Mid-July soils are surpassing average temperatures from last year by continuing to warm across the state, according to a University of Illinois program manager. 

“Soil temperatures at 4 inches under bare soil rose 4 degrees in the first half of July to a statewide average of 86 degrees,” according to a UofI news release that cited Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) Program manager at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey.

“Temperatures were 8 degrees above the historical normal and 3 degrees warmer than last year on July 14,” stated the release. “Daily highs are in the 90s for most areas with several locations measuring temperatures 100 degrees and higher.

Soil moisture levels have been falling in July.

“Moisture levels declined 32 percent at 2 inches, averaging 0.23 water fraction by volume (wfv) on July 14,” stated the release. “Similar but smaller declines also occurred at 4 and 8 inches, decreasing 25 and 22 percent, respectively.”   

Moisture levels remain high deeper in soils. So far in July, though, soil moisture at 39 and 59 inches showed no significant changes. Instead it averaged 0.47 and 0.44 wfv, respectively, on July 14.

The Illinois State Water Survey’s WARM Program collects hourly and daily weather and soil information at 19 stations across the state. Its daily and monthly summaries can be found at its website at www.isws.illinois.edu/warm and in the Illinois Water and Climate Summary www.isws.illinois.edu/warm/climate.asp.