April 2006 - Warm and Stormy

Frequent Warmth and Bouts of Severe Weather Punctuated April of 2006




 Severe weather was a seemingly common occurrence across central Indiana during the month of April of 2006. Residents of the Indianapolis metro area were assaulted by all types of violent weather, ranging from damaging straight line winds to massive hail, torrential downpours, and street flooding. Some of the worst weather seemed to be focused on downtown Indianapolis, ensuring that many residents won’t soon forget this unsettled month.

 April was only two days old when the first outbreak of severe weather occurred. A fast moving thunderstorm complex, known as a derecho, developed and raced across Central Indiana. Damage from this system was widespread, ranging from trees and powerlines down all the way to severe structural damage to several homes. This outbreak will be best remembered for its still visible damage that it caused to the Regents Bank Building in downtown Indianapolis, when winds in excess of 80 miles and hour ripped through the city streets.


Area residents had but a few days to clean up and get back to normal before another round of damaging thunderstorms came to visit on April 7th. This time the weapon of choice for the storms was hail, with dozens of reports across the area ranging from quarter sized all the way to golfball sized. As damaging as this storm was, it seems to have been little more than just a warm-up for the storms that would come to pass a week later.


 April 14th marked the final widespread severe weather outbreak of the month. This was characterized by two massive supercell thunderstorms that tracked directly over the city of Indianapolis. Areas around the city received both wind and hail damage in these storms. Some of the most extreme hail damage was reported in the city itself,  as residents dodged hail larger than golfballs, which produced extensive damage to cars and homes. Wind gusts as high as 85 mph were recorded at the Indianapolis International Airport, and pockets of damage were recorded from this wind on the west side of the city.




While many areas in Indiana received monthly rainfall well above normal, official totals at the airport were closer to average. 3.63 inches of rainfall was recorded, which is above normal by 0.02 inches. Nearly half of the entire month’s rainfall came on April 14th with the supercells that tracked over the city. In fact, a daily rainfall record was set as 1.55 inches was recorded, besting the previous record from 1922 of 1.43 inches.


 Temperatures for the month were well above normal, largely due to a two week stretch during mid April where the high temperature was over 70 degrees every day except for two, including an almost summer-like high temperature of 82 degrees on the 13th. The month finished with an average temperature of 57.1 degrees, above normal by 4.9 degrees. This was enough to tie April 2006 as the 11th warmest of all time, along with Aprils of 1955, 1977, and 1985. It was also the warmest April in 5 years.




2006 has already gotten off to an extremely mild start. With April closing up warmer than normal, three of this year’s four months have registered average temperatures above normal.

Through the end of April, the average temperature has been 42.8 degrees. This is above normal by 4.8 degrees, a fact that is largely due to the 2nd warmest January ever, and now the 11th warmest April ever. This means that 2006 is now off to the 6th warmest start of any year ever.


 Rainfall has been above normal as well. By the end of April, the yearly total stood at 15.61 inches, a figure that is above normal by 3.67 inches.


 Current monthly outlooks for May indicate an enhanced likelihood of cooler than normal temperatures during the first third of the month, followed by an enhanced likelihood of warmer than normal temperatures by mid-month. 


Temperature & Precipitation records at Indianapolis cover the period 1871-2006

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