April 2009: Wettest in 45 Years

April 2009: Wettest in 45 Years
 
April 2009 featured a lot of extremes in daily temperatures, as readings ranged from well below normal to well above, with very little in between. One constant for the month, however, was an overabundance of rainfall. The month ended up as the 7th wettest April on record, and was the wettest since 1964. The month also featured some of the warmest April weather since 1990.
 
The following is a summary of everything that was weather at the Indianapolis International Airport during the month of April 2008.
 
Temperature
The average temperature for the month of April was 53.8 degrees. This was above the normal April value of 52.0 degrees by 1.8 degrees. However, by no means was every April day above normal, and in fact at times the weather seemed anything but spring like.
 
The month started out on a cool note, and this continued until mid-April. A cool snap bottomed out on the 6th and 7th of April, as both days were 10 degrees below normal, and a high of only 44 degrees was experienced on the 6th.
 
Temperatures shifted sharply above normal by the 24th. In fact, there was a “mini heat wave” this April. From the 24th through the 27th, the high temperature exceeded the 80 degree mark each day. The first three days of this warm spell were all in the middle 80s, with temperatures peaking at 85 degrees on the 25th. No record high temperatures were broken, but there were two record “warmest minimum” temperatures set, on the 25th and 27th.  The last time that at least three days in a row with high temperatures of 84 or higher were recorded in Indianapolis during April was back in 1990.
 
The low temperature of 69 degrees on the 25th was not only a record for the warmest low temperature on that date, but it also tied the record for warmest low temperature ever recorded during the month of April in the Indianapolis area.
 
As is typical for April, the month featured also a few nights when frosts and freeze conditions occurred. During an early month cool snap, the 7th and 8th experienced lows below freezing, with a minimum of 29 degrees on the 8th.
 
The warmest temperature of the month came on the 25th, with a high of 85, and the coldest temperature this April was the morning of the 8th with a low of 29. Five days this month saw highs in the 40s, and 4 days saw highs in the 80s. 16 days experienced temperatures above normal for daily averages, and 14 days with below normal daily averages.
 
Precipitation
April 2009 brought an excessive amount of rainfall to the Indianapolis area. The monthly total was 7.23 inches, and this was above normal by 3.62 inches. Just last year in April, we experienced less than 2 inches of rainfall in what was the 8th driest April on record. This year’s April stands as the wettest since 1964, when the monthly sum was 8.09 inches. April 2009 will now go down in the record books as the 7th wettest April on record in the Indianapolis area.  
 
The longest dry period this month was the April 22nd – 27th stretch that brought just a Trace of rain for the 6 day period. The heaviest one day rainfall this month came back on the 5th, when showers and thunderstorms dumped 1.87 inches of rain at the Indianapolis International Airport. This broke the daily rainfall record for the 5th, eclipsing the previous mark of 1.63 inches set in 1965. Another heavy rainfall was experienced on the 28th of April when 1.45 inches fell, which was followed by an additional 0.78 inches just the next day.
 
Severe Weather
April 2009 was rather quiet in terms of numbers of Severe Weather reports. The most significant event came on the 13th of April, when a series of storms moved across south central Indiana, producing funnel clouds and hail to golf ball size. Some minor flash flooding was observed late in the month with the heavy rain on the 28th. Climatologically speaking, May usually brings an increase in total severe weather reports, so residents should keep alert to the rapidly changing weather conditions that May will bring to Central Indiana.
 
Snowfall
April 2009 experienced just a Trace of snowfall, compared to the normal value of 0.4 inches. Even though there is a “normal” value of snow in April, most years either see no snow or just a trace. The last year that measurable snowfall came in the Indianapolis area during April was 2001. The season’s final snowfall this year came on the 21st of April.
 
Miscellaneous
 
The peak wind gust measured this April was 51 mph from the west on April 20, and also occurred again on the 27th from the southwest. Thunder was reported on 3 days during the month. Fog or haze was observed on 13 days, and dense fog was not recorded this month at Indianapolis International Airport. Sunshine this month was 57% of the possible maximum.
 
Outlook for May 2009
 
The official outlook from the Climate Prediction Center at http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov  for Central Indiana calls for equal chances of above, below, or near normal values of both precipitation and temperature.
 
Data Prepared by Logan Johnson, Climate Services Focal Point
With assistance from National Weather Service Forecast Team
 


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