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.