December 2009 Climate Summary

Central Indiana

December 2009 Climate Summary

 For a summary of the entire year of 2009 for Indianapolis, visit the 2009 Summary Page

55th Coolest on record at Indianapolis

47th Wettest on record at Indianapolis

30th Snowiest on record at Indianapolis

The month of December brought a more unsettled weather pattern with colder temperatures for much of the month.  Several storm systems impacted central Indiana throughout the month, with precipitation finishing slightly above normal in many locations.  Temperatures for the month were slightly below normal, as periods of cold weather dominated the month. Temperatures were mild in brief spurts that lasted no more than a day or two at most.  Snowfall was light but ended up above normal with it falling on numerous occasions throughout the month and especially over the last two weeks of December.  



Temperatures fluctuated between mild and cold throughout much of the first half of the month.  Highs made it to or above 50 degrees on the 1st, the 9th and the 14th.  Colder temperatures followed after each of these days, most notably on the 10th as much colder air overspread central Indiana in the wake of a strong cold front. Many locations experienced highs 30 degrees colder than the 9th.


The second half of December was highlighted by colder temperatures, with 13 of the final 16 days of the month remaining below 40 degrees. Oddly enough, the warmest weather during the second half of the month occurred on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as temperatures warmed into the middle and upper 40s for most ahead of a strong low pressure system that affected much of the Midwest.  Colder temperatures returned for the last six days of the month.




December 2009 Avg Temp

December 2009 Difference from normal



Lowest Temperature




56 on 14

11 on 10




55 on 1 and 14

6 on 29




53 on 14

9 on 10

Terre Haute



53 on 1

9 on 29




55 on 14

10 on 29




57 on 14

9 on 29

Indy – Eagle Crk.



54 on 14

10 on 10


At Indianapolis, there were 14 days with below normal average temperatures and 17 days with normal or above normal average temperatures.


December 2009 was the 55th coolest in the Indianapolis area since 1871.





Melted precipitation totals for December in central and southern Indiana ranged from around 2 inches to more than 5 inches.  Much of central and southern sections of the state were normal to drier than normal for December.   Only portions of west central and northern Indiana were wetter than normal.


High river levels and some minor flooding occurred three times along the Wabash, White and East Fork White Rivers in western and southern Indiana.   Rain that caused the rivers to rise fell on the 8th and 9th, the 12thand 13th and the 24th and 25th.   Below freezing temperatures followed each rain event and limited the duration of any flooding to a few days.  Much of the water causing the rises along the Wabash River during December came from eastern Illinois.





December 2009 Precipitation

December 2009 Difference from Normal

Wettest Day

Longest Dry Stretch




1.01” on 13

3 days 4-6 and 16-18




0.74” on 8-9

5 days 14-18




0.62” on 8-9

5 days 14-18

Terre Haute



1.04” on 12-13

5 days 14-18




1.17” on 12-13

5 days 14-18




1.24” on 12-13

3 days 4-6 and 16-18

Indy – Eagle Crk.



0.91” on 8-9

 3 days 4-6


December 2009 was the 47th wettest in the Indianapolis area since 1871.




The month was highlighted by several small accumulations of snow, the first of which arrived early on the morning of the 7th when snowfalls were generally an inch or less.  Another light accumulation followed on the 19th and 20th on the back side of a large storm moving up the East Coast.  Temperatures remained at or just above 32 degrees for much of the 19th, with accumulations of one to three inches being confined mainly to grassy and exposed surfaces. 


The large storm that affected much of the Midwest in the days around Christmas provided some accumulating snow to central Indiana as well.   A thin snow squall moved across much of central Indiana early on the morning of the 26th, providing a quick dusting of snow. The largest accumulation of the month took place the following day on the 27th, as the large Midwest storm moved off to the east.  All of central Indiana received two to three inches of snowfall, with a few locations just north of the Indianapolis metropolitan area seeing close to four inches. Despite no snowfall accumulations greater than three inches at Indianapolis, snowfall for the month ended up 1.4 inches above normal at 7.7”.


Monthly snowfall accumulations in central and southern Indiana ranged from around 1 inch in southern Indiana to nearly 12 inches in a few areas immediately north of Indianapolis.  This was the first measureable snow of the season for Indiana.  Snow covered much of Indiana on the 29th.   Snow depths ranged from a trace along U. S. Highway 50 in southern Indiana to 6 inches in north central Indiana.


Severe Weather

No severe weather occurred in central Indiana in December.


For information on severe weather in other areas during December, visit the Storm Prediction Center “Severe Weather Event Summaries” website at





At the Indianapolis International Airport, the peak wind gust this month was 58 mph from the southwest on December 9.  Fog or haze was observed on 18 days, including 5 straight days from the 19th to the 23rd.  One day of dense fog was observed on the 27th, coinciding with a band of heavy snowfall that progressed through the region during the afternoon.  With the exception of a brief period of sunny skies on the morning of the 26th, skies were cloudy for eleven straight days from the 18th through the 28th.



January 2010 Outlook


The official outlook for January 2010 from the Climate Prediction Center, indicates an equal chance of above, near, or below normal temperatures across central Indiana.  At Indianapolis, the average temperature for the month is 26.5 degrees.  A greater chance of below normal precipitation exists across central Indiana in January.   At Indianapolis, the average precipitation for January is 2.48” and the average snowfall is 9.3”.


Data prepared by the Indianapolis Forecast Office.

For a summary of the entire year of 2009 for Indianapolis, visit the 2009 Summary Page


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