(OLNEY/NEWTON) January in Illinois was colder and drier than normal without much snow, according to the Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois in Champaign. The statewide average temperature was 24.1 degrees, 2.3 degrees below normal. January started with temperatures below zero and then fluctuated between two unusually cold and unusually warm periods. The state’s average precipitation (rain & water content of snow) was only 1.31 inches, which was 0.76 inches below normal. While most of the state received between an inch (1.00) and an inch and a half (1.50) of precipitation last month, drier areas were reported in much of southern Illinois and in patches of northern and western Illinois. The upstate area received between 7 and 9 inches of snow in January while the southernmost one third of the state received less than 1 to 3 inches of snow, if that much. By the end of January, 54.9% of the state was either abnormally dry or in the early stages of drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.