2006 Central Indiana Weather Review

2006: A Year in Review
The year of 2006 will go down in the record books as a warm and wet year. The year checked into the top 15 all-time in both categories. It was the warmest year since 1999 and the wettest year since 2003.
The following information will represent a very comprehensive look back on the year that was. The information is arranged in this order:
Monthly and Seasonal Conditions
Miscellaneous Weather Stats
Records Broken
Brief Monthly Weather Summaries
Top 10 Weather Stories of 2006
Winter 2005-2006
Actual Numbers and the Differences from Normal
Average Temperature
Total Precipitation
Lows Below 32 Degrees
December 2005
27.1 -4.5
2.69 -0.34
14.1 +7.7
25 +1
January 2006
39.7 +13.2
3.30 +0.82
2.7 -6.6
19 -8
February 2006
32.3 +1.1
1.89 -0.52
3.9 -2.2
25 +3
Winter Season
33.0 +9.8
7.88 -0.04
20.7 -1.1
69 -4
Spring 2006
Actual Numbers and the Differences from Normal
Average Temperature
March 2006
41.7 +0.0
6.79 +2.35
5.5 +2.4
April 2006
57.1 +5.1
3.63 +0.02
0.0 -0.4
May 2006
61.3 -1.3
4.34 +0.73
0.0 +0.0
Spring Season
53.4 +3.8
14.76 +3.10
5.5 +2.0
Summer 2006
Actual Numbers and the Differences from Normal
Average Temperature
Highs of 90 Degrees or More
June 2006
70.4 -1.3
5.63 +1.50
0 -3
July 2006
76.6 +1.2
3.98 +0.44
8 +1
August 2006
75.0 +1.5
3.01 +0.81
2 -3
Summer Season
74.0 +1.4
12.62 +2.75
10 -5
Autumn 2006
Actual Numbers and the Differences from Normal
Average Temperature
September 2006
64.1 -2.2
3.53 +0.65
0.0 +0.0
October 2006
52.0 -2.6
5.45 +2.69
T -0.4
November 2006
45.5 +2.6
4.25 +0.64
T -1.3
Autumn Season
53.9 -2.2
13.23 +3.98
T -1.7
Winter 2006-2007
Actual Numbers and Differences from Normal
Average Temperature
Lows below 32 Degrees
December 2006
38.8 +7.2
5.24 +2.21
0.9 -5.5 
15 -9 
Calendar Year 2006
Actual Numbers and Differences from Normal
Average Temperature
Total Precipitation
54.7 +2.1 
51.04 +10.09
13.0 -13.9
All Time Ranks
Tied 11th Warmest
Tied 11th wettest
22nd Least Snowiest

Miscellaneous Information
Date of Final Spring Frost:       April 9
Date of Final Spring Snow:      March 25
Date of First Fall Frost:            October 12
Date of First Fall Snow:           October 24
Hottest High Temperature:      93 (July 31, August 1, August 2)
Coldest Low Temperature:        4 (February 19)
Coldest High Temperature:      21 (February 19)
Warmest Low Temperature:    76 (July 31, August 1)
Heaviest Daily Rainfall:             2.49 (July 11)
Heaviest Daily Snowfall:            5.4 (March 21)
Wettest 7 day period:                4.60” (March 8-14)
Driest 7 day period:                   0.00” (November 22-28)
Consecutive days with temperatures below freezing:      3 (February 18-20)
Consecutive days with highs of 90 or hotter:                  5 (July 15-19)

Records Broken
January 2 :       Record High Temperature: 65
                           (Old Record 63 in 2004)
January 20:      Record Warmest Low Temperature: 51
                           (Old Record 47 in 1974)
March 21:         Record Heaviest Daily Snowfall: 5.4”
                           (Old Record 3.0” in 1888)
March 22:          Record Deepest Daily Snow Depth: 5”
                            (Old Record: 3” in 1996)
April 14:             Record Heaviest Daily Precipitation: 1.55”
                            (Old Record: 1.43” in 1922)
May 12:             Record Coldest High Temperature: 49
                            (Old Record: 52 degrees in 1952)
May 13:             Record Coldest High Temperature: 50
                            (Old Record 53 degrees in 1895)
July 11      :       Heaviest Daily Precipitation: 2.49”
                            (Old Record 1.62” 1897)
October 27:       Heaviest Daily Precipitation: 1.71”
                            (Old Record 1.63” in 1919)
November 29:   Record Warmest Low Temperature: 57
    (Old record 56 in 1991)

Brief Monthly Weather Summaries
January- The biggest weather story for January 2006 was the extreme warmth experienced in Indianapolis. With an average monthly temperature of 39.8 degrees, the month was above normal by almost 14 degrees. This made it the second warmest January ever in the Indianapolis area. The only one warmer is January of 1880 which checked in with an average monthly temperature of 45 degrees.
February- Things got closer to normal in February, and average monthly temperatures were actually colder than January. Mid-month brought extremes in temperatures, from very warm to very cold. A high of 63 on the 16th was followed by a low temperature of 7 degrees on the 18th and a low of 4 degrees on the 19th.
March- March 2006 brought well above normal precipitation as well as the first widespread severe weather outbreaks of the spring season. 6.79 inches of rain came during the month, good enough for the 12th wettest March ever, and the wettest since 1964. Hail to golfball size fell on portions of the city of Indianapolis, and an F2 tornado touched down on the east side of Greenwood and tracked across interstates 65 and 74, causing damage to numerous homes in the area.
April- April 2006 brought significant severe weather to visit the city of Indianapolis. During the NCAA Final Four Basketball Tournament on April 2nd, a line of thunderstorms crossed central Indiana and rushed into the downtown area of Indianapolis. Straight line wind gusts in excess of 70 mph were felt in the downtown area, sending thousands of visitors scurrying for cover. Fortunately no injuries were reported. The Regions Bank Building downtown sustained significant damage in the storm. The 14th of the month brought one of the most damaging hail storms in recent years. Hail stones up to 2 inches in diameter pounded portions of the city, producing widespread damage to roofs, cars, and vegetation.
May- While temperatures may have ended up being close to normal, the real story can’t be told with those numbers. The month experienced a stretch of very cool weather from the 12th to 15th. During those four days, high temperatures remained in the 40s and 50s. Including a high of only 49 degrees on the 12th, the coldest high temperature ever recorded on that date. It was the first time since 1991 that high temperatures during the month of May in the 40s have occurred in Indianapolis. By the last week of the month, this cold was long gone, as temperatures soared into the 80s with high humidity. The final 7 days of the month saw highs in the 80s, with the mercury reaching 89 degrees for the Memorial Day Weekend.
June – Summer started out with temperatures in the 70s and low 80s, but by the 10th and 11th of the month it felt much more like Spring again, as highs struggled to only reach 63 degrees on both days. The biggest weather feature of the month was the continued abundance of rainfall through the month. The total of 5.63 inches was an inch and a half above normal.
July – As was to be expected, heat and humidity came with July, which is typically the hottest month of the year in Indianapolis. This year was no exception, as July 2006 was above normal by slightly more than one degree. A small heat wave occurred from July 15-19, with five consecutive days experiencing high temperatures of 90 degrees or more. The crest of the heat wave came on the 15th and 16th with highs of 92 degrees. The final day of the month was the hottest high temperature of the year, with a 93 degree reading reported.
August – The hottest weather of the summer continued from the end of July into the start of August. The first two days of the month tied with the last day of July for the hottest high temperature of the year. Both days experienced highs of 93 degrees. Low temperatures stayed in the middle 70s both nights, providing no relief to beleaguered urban residents. This was to be the end of 90 degree temperatures for the year, however. By the final day of the month, the high temperature stayed in the 60s for a hint of fall.
September- Cool temperatures were experienced in the area during the month of September. It was the 19th coolest September on record and in fact the coolest since 1993. Only 6 days during the month featured high temperatures of 80 degrees or more, compared to 13 in a normal September. By the close of the month, low temperatures dipped into the lower 40s with highs only in the low 60s.
October- The cool trend that started in September was to continue during October. Just like the previous month, it was the coolest October since 1993, and tied for the 19th coldest October ever. After a few highs in the 80s early in the month, temperatures plunged well below normal. By the 12th, the high temperature failed to reach 50 degrees. This occurred again by the 23rd when the high only reached 41 degrees. The first snowflakes of the season were seen on the 24th. Rainfall returned in abundance again, with a monthly surplus of more than two and a half inches. It was the 11th wettest October ever.
November- Another month of extremes came in November. Near record cold began the month, with highs in the low 40s and a low temperature of 20 on the 3rd. However, this was not to be the case for the entire month. A high of 72 on the 10th of the month was only a few degrees off the record for the date. Thanksgiving marked the start of a late month warm spell. High temperatures from the 24th through the 30th were all in the 60s. Rainfall was again well above normal, by more than half an inch.
December- Meteorological winter roared in behind a powerful cold front to start the month. Winds of 56 mph accompanied the front, and trees and power lines were damaged. Highs failed to reach freezing on the 3rd and 4th. This was followed by colder weather on the 8th, with a high of 26 and a low of 7. The month saw the first measurable snow of the season with 0.3 inches recorded on the 7th. However, the month turned extremely warm by the 11th, with several days reporting temperatures above normal by 15 degrees or more. The peak of this warm spell came on the 17th, with a remarkable high temperature of 61, followed by an overnight low of only 55 degrees, which made the day above normal by 27 degrees. The month closed out with two large storm systems, both of them primarily rain. The storm on Christmas day brought over an inch of rain and ended up as light snow. 0.6 inches of snow was measured at the Indianapolis International Airport, and spotter reports of 1-2 inches in areas northeast of Indianapolis were common.

Top 10 Weather Stories of 2006
(In Chronological Order)
January Warmth: With an average temperature of 39.8 degrees, this January ended up being the second warmest ever, and the warmest since January of 1880. The month featured a record high temperature on the 2nd, when the mercury soared all the way up to 65 degrees. With a humid feeling in the air, the first thunderstorms of the very young new year were also observed. Perhaps most amazing was the complete lack of cold daytime high temperatures during the month. A normal January will see 21 days with highs colder than 40 degrees, and 13 days with highs of freezing or below. January 2006 experienced a mere 7 days with high temperatures in the 30s, and just one day, the 6th, when the high temperature was at 32 degrees. This warmth was due to an unseasonably far north position of the jet stream near the Canadian border. This caused all the arctic air present in the hemisphere to remain bottled up over Canada and Siberia. Almost every weather station in the Midwest and Northern Plains saw a January average temperature that was in the top five warmest ever.
February Terre Haute Tornado: The unusually warm winter helped to promote severe weather early on in 2006. A fairly significant event occurred on February 16. Amidst reports of hail and wind, a tornado touched down on the east side of Terre Haute and tracked over portions of the airport grounds. Rated as an F1 on the Fujita Scale, this tornado damaged seven buildings including the Ivy Tech building and buildings on the airport grounds. To see the original report and photographs of the tornado damage, please visit the following address:
Snow on the first day of spring: The first day of spring in Central Indiana felt like anything but spring in 2006. Following a mild winter, temperatures in the first half of March had reached as warm as 70 degrees on the 12th. This came to a screeching halt by the 20th, as a storm system developed over Texas and skirted across the Ohio Valley on the morning of the 21st. Residents of the area were treated to a record breaking late season snow storm. Snowfall amounts were typically in the 3-6 inch range across the area, with the highest snow total being reported in the town of Brazil in northern Clay County. 7.4 inches of snow was measured by a spotter there. Officially, the 5.4 inches of snow recorded at Indianapolis International Airport broke the record for heaviest daily snowfall on March 21. The previous record was 3.0 inches, set all the way back in 1888. For additional information on this event, including maps of snowfall accumulations, please visit the following address:
Johnson/Shelby County F2 Tornado: A severe weather outbreak occurred in central Indiana on the final day of March, 2006. It was just a few days after the final snowfall of the year, but that was long gone as temperatures had soared into the lower 70s for the last two days of the month. Amidst numerous reports of large hail and damaging winds, a tornado touched down on the east end of the town of Greenwood in Johnson County. The tornado remained on the ground for 17 miles and crossed Interstate 65 in Johnson County and Interstate 74 in Shelby County. Damage from the storm included major damage and de-roofing of two homes in Johnson County, and damage to six homes in Shelby County, as well as several accidents on Interstate 65. The storm was rated as F2 on the Fujita Scale, making it the strongest tornado observed in Central Indiana during 2006. For more information including radar images and damage photographs, please visit this address:
April 2 Wind and Tornadoes: Low pressure developed in the eastern Plains states early in the day on the second and raced quickly northeast. As it did so, it touched off a severe episode that will not soon be forgotten in Central Indiana. During the late afternoon and evening hours, a line of damaging thunderstorms known as a derecho developed in central Indiana and raced across the area, generating widespread damaging winds and occasional weak tornadoes. The event may be best remembered by those who were in downtown Indianapolis that evening for festivities related to a college basketball tournament. Damaging thunderstorm wind gusts in excess of 80 mph battered downtown areas, causing residents and tourists alike to flee the tempest. Significant damage was sustained by the Regions Bank Tower in downtown Indianapolis. Thankfully, no major injuries or fatalities were reported despite the thousands of people on the streets of downtown prior to the event. For further information, including damage survey pictures, please visit the following address:
April 14 Hail and Wind: Less than two weeks after the significant damage that was caused by an early April derecho event, severe weather pounded portions of the city of Indianapolis yet again. A large supercell thunderstorm tracked directly over the city, bringing wind gusts of 70 – 80 mph to the west side of the city, including a gust to 85 mph officially measured at the Indianapolis International Airport. On the east side of the city, a hail storm that was worse than many residents had ever seen struck with a vengeance. Hail up to the size of golf balls and larger fell and caused extensive damage to automobiles, roofs, and vegetation. The cleanup from this devastating hail storm was to take weeks, with damage into the millions of dollars. In addition to the hail and high winds in the Indianapolis metro area, two tornadoes touched down in central Indiana. One was an F0 in Tippecanoe and Carroll Counties, and the other an F1 tornado in Decatur County. No injuries or fatalities were reported from these tornadoes. For further information on this damaging severe weather episode, please visit the following address:
June 7 Jackson County F1Tornado: A cold front crossing central Indiana on June 7th triggered a few thunderstorms across south central Indiana. One of these storms was responsible for producing a tornado in extreme northeastern Jackson County that was rated as an F1 on the Fujita Scale. Touching down near the town of Reddington, the tornado traveled due south for 8 miles before lifting near Interstate 65. The tornado damaged at least seven homes and destroyed several outbuildings and barns. For additional information please visit this address:
Cold September-October: After a warmer than normal summer, the first few months of autumn took a turn towards the cooler side of things. Both September and October were well below normal for temperatures. The last time it was so cool in these two months was during the autumn of 1993. In addition to the cool temperatures, October was one of the wettest on record, just missing inclusion in the top ten wettest Octobers by a mere .02 inches of rain. The first snow flakes of the season were seen on October 27th, marking the first occurrence of October snow since 2001. The snow was only a trace amount and was not nearly enough to be measurable. The first frost of the season came to Indianapolis on October 12, five days earlier than normal when the temperature fell to 31 degrees at the airport. This started a stretch of four consecutive days that saw low temperatures of freezing or lower, the first time that has happened since 2000. The cold start to autumn was not followed up in November, when the temperature was 2.6 degrees above normal. The autumn 2006 still ended up almost one degree below normal, making it the coolest autumn in nearly a decade.
December Wind Storm- The last week of November 2006 was extremely warm. And with the start of meteorological winter coming on December 1st, it was hard to get into the season as temperatures had been in the 60s for a remarkable 7 consecutive days. This was to change with the passage of a strong low pressure system on the morning of December 1. As the cold air rushed in behind this powerhouse storm, winds gusted over 50 mph across central Indiana. This included a peak gust of 56 mph at the Indianapolis International Airport. These strong winds brought reports of damage to trees and power lines across central Indiana during the morning hours of December 1. It also ushered in a period of very chilly weather for the area, including two consecutive days where the temperature failed to even reach the freezing mark. For a table of peak wind gusts, please visit the following address:
A very wet year: A story that has been persistent for almost all year long is the abundance of rainfall that has come to central Indiana. At times, it has been too much for area streams, creeks, and rivers to handle, with several bouts of lowland flooding reported throughout the year of 2006. The yearly precipitation total reached an amazing 49.80 inches. It was enough to make 2006 the 14th wettest year on record. Notable months this year included March with 6.79 inches, June with 5.63 inches, October with 5.45 inches, and December with 4.00 inches. Two daily record precipitation values were broken during the year, on July 11 and October 27.

If you enjoy reading about past weather events in central Indiana, you may be interested in visiting the news archive page. The National Weather Service in Indianapolis maintains an archive of all the news stories posted on the office web page. This includes monthly and season summaries and significant event reviews. The page is located down the left hand menu under the “Local Information” header, by clicking on “News Archive”. It is directly available at: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/crnews/display_archive.php?wfo=ind

Data prepared by Logan Johnson, Climate Services Focal Point and Climate Services Team.
Contact w-ind.webmaster@noaa.gov for additional information.

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