February 2009 A Nearly Normal Month to Finish Off Winter


February 2009:
A Nearly Normal Month to Finish off Winter
February 2009 was yet another month that brought plenty of day to day variability in weather to Central Indiana. The month started off with a deep snow cover and bitter cold, but near the end of the month temperatures soared into the 60s and snow was but a fleeting memory. For the month as a whole, our temperatures checked in a few degrees above normal with precipitation just slightly above normal.
The following is a summary of everything that was weather in Indianapolis during the month of February, 2009.
February 2009 finished with an average monthly temperature of 33.9 degrees. This was above normal by 2.7 degrees. Compared to last year, this February was much warmer. Last year the month experienced an average temperature of just 29.8 degrees.
As is often the case in February, there was a lot of variability in temperatures. The month featured alternating stretches of much warmer and much colder than normal temperatures. The 2nd through 5th featured daily temperatures as much as 18 degrees below normal, and then the pattern quickly shifted to a very mild stretch from the 6th through the 14th, which peaked with 2 days of 20 degrees or more above normal, with the 10th featuring a high of 61 and a low of 53, which made the day 27 degrees warmer than normal.
Following the very mild stretch of mid-month, some cooler weather returned after the 19th, with temperatures as much as 12 degrees below normal on the 23rd. However, the mild weather won out again in the last few days of the month, including a high of 61 degrees on the 25th.
Overall, 15 days in February 2009 reported temperatures above normal compared to 12 days with temperatures below normal. One day saw a temperature right at the normal value for the day. Seven days during the month saw a high temperature fail to exceed the freezing mark, which is the average amount for February. The coldest temperature of the month was -3 degrees on the 5th. Only two nights saw low temperatures colder than 10 degrees. Normally 5 such days are expected in February.
There was one temperature record broken on February 10. The low only fell to 53 degrees, which broke the old record for the warmest minimum temperature on that date. The previous record was 52 degrees in 1932.
February 2009 ended quite close to normal for precipitation. The monthly total of 2.69 inches was only slightly above the normal of 2.41 inches. This made it much drier than last year’s February, which saw 4.34 inches of precipitation. This year most of the precipitation was in liquid form. 1.87 inches of rain fell on the 11th of this month. This meant that 70% of the month’s precipitation fell in one day. It was a daily record precipitation value for the 11th of February, with the previous record being 1.10 inches set back in 1985.  Measurable precipitation fell on 10 of the 28 days this month.
Snow was very close to normal during this February. The monthly total of 5.6 inches was below the normal value of 6.1 inches by 0.5 inches. It was also very similar to the amount of snow that fell in February of 2008, which saw 5.4 inches.
The biggest one day snowfall of the month was 3.8 inches, measured on the 3rd. The month started out with fairly high snow depths, ranging between 5 and 10 inches until the 7th of the month. Much of the snow remained from the big snow of January, and the 3.8 inches on the 3rd supplemented that and helped us to reach a depth of 10 inches. The snow vanished extremely rapidly as temperatures soared into the 50s and 60s however. The daily depth dropped from 5 inches on the morning of the 7th to just a trace on the morning of the 8th. 15 days of the month recorded at least a trace of snow depth each day, and snowfall of at least a trace came on 10 of the 28 days in this month.
Severe weather came to call on the 11th of the month. Scattered strong and severe thunderstorms crossed the area during the afternoon hours. Winds were reported to have downed numerous trees and power lines across the area. The region also experienced its first tornado of the 2009 severe weather season as an EF1 tornado touched down in eastern Delaware County and caused damage to several homes and barns in the area. From here forward, the number of severe weather events in Central Indiana will begin to increase each month as we enter the spring season.
The peak wind gust for the month came on the 11th with a 60 mph gust recorded from the southwest. Sunshine this month was 50% of possible. Fog was reported on 13 days this month, with dense fog observed on the 3rd at Indianapolis International Airport.
The official outlook for the month of March calls for an enhanced likelihood of above normal precipitation in Central Indiana. The temperature outlook indicates an equal chance of above, below, or near normal values for the area.
Data Prepared by Logan Johnson and Ashley Brooks, Climate Services Program.
Please Contact w-ind.webmaster@noaa.gov for more information.
Temperature and Precipitation Records Cover 1871-2008 in the Indianapolis Area.
Snowfall Records Cover the period 1884-2008 in the Indianapolis Area.
Normals refer to reference period 1971-2000.

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