It will come down to the wire, but the heavy rains this month may push the area over the wettest August on record that was established in 1965.
So far this month, 7.45 inches of rain fell in the Peoria/Pekin area. The record is 8.61 inches. National Weather Service in Lincoln Meteorologist Daryl Onton said that thunderstorms that were predicted for Tuesday evening and night, and Wednesday could put the area over the record. The summer rainfall for the months of June, July and August together totaled 15.90 inches of rain, or 50 percent above normal. The normal rainfall is 10.4 inches of rain.
Peoria received .76 inches of rain in the downpour Tuesday morning. Morton was hit the hardest with 2.86 inches of rain.
“We’ve seen a fairly persistent warm air mass over the area,” said Onton. “That gave us a lot more chances for thunderstorms.”
The most recent rains have put the Illinois River in Havana over flood stage Tuesday. The river at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday was at 14.3 feet. It is not expected to crest for “several days,” said Onton.
The heavy rains and localized flooding have not impacted the crops at this point, said Tazewell County Farm Bureau Director Doug Godke. He said that he attended a meeting Monday evening where farmers were asked to bring in ears of corn to “see what the development was.” All of the ears brought to the meeting were in good shape with the exception of corn from McLean County where more rain has fallen recently. Godke said the kernels at the base of the ear were beginning to sprout — a sign of too much moisture. He said that there have not been any reports of sprouting kernels in Tazewell County.
“The thing about the rains this summer is they have been very spotty,” said Godke. “In other words, we just saw this big rain in Morton this morning, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what they saw in southern Tazewell (County).
“My president lives down near Delavan, south of Hopedale, and he said earlier this summer he had 4 inches at one time. The big difference that we’re seeing right now is there’s ground cover, so a lot of that rain is hitting the ground and going into the ground. That’s good — it’s not washing off the field. That’s a big plus. And, right now there’s a lot of grass in the waterways, so it’s slowing it down. That’s another good thing.”
Godke said the soybean crop is benefiting from the rains because it will help fill the pods. The corn is also still developing somewhat, so the rains are not harming that crop. He said that farmers will likely start the corn harvest in the second week of September. The corn crop needs to be dry when it is harvested or farmers will have to pay to dry it. He said that rain as the harvest season moves forward could cause problems.
Follow Sharon Woods Harris at Twitter.com/sharrispekin