Despite a little rain Thursday and some prospects for rain this weekend, Kane County is part of a Midwest area in the middle of a moderate drought.
Northeast Illinois and Northwest Indiana emergency management and stormwater partners are warning of a generally dry spring that has led to drops in soil moisture and river levels across the area.
“We are beginning to see the impacts of drought, and additional dry weather could worsen drought conditions,” National Weather Service officials said.
Dry Weather Causing Drought Conditions
The most significant impacts at this time include the near-surface soil moisture and the smaller rivers and streams in the Chicago metro area.
Although water levels on larger rivers (such as the Fox, Kankakee, and Illinois) are not as significantly below average, they will continue to fall without additional precipitation.
Condition monitoring reports received by the National Drought Mitigation Center and by CoCoRaHS suggest that impacts to crops, trees, and landscaping have recently begun to
Soil moisture values in northern Illinois, especially areas closer to the Chicago metro, have been dropping quickly over the last few weeks. Measured soil moisture in the 8 inches nearest the surface at Freeport and St. Charles, for example, has dropped from near average values in early April to very rare low levels by late May.
South of the Chicago metro area, precipitation has kept near surface soil moisture slightly higher, but deeper soil moisture is much lower due to longer-term dry conditions.
Water levels in northeast Illinois have dropped since early spring with several locations near the Chicago metro area significantly below average.
Stream gauges with long periods of record (>50 years) are indicating streamflow values ranging from below average to much below average, indicating at least a moderate hydrologic drought.
Numerous stream gauges with short periods of record in the Chicago metro are near their lowest recorded streamflow values for this time of year.
SOURCE: National Weather Service Chicago, Kane County Office of Emergency Management