Fall 2006: Coldest Since 1997

Fall 2006:
Coldest fall in nearly a decade
With November of 2006 now just another number in the record books, the Meteorological Fall of 2006 has also come to an end. December 1 brings the return of winter in meteorological terms, a fact that was well observed by Hoosier residents this year as a blast of frigid polar air roared in on the back of a strong and gusty wind just in time to kick off the start of winter.
With winter now underway, taking a few moments to look back on the fall season of 2006 will show that true to its nature, the fall was a transitional season. Typical firsts came and went during the fall season, including the last heat and humidity of the year, the first frost, and even the first few snowflakes.

The following is a summary of conditions observed at Indianapolis during the Fall 2006 season (covering the months of September, October, and November).


2006 Observed Value

Normal Value

2006 Difference From Normal

Average Temperature




Total Precipitation




Total Snowfall




Date of first frost

October 12

October 16

4 days earlier

Date of first snow

October 24

November 11

18 days earlier

Date of first accumulating snow

Did not occur

November 20

Did not Occur

The fall of 2006 was relatively unremarkable in terms of all-time extremes. The season began with the coldest September and October since 1993. But this early season coolness was cancelled out by a very warm close to November that saw average daily temperatures of 15 degrees or more above normal for 5 consecutive days from November 26-30. Overall, the fall average temperature was the coldest fall since 1997, when the average temperature was 53.2 degrees. This cool fall season goes against the overwhelming trend of this decade. Since 2000, only 2 of the 7 fall seasons have experienced average temperatures below the long-term average.
Each month during the fall of 2006 was wetter than normal. Had November not experienced the complete lack of rainfall between the 20th and 29th, it is likely the fall season could have made its mark in the all-time records. As it was, this past fall season found its way into the 20th wettest fall of all time.  It was also the wettest fall season since 2001 when 14.36 inches of precipitation was measured.
Fall of 2006 saw just a trace of snow. The first trace of snow came on October 24th, and the only other day with a trace of snowfall came on November 19. This is the first fall season since 2001 that did not experience any measurable snowfall.
With a moderate El Nino now occurring, the outlook for the winter season of 2006-07 calls for an enhanced likelihood of warmer than normal temperatures across central Indiana. The precipitation outlook indicates an enhanced likelihood of drier than normal conditions in the area as well. While these conditions have an enhanced likelihood of occurring, it is important to remember what this means. Notice that Fall of 2006 contained some very cool stretches of weather, and yet when it was all finished it ended up being near normal.
The winter outlook indicates an average temperature of a very long stretch of time, and an enhanced likelihood of warmer than normal conditions does not mean that we will not expect any cold weather this season. Cold today can be balanced out by warmth happening tomorrow, next week, or even next month. Continue to prepare for a winter in Central Indiana that will feature occasional snow and ice, bouts of frigid wintry weather, and even a mid-winter thaw!

Data Prepared by Logan Johnson, Climate Services Focal Point
Please Contact w-ind.webmaster@noaa.gov for more information.
Temperature and Precipitation Records Cover the Period 1871-2006 in the Indianapolis Area.
Snowfall Records Cover the period 1884-2006 in the Indianapolis Area.
Normals refer to reference period 1971-2000.

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