Figure). The average low temperature was 2 degrees, 18 degrees below the 30-year average and the coldest February average low on record. Records were set for the daily low temperature on February 4th, 7th, 11th, and 14th and the low temperatures for five other days (February 3rd, 6th, 10th, 12th, and 15th) were the second coldest on record.


Soil Temperature

Air Temp

4" (Bare)

4" (Sod)



Monthly average high




Monthly average low




Observed high (date)

47 (21)

34 (21)

34 (21)

Observed low (date)

-20 (3)

18 (1)

13 (8)


February precipitation was approximately 1.5 inches above the 30-year average (Figure). Approximately 1.5 inches of the total 3.3 inches of precipitation in February fell as snow. Although precipitation falling as snow accounted for less than half of the total accumulation, the colder than average high and low temperatures kept the snow that fell light and fluffy. This made February 2014 the snowiest on record, with 24 total inches of snow, beating the previous record set in 2010 by 5 inches.

2014 PRECIPITATION (in inches)

Since January 1


Monthly Total

Monthly departure from average

Total accumulation

Total departure











It is difficult to imagine when planting might commence! With the cold soil temperatures, record low air temperatures and record snow fall it is difficult to imagine soils becoming dry and warm enough to begin planting operations. We know that it will happen, but when? This question is largely unanswerable at this point.

We can recall that Illinois experienced very different planting progress during 2012 and 2013. USDA-NASS, in cooperation with county FSA personnel, estimate planting progress, crop condition and phenology, and harvest progress weekly throughout each growing season in Illinois in . On April 1, 2012, five percent of the corn acres had already been planted, meaning that farmers began planting corn in late March. This was only possible because the dry winter and warm spring provided ideal soil conditions. Soil conditions in 2013, however, were vastly different. Statewide, the first 6 months of 2013 were the wettest on record. The wet soils delayed planting. The May 5, 2013 progress report estimates that seven percent of the corn acres had been planted at this time.

One consolation after this difficult winter is that we can look to history as our guide. The majority of acres will get planted this year as they usually do regardless of when planting begins.

References: Midwest Regional Climate Center cli-MATE Tool & USDA-NASS Illinois Weather and Crops.