Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel says the current drought conditions have been slowly developing since the start of the calendar year.
"Every month, this year, has been below normal on precipitation and above normal on temperatures," says Angel. "You get that combination going and we were drying out in March, which is normally the 'budding' month."
Angel says the situation was not helped by a dry winter, which depleted some soil moisture, and less rain last summer and fall.
He says the drought is also feeding on itself.
"When you have such as large area being dry," says Angel, "there is not as much moisture getting back into the atmosphere. The resulting thunderstorms are then relatively small."
He says there is little that can be done to address the drought, though he does expect to see more burn bans and water conservation.
Angel fears the dry conditions have damaged crops to such a degree that even timely rainfall won't save crops in poor condition. Soybeans are more likely to recover than corn if the crops receive some rain due to their later growth cycle.
He says it would take rainfall well above normal the rest of the summer to replenish the soil moisture.
Thanks to Illinois Public Radio.