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Central Illinois Experiences Record-Breaking October Temperatures

Written by on October 25, 2021

Photo courtesy of @IllinoisStateU Twitter

NORMAL, Ill. – October usually signals the coming of Halloween costumes, vibrant orange and red leaves, and chilly temperatures. And while the costumes will still be prominent this fall, the latter two may not.

Due to climate change, this October has been unseasonably warm–  breaking or almost breaking temperature records across Central Illinois. The first two weeks of the month saw average temperatures ten to twelve degrees above normal. That made for the warmest start to October on record all across the state.

And when the sun’s gone down, it hasn’t provided as much relief as usual either.

Illinois State Climatologist Dr. Trent Ford notes significantly high nighttime temperatures are being experienced, especially in Central Illinois.

“The average nighttime minimum temperature in Peoria this month so far has been the highest on record, which goes back 138 years,” said Ford. “More specifically for the twin cities, the average October to-date temperature in Normal, 63 degrees, is six degrees above average and is the tenth warmest on record, and the warmest since 1973.”

Not everyone will necessarily feel these greater temperatures at the same time, as weather differs all across the state. But a tangible difference can be noticed by just about everyone: the leaves. Only now are trees and bushes starting to transition to warmer hues. Dr. Ford says it’s a clear sign of an unusual October.

“One of the most prominent signals of how warm this month has been so far is ecology. Having driven through central and northern Illinois over the last week, I have not seen much in the way of fall color yet. Trees and shrubs have mostly stayed green and even some maples are just starting to turn,” said Ford.

He also connects this with the higher nighttime temperatures.

“The process of senescence and leaf color change comes with cooler fall nights,” said Ford. “We just haven’t had enough of those to get the leaf color change in earnest.”

Warming rates are projected to continue their climb through the rest of the century. This means months like this will become more common, and that this is just a sign of things to come.