May Climate Review -- Unusually Wet and More Stormy

May 2013 will be known for being one of the wetter Mays on record over central Illinois.  In the image below, totals of over 10 inches are reflected by the pink shading, and was widespread west of a Galesburg to Taylorville line. 

May 2013 rainfall

Several locations observed rainfall that was a record, or within the top few wettest May totals.  These include:

Location May 2013 
Beardstown 11.44 inches 2nd wettest 12.74 inches (1935) 
Galesburg 11.99 inches New record 10.07 inches (1995)
Havana 11.73 inches New record 10.75 inches (1995)
Jacksonville 9.96 inches 4th wettest 12.26 inches (1935)
Peoria 10.41 inches 2nd wettest 11.49 inches (1915)
Rushville 10.97 inches 4th wettest 14.26 inches (1996) 
Springfield 10.90 inches 2nd wettest 11.81 inches (1899)
Virginia 11.60 inches New record 10.66 inches (1995)
Winchester 11.27 inches New record 9.13 inches (1899)

While heavy rain occurred on May 2-3, especially over west central Illinois where 3 to 4 inches or more occurred, a lot of the heavier rain fell during the last several days of the month.  The 7-day period encompassing the Memorial Day weekend through the end of May saw several areas of 4 to 7 inches, with lower totals around Champaign.  Flash flood warnings were in effect in many areas at different times through the last week of May, due to the heavy rain and slow storm movement.   Lingering flooding on the Illinois River, which had been close to subsiding at Havana and Beardstown from the April record flooding, reversed course and river levels were significantly rising again by the end of the month.  Moderate flooding also occurred on the Spoon River, and the flooding on the Illinois River had become more widespread again both upstream of Havana and downstream of Beardstown.  At the end of the month, flooding also began developing on portions of the Embarras and Little Wabash Rivers in southeast Illinois.

Severe weather began to increase late in the month as well, although some storms on the 2nd did cause damage in parts of Piatt, Douglas and Moultrie Counties.  On Memorial Day, strong storms developed in west central Illinois early in the afternoon, and became severe as they pushed through the Springfield area.  Winds of 60 to 65 mph occurred in parts of Springfield and Rochester, causing damage to trees and power lines, with extensive tree damage occurring at the Henson Robinson Zoo along the shores of Lake Springfield.  Just outside of Riverton, a microburst damaged several dozen manufactured houses at a trailer park.  Damage from these storms also affected Decatur and Forsyth.  More widespread severe weather occurred on Thursday, May 30, with many reports of wind damage.  On Friday, May 31, another round of severe weather developed, most prominently in the evening as a squall line exited the St. Louis metro after causing several tornadoes in that area.  These storms again caused mainly wind damage as they pushed through central and southeast Illinois, with the most extensive damage in Decatur and Argenta.

Links below are the monthly climate summaries for area cities. Only the summaries for Peoria, Springfield and Lincoln are considered "official", meaning they are the station of record for their respective locations. The other summaries are "supplemental", meaning another location in the area is the official climate station for that city.

Climate data for other area cities is available at

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