January 2014 Climate Summary - Plenty of Snow and Cold

 

Central Indiana
January 2014
Climate Summary
Tied for 11th Coldest on record at Indianapolis
68th Driest on record at Indianapolis
2nd Snowiest on record at Indianapolis
Temperatures
The upper level pattern for much of January was highlighted by a broad ridge of high pressure in the western part of the country, and a trough of low pressure east of the Rockies. This enabled repeated blasts of air from the arctic and polar regions to move into the eastern part of the country. This resulted in the coldest January for many across central Indiana over 30 years.
Interestingly enough, 2014 began with one of the milder days of the month, as many locations across central Indiana warmed into the 40s New Year’s Day. The passage of a cold front late on the 1st and early into the 2nd brought high temps down into the teens and 20s through the 3rd. After a brief warmup on the 4th and 5th, exceptionally cold air moved into the region behind the big snowstorm of the 5th. Locations experienced a 35-40 degree drop in temperatures from the evening of the 5th to the early morning of the 6th, with temperatures tumbling below zero. Wind chill values fell to -45 to -35 degrees over central Indiana for much of the 6th and 7th, with overnight lows both days bottoming out around -15 degrees. The low of -15 and -14, respectively, on the 6th and 7th at Indianapolis were the two coldest mornings recorded since January 1994. Temperatures began to recover on the 8th, with a thaw taking place from the 10th through the 14th as highs generally warmed into the 40s. Many locations recorded their warmest temperatures of the month in the low 50s on the 13th.
High temperatures generally slipped back into the 20s and 30s through the 20th as a northwest flow pattern developed in the upper levels. This pattern would hold for much of the rest of the month, with small storm systems impacting central Indiana every two to three days. These storms brought snow and reinforcing shots of very cold arctic air. Subzero lows occurred on the 22nd and 23rd, and again on the 26th and 27th. For Indianapolis, the eight subzero mornings experienced in January ended up being the most experienced in any month since January 1994, which also experienced eight subzero mornings.
 

Site
January 2014 Avg Temp
January 2014 Difference from Normal
Highest
Temperature
Lowest Temperature
Indianapolis
20.1
-8.0
50 on 13
-15 on 6
Lafayette*
18.9
-7.6
50 on 13
-14 on 7
Muncie**
19.0
-7.5
48 on 13
-14 on 7
Terre Haute
21.8
-6.4
53 on 13
-15 on 7
Bloomington
23.1
-6.3
53 on 13
-11 on 6
Shelbyville***
21.8
-6.9
51 on 13
-11 on 3
Indy – Eagle Crk.
20.3
-7.8
50 on 13
-14 on 7

At Indianapolis, there were 8 days with above normal average temperatures and 23 days with below normal average temperatures.
 
January 2014 was tied for the 11th coldest in the Indianapolis area since weather records began in 1871.
*January 5 and 6 temperature data missing at Lafayette.
** January 8 and 9 temperature data missing at Muncie.
***January 11 temperature data missing at Shelbyville.
 
Precipitation

January precipitation ranged from below normal in southwest Indiana to normal or slightly above normal across the remainder of the state. Liquid precipitation totals measured from 1.5 inches to more than 4 inches. Most of the state received between 2 to 4 inches of liquid precipitation during January.
 
The combination of rainfall of one quarter to three quarters of an inch late on the 10th and slowly melting snow through 13th broke up the river ice that formed during the month and created lowland flooding along portions of the Wabash, White and East Fork White Rivers. Flooding began in central Indiana on the 11th and ended in southwest Indiana by the 21st. River crests on the Wabash River was similar or lower than those of December. Flooding along the East Fork White and White Rivers was much less than in December. There were no reports of serious ice blockages.
 
At the end of January little snow remained in Indiana. The lack of a deep snow cover after 15th allowed the ground to freeze to a depth of 9 inches at Indianapolis by the 31st. Most rivers and streams were ice covered and at normal levels.

 

Site
January 2014 Precipitation
January 2014 Difference from Normal
Wettest Day
Longest Dry Stretch
Indianapolis
2.34
-0.32
1.12 on 5
2 days 3-4, 7-8, 12-13 and 28-29
Lafayette*
0.91
-0.95
1/5 Wettest Day – Missing Total
3 days 28-30
Muncie**
0.63
-1.60
1/5 Wettest Day – Missing Total
2 days 3-4, 19-20 and 28-29
Terre Haute
1.77
-0.59
0.93 on 5
3 days 28-30
Bloomington
2.32
-0.99
1.32 on 5
4 days 28-31
Shelbyville
2.03
-0.36
1.24 on 5
3 days 28-30
Indy – Eagle Crk.
1.88
-0.33
0.96 on 5
3 days 28-30

 
January 2014 was the 68th driest in the Indianapolis area since weather records began in 1871.
*January 5 and 6 precipitation data missing at Lafayette.
** January 5 precipitation data missing at Muncie.
 
Snowfall
This was one of the snowiest months ever for much of central and northern Indiana. Much of central Indiana received from 12 to more than 24 inches of snow. The Indianapolis area received 26.9 inches of snowfall. Only the months of January 1978, March 1906 and December 1973 received more snowfall since snow records began in 1884 at Indianapolis. More impressive, this month’s snowfall eclipsed the annual average of 25.9 inches.
 
The passage of a cold front on the 2nd brought several inches of snow to much of central Indiana, signaling the beginning of a very active month for snowfall. Just a few days later, the January 5 winter storm was the biggest of the month, with locations along and north of Interstate 70 receiving 8 to 14 inches of snow. At Indianapolis, the 11.4 inches received on the 5th was the second highest daily total in recorded history, behind only the 12.1 inches that occurred on March 19, 1906. For more information on this storm, please visit http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ind/?n=jan52014snowandcold.
 
Much of the second half of January saw an unsettled pattern develop with a broad upper trough over the eastern United States. Small low pressure systems tracked repeatedly out of the Canadian prairies every two to three days, bringing additional snowfall to various parts of central Indiana. One of the stronger systems brought as much as 4 to 6 inches of snow to northern portions of central Indiana on the 18th. More information on this event can be found here http://www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php?wfo=ind&storyid=99760&source=2
 
Additional storms generally brought 1 to 3 inches of snow. The passage of strong cold fronts on the evenings of the 22nd and 26th produced brief, but intense snow squalls that produced a quick 1 to 2 inches of snow. Combined with wind gusts occasionally in excess of 50 to 55 mph, these squalls were notable for producing brief whiteout conditions.
 
Severe Weather
No severe weather occurred in central Indiana during the month of January.
 
For information on severe weather in other areas during January, visit the Storm Prediction Center “Severe Weather Event Summaries” website at http://www.spc.noaa.gov/climo/online/.
 
Miscellaneous
The maximum wind gust at the Indianapolis International Airport was 52 mph from the northwest during the late evening of the 26th and early morning of the 27th as a strong cold front moved through the Indianapolis metro area. Fog or haze was reported at Indianapolis on 18 days during the month, with dense fog occurring on four days. Blowing snow was reported on 11 days during January. Freezing rain and drizzle occurred on the 9th and 10th.
 
February 2014 Outlook
The official outlook for February 2014 from the Climate Prediction Center indicates a much greater chance of below normal temperatures across much of central Indiana. At Indianapolis, the average temperature for the month is 32.1 degrees. The outlook calls for a much greater chance of above normal precipitation. The average precipitation for February at Indianapolis is 2.32”, with 6.5” of snowfall.
 
Data prepared by the Indianapolis Forecast Office.



 


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