SPRINGFIELD, ILL ( IRN) – As the Drought Response Task Force keeps tabs on the effects of the dry weather, Gov. Pat Quinn today will announce some relief from the state.
Quinn has kept in contact with the Drought Response Task Force, which is monitoring everything from lake water levels and drinking water sources to the drought’s effect on farmers. Quinn is in the Mount Vernon area today, where he will announce state efforts to help farmers and residents deal with the drought.
The Illinois State Water Survey reports that most of Southern and Central Illinois are considered in drought based on precipitation deficits of five inches or more dating to July 2011, with deficits of eight inches or more in southeast Illinois and up to 12 inches in portions of west-central Illinois during that time.
Northern Illinois is also dry, and if lack of rainfall persists, could be considered in drought in the coming weeks. The water survey adds that the precipitation deficit’s impacts are even more substantial due to unseasonably warm weather, including the warmest spring on record in parts of Illinois.
Under USDA rules, a county automatically qualifies for a disaster designation once it is categorized by the U.S. Drought Monitor as being in a severe drought for eight or more consecutive weeks during the growing season. A formal request for the designation is no longer necessary.
The 26 counties in Illinois that immediately meet the criteria are: Alexander, Clark, Clay, Crawford, Edwards, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Lawrence, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Richland, Saline, Union, Wabash, Wayne, White and Williamson. Additional counties almost assuredly will qualify in the coming weeks.