Wettest in 45 Years
March 2008 was marked by a very wet weather pattern that persisted throughout the entire month, while temperatures continued on their roller coaster ride of ups and downs that has been the rule for several months. The dips and valleys this month for temperatures were not as extreme in past months, but temperatures did still range from highs in the 40s one day to highs in the 60s the next.
March 2008 was the 8th wettest March on record in Indianapolis, and was the wettest since 1963.
The following is a summary of the conditions experienced in Indianapolis during the month of March, 2008.
March 2008 finished with an average monthly temperature of 40.4 degrees. This was below normal by 1.3 degrees. March 2008 was the coolest March since 2005, and was in sharp contrast to March of last year (2007), which was the 7th warmest on record. There were no temperature records set during the month, and largely most of the days were within a few degrees of normal. The most above normal day came on the 2nd, which was above normal by 15 degrees. The most below normal day was the 8th, which was 15 degrees below normal.
Overall, only 2 days during the month saw a high temperature fail to reach the freezing mark. An average March sees 5 days with sub-freezing high temperatures.
The coldest temperature of the month was 18 degrees on the morning of the 9th.
March of 2008 was particularly notable for the abundance of rainfall that fell in Central Indiana. The monthly total of 7.49 inches was above normal by 4.05 inches, and made this the 8th wettest March on record, and the soggiest since March of 1963.
The rain came in several large events throughout the month, with three separate days reporting an inch of rain or greater, and six days tallying more than a half inch. The rainiest single day came on the 18th, with 1.92 inches falling. This was followed on the 19th with an additional 1.05 inches, for a two day total of 2.97 inches. The normal total for the entire month of March is only 3.44 inches.
The end result of all this heavy rain was an extended period of flooding across central Indiana. Rivers remained high all month, and following the heavier events, which produced five inches of rain or more in some spots, the rivers would surge up to levels of moderate flooding. At the close of the month, many rivers remained in flooded condition.
March is typically the last month in which significant snow falls on central Indiana during the season. A normal March would bring 3.1 inches to Indianapolis. This year, the total for the month was 2.3 inches, so was rather close to normal. A total of 9 days during March 2008 saw at least a trace of snow, with 3 of those days producing measurable snow (more than 0.1 inches).
The storm of March 7-8 was a very significant one for extreme southeastern portions of central Indiana. Many locations in this part of the area saw 6 to 11 inches of snowfall, driven by strong winds at times producing near blizzard conditions. However, true to the nature of a March snow, this quickly melted and by month’s close many residents were treated to the first daffodils poking from the rapidly greening ground.
After a few significant severe weather episodes in January and February in central Indiana, March was relatively quiet. Most of the month was spent in cloudy, cool, and rainy conditions, while the warm and unstable air needed to spark severe weather remained south of the area. Remarkably, there were no reports of severe thunderstorms received at the National Weather Service office in Indianapolis during March 2008.
The official April outlook from the Climate Prediction Center indicates an enhanced likelihood of above normal temperatures for the month of April. The outlook calls for an equal chance of above, below, or near normal values of precipitation for the month.
Data Prepared by Logan Johnson, Climate Services Focal Point with assistance from NWS forecast team
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Temperature and Precipitation Records Cover 1871-2007 in the Indianapolis Area.
Snowfall Records Cover the period 1884-2007 in the Indianapolis Area.
Normals refer to reference period 1971-2000.
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