February 2014 Climate Summary - Cold/Snow Continue

            Central Indiana
February 2014
Climate Summary
12th Coldest on record at Indianapolis
66thWettest on record at Indianapolis
9th Snowiest on record at Indianapolis
The month started out mild by this winter’s standards, as temperatures warmed into the 30s and 40s on the 1st with a storm moving through the Ohio Valley. Colder air was quickly drawn back into the Ohio Valley however by the early morning of the 2nd, setting the stage for yet another extended period of very cold temperatures. For much of central Indiana after the 2nd, temperatures wouldn’t rise back above the freezing level until the 12th or 13th. After the significant winter storm on the 4th and 5th, another blast of polar air followed with highs holding primarily in the teens on the 6th and 7th, with subzero lows in the mornings.
Temperatures responded only modestly into the 20s on the 8th and 9th before the passage of another weak storm system prompted a reinforcing surge of colder air for the 10th and 11th, with highs falling back into the teens and subzero lows once again. A brief warmup ensured from the 12th through the 14th with highs into the 30s. Yet another winter storm brought additional accumulating snow on the 14th, with colder air returning.
The most substantial warmup of the month began on the 18th as southerly winds brought much warmer air into the Ohio Valley. High temperatures peaked in the upper 50s and lower 60s across much of central Indiana during the evening of the 20th ahead of a strong cold front, easily the warmest temperatures for 2014 so far. Temperatures remained mild behind the cold front, with many locations returning back into the 50s on the 22nd. The passage of a cold front during the late evening of the 22nd and early morning of the 23rd however brought an abrupt end to the warmer weather, with winter making its return for the remainder of the month as the persistent upper trough over the eastern U.S. made its reappearance. Highs bottomed out in the teens and lower 20s on the 26th and 27th, with single digit lows once again for the final morning of the month.
February ended up as the 12th coldest on record and coldest February since 2007 at Indianapolis.
February 2014     Avg Temp
February 2014 Difference from Normal
Lowest Temperature
62 on 20
-7 on 7
59 on 20
-17 on 11
59 on 20
-13 on 11
Terre Haute
64 on 20
-16 on 11
67 on 20
-13 on 7
63 on 20
-10 on 11
Indy – Eagle Crk.
63 on 20
-10 on 7 and 11
At Indianapolis, there were 6 days with above normal average temperatures and 22 days with below normal average temperatures.
February 2014 was the 12th coldest in the Indianapolis area since weather records began in 1871.

February precipitation ranged from near normal in the southern half of the state to above normal in the northern portion. Much of the state received between 2 to 4 inches of liquid precipitation, with nearly 5 inches in west central Indiana, during the month of February.
After a cold, snowy first half of the month, a major thaw occurred from the 18th through the 22nd and melted most of the snow cover in central and southern Indiana. The combination of frozen ground, rapid snowmelt and one quarter to three quarters inches of rain on the 20th caused widespread lowland flooding in central and southern Indiana. Flooding this February had an unusual feature typically not seen in Indiana; ice jams. Serious ice jam flooding developed along Wildcat Creek in the Lafayette on the 21st. More than 20 residences were affected. Ice jam flooding also occurred in Huntington and other areas of northern Indiana. At times, ice jams on the Wabash River extended for 8 to more than 12 miles along portions of the Wabash River along and north of I-74.
At the close of February, virtually all the snow was gone in central and southern Indiana while 4 to 12 inches of snow covered the ground in northern Indiana. The frost depth was around 2 inches after being 9 inches to start the month. The ground completely thawed for a short time on the 21st. Lowland river flooding continued in portions of western and southwest Indiana. Ice still remained in rivers and streams in northern Indiana.
February 2014  Precipitation
February 2014 Difference from Normal
Wettest Day
Longest Dry Stretch
0.68 on 1
 4 days 10-13
1.07 on 1
 3 days 26-28
0.93 on 1
 4 days 10-13
Terre Haute
1.11 on 1
 4 days 10-13
0.96 on 20
 4 days 10-13
0.38 on 20
 4 days 10-13
Indy – Eagle Crk.
0.92 on 1
 3 days 26-28
February 2014 was the 66th wettest in the Indianapolis area since weather records began in 1871.
The very snowy trend experienced during the first half of December, and especially throughout January, continued right into February. This month was among one of the snowiest Februarys on record for much of central and northern Indiana. Much of central Indiana received from 8 to 18 inches of snow. Indianapolis had 16.5 inches of snow, making this the 9th snowiest February on record and the snowiest since February 2010 when 17.5 inches fell. Combined with the 26.9 inches that fell in January, this was only the fourth occurrence in recorded history of two consecutive months with greater than 15 inches of snowfall.
The Indianapolis area set a snowfall record for the meteorological winter months of December, January and February with a total of 52.2 inches.  This topped the previous record of 51 inches, which fell from December 1981 to February 1982. As of February 28, the winter of 2013-14 was the third snowiest of record. Only the winter seasons of 1981-82 with 58.2 inches and 1977-78 with 57.9 inches, had more snowfall. This record could fall with the expected winter storm to come beginning on the night of March 1 into March 2 and 3.
Snow impacted parts of the region early on the morning of the 2nd as colder air spread back into central Indiana on the back side of a departing storm system. A thin 15 to 20 mile wide band of moderate to occasionally heavy snow aligned from Parke and Vermillion Counties northeast through Crawfordsville, Thorntown, Frankfort ,Tipton and Kokomo where 5 to 8 inches fell in about a four to five hour period. Outside of this area, snowfall amounts were generally 1 to 2 inches or less.
The bulk of the heaviest snowfall came on February 4 and 5 as a strong low pressure system tracked through the Ohio Valley. Snow was the predominant precipitation type for areas along and north of the Interstate 70 corridor, where 6 to 10 inches of snow fell. Further south, snowfall totals were diminished with freezing rain and sleet mixing in. For more information on this storm, please click on this link. http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ind/?n=feb42014snow
A fast moving yet potent clipper system was responsible for a snowy Valentine’s Day for many. The low pressure system tracked further north than many models had indicated, resulting in the swath of heavier snowfall of 4 to 6 inches being brought north to the Interstate 70 corridor. The snow fell heaviest during the afternoon, making for a miserable evening commute across the Indianapolis metro area.
Monthly snowfall in southern Indiana was considerably less than that of central Indiana. Snow totals ranged from about an inch in southwest Indiana to around 6 inches in south central Indiana. Portions of southeast Indiana received nearly 12 inches of snowfall.
Severe Weather
Severe weather occurred on the evening of the 20th as a strong cold front moved across central Indiana. A line of thunderstorms developed along the front during the late afternoon over Illinois, and moved into the Hoosier state during the evening. The storms produced 55 to 65 mph with damage to structures. An EF0 tornado was on the ground for eight minutes, tracking from the southeast side of Crawfordsville to near Darlington in Montgomery County. The tornado damaged numerous outbuildings, removed shingles from homes, damaged a part of a Pilot truck stop canopy, and sheared off numerous tree tops. A second brief EF0 tornado produced damage to a home and surrounding trees near Arlington in northwest Rush County. For more information on this event, please click on this link.   http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ind/?n=feb202014severe
For information on severe weather in other areas during February, visit the Storm Prediction Center “Severe Weather Event Summaries” website at http://www.spc.noaa.gov/climo/online/.
The maximum wind gust at the Indianapolis International Airport was 58 mph from the west during the evening of the 20th as a line of severe thunderstorms moved through the Indianapolis metro area. Fog or haze was reported at Indianapolis on 15 days during the month, with dense fog occurring on two days. Ice pellets or freezing rain and drizzle was reported on four day during February. Thunder occurred on the 20th.
March 2014 Outlook
The official outlook for March 2014 from the Climate Prediction Center indicates a greater chance of below normal temperatures across much of central Indiana.  At Indianapolis, the average temperature for the month is 42.2 degrees. The outlook also calls for an equal chance of above, below or near normal precipitation. The average precipitation for March at Indianapolis is 3.56”, with 2.6” of snowfall.
Spring 2014 Outlook
The official outlook for meteorological spring (March-May 2014) from the Climate Prediction Center indicates a better chance of near to slightly below normal temperatures across central Indiana. At Indianapolis, the average temperature for the spring season is 52.6 degrees. The outlook also calls for a greater chance of above normal precipitation throughout the spring. The average spring season precipitation is 12.42 inches along with 2.8 inches of snowfall, most of which typically falls during the month of March.
Data prepared by the Indianapolis Forecast Office.

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