An Historical Analysis of El Nino Winters in Indianapolis

 
Currently, the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is in a positive or El Niño phase. The most recent sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean indicate that El Niño is at a moderate strength. The forecast from the Climate Prediction Center is for El Niño conditions to persist through the winter, possibly diminishing back into the weak phase before the end of the winter. In the charts below, data is intended to provide a historical context of temperature, precipitation and snowfall in Indianapolis during winters with El Niño conditions since 1950.  This is not a forecast of what will take place during the upcoming winter across central Indiana.
 
 
 
Winter Normals for Indianapolis
1971-2000
 
 

 
Temperature
Precipitation
Snowfall
December
31.6
3.03"
6.4"
January
26.5
2.48"
9.3"
February
31.2
2.41"
6.1"
Season
29.8
7.92"
21.8"
 

 
Days w/ >=1” snow depth
Days w/ measurable snowfall
Days w/ >= 1” snowfall
Days w/ >= 3” snowfall
Lows <= 0
Highs <= 32
December
5.8
5.6
1.8
0.5
1.4
7.8
January
11.8
7.9
2.7
0.8
3.5
13.1
February
8.1
5.4
1.9
0.5
1.9
8.1
Season
25.7
18.9
6.4
1.8
6.8
29.0

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Averages in Weak El Niño Years
(Numbers in Parentheses indicate Departures from Normal)
 
 
Temperature
 
 
Precipitation
 
Snowfall
December
 
 
28.0 (-3.6)
 
2.40" (-0.63)
8.9" (+2.5)
January
 
 
22.3 (-4.2)
 
3.38" (+0.90)
13.7" (+4.4)
February
 
 
27.8 (-3.4)
 
2.25" (-0.16)
6.1" (0.0)
Season
 
 
26.0 (-3.8)
 
8.02" (+0.10)
28.7" (+6.9)
 
 
Days w/ >=1” snow depth
Days w/ measurable snowfall
Days w/ >= 1” snowfall
Days w/ >= 3” snowfall
Lows <= 0
Highs <= 32
December
9.8
(+4.0)
6.8
(+1.2)
2.8
(+1.0)
1.2
(+0.7)
3.2 (+1.8)
11.0 (+3.2)
January
17.0
 (+5.2)
10.3
(+2.4)
4.2
(+1.5)
1.3
(+0.5)
8.0 (+4.5)
18.0 (+4.9)
February
14.0
(+5.9)
7.8
(+2.4)
2.2
(+0.3)
0.3
(-0.2)
2.7 (+0.8)
10.2 (2.1)
Season
40.8   (+14.1)
24.9
(+6.0)
9.2
(+2.8)
2.8
(+1.0)
13.9 (+7.1)
39.2 (+10.2)
 
 
 
 
Averages in Moderate El Niño Years
(Numbers in Parentheses indicate Departures from Normal)
 
 
 
Temperature
 
Precipitation
Snowfall
December
34.7 (+3.1)
 
2.71" (-0.32)
3.8" (-2.6)
January
25.2 (-1.3)
 
2.52" (+0.04)
10.2" (+0.9)
February
30.6 (-0.6)
 
1.95" (-0.46)
7.5" (+1.4)
Season
30.1 (+0.3)
 
7.18" (-0.74)
21.5" (-0.3)
 
 
 
Days w/ >=1” snow depth
Days w/ measurable snowfall
Days w/ >= 1” snowfall
Days w/ >= 3” snowfall
Lows <= 0
Highs <= 32
December
2.8
(-3.0)
3.0
 (-2.6)
1.4
(-0.4)
0.2
(-0.3)
0.0
(-1.4)
5.0
(-2.8)
January
13.8
(+2.0)
6.2
(-1.7)
3.2
(+0.5)
0.6
(-0.2)
3.4
(-0.1)
15.6
(+2.5)
February
7.0
(-1.1)
5.4
(0.0)
2.0
(+0.1)
0.8
(+0.3)
0.6
(-1.3)
8.0
(-0.1)
Season
23.6
(-1.9)
14.6
(-4.3)
6.6
(+0.2)
1.6
(-0.2)
4.0
(-2.8)
28.6
(-0.4)
 
 
  
 
 
 
Averages in Strong El Niño Years
(Numbers in Parentheses indicate Departures from Normal)
 
 
Temperature
Precipitation
Snowfall
December
35.5 (+3.9)
3.62 (+0.59)
1.5 (-4.9)
January
31.5 (+5.0)
1.74 (-0.74)
3.0 (-6.3)
February
34.0 (+2.8)
0.99 (-1.42)
1.1 (-5.0)
Season
33.6 (+3.8)
6.35 (-1.57)
5.6 (-16.2)
 
 
 
 
Days w/ >=1” snow depth
Days w/ measurable snowfall
Days w/ >= 1” snowfall
Days w/ >= 3” snowfall
Lows <= 0
Highs <= 32
December
0.6
 (-5.2)
2.8
 (-2.8)
0.2
 (-1.6)
0.2
 (-0.3)
0.0
(-1.4)
4.8
 (-3.0)
January
2.8
 (-9.0)
4.8
 (-3.1)
0.6
(-2.1)
0.2
 (-0.6)
0.6
 (-2.9)
7.8
(-5.3)
February
1.2
 (-6.9)
3.0
 (-2.4)
0.2
 (-1.7)
0.0
(-0.2)
0.8
 (-1.1)
5.6
 (-2.5)
Season
  4.6    (- 21.1)
10.6
 (-8.3)
1.0
(-5.4)
0.4
 (-1.4)
  1.4   
 (-5.4)
 18.2   
(-10.8)
 
 
Data prepared by the Indianapolis WFO Climate Team
 
 


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