Indianapolis February Climate Summary

Central Indiana
February 2010 Climate Summary
 
23rd Coolest on record at Indianapolis
14th Driest on record at Indianapolis
6th Snowiest on record at Indianapolis
February 2010 was a cold, snowy month across central Indiana as three large storm systems produced widespread heavy snowfall during the month. Low pressure tracking through the Ohio Valley on the 5th and 6th produced a significant snow cover. Additional snow storms on the 9th and 10th, and again on the 15th increased the snow cover, and allowed it to remain across the region for most of the month. Each storm was accompanied by strong winds, making blowing and drifting snow a significant problem across the region in the day or two following each storm.  Despite the significant snowfall throughout the month, precipitation amounts across much of the area were less than one and a half inches. 
 
 
Temperatures
A persistent upper trough remained across much of the eastern United States throughout the month. This kept central Indiana in a predominant north-northwest flow with cold polar air continuously dropping into the Ohio Valley. High temperatures made it to the mid and upper 30s the first several days of the month. In the wake of the first significant snow storm that impacted the region on the 5th and 6th, a much colder air mass overspread central Indiana with high temperatures remaining below freezing for 13 straight days beginning on the 6th.   
 
Slightly warmer temperatures arrived from the 18th through the 22nd as the trough briefly relaxed across the Ohio Valley. In the wake of another low pressure that brought rain to central Indiana on the 22nd, colder polar air from Canada returned as the upper trough reestablished and held for the rest of the month. The warmest temperature at Indianapolis occurred on the 21st when the high reached 41 degrees. Remarkably, this was the only day the temperature warmed above 40 degrees at Indianapolis in February. The last time the temperature never got above 41 degrees at Indianapolis during February was in 1978, when the temperature reached 40 degrees only once. February 1978 is the coldest February of record. Because of an abundance of clouds for much of the month, temperatures never got below zero at Indianapolis. Several rural locations across the region were able to drop below zero between the 8th and the 14th.
 
 
Site
February 2010 Avg Temp
February 2010 Difference from normal
Highest
Temperature
Lowest Temperature
Indianapolis
26.0
 -5.2
41 on 21
5 on 12
Lafayette
25.9
 -2.0
41 on 28
2 on 12 and 13
Muncie
23.7
 -4.8
39 on 20
-2 on 8
Terre Haute
26.1
 -5.3
45 on 20
2 on 11 and 12
Bloomington
26.0
 -6.4
48 on 21
0 on 12
Shelbyville
24.6
 -6.3
41 on 2 and 21
-2 on 12
Indy – Eagle Crk.
25.8
 -5.4
39 on 20 and 21
5 on 12
 
At Indianapolis, there were 20 days with below normal average temperatures, 6 days with above normal average temperatures and 2 days at normal average temperatures.
 
February 2010 was the 23rd coolest in the Indianapolis area since 1871.
 
Precipitation
 
There was only one rain event during February in central and southern Indiana. This occurred on the 21st and 22nd as another winter storm passed through our region. For this storm, central and southern Indiana was on the warm side and received rain. Rainfall of ¼ to ¾ inches occurred generally north of I-70. Rainfall amounts in southeast Indiana were less than one tenth of an inch.
 
For the month of February, total melted precipitation was below normal. Amounts ranged from less than ½ inch to slightly over 2 inches. Most of central and southern Indiana only received 25 to 75% of normal “rainfall” during February. Most of the precipitation during the month was snow that didn’t have a large water equivalent.
 
Most of the snow cover in southern Indiana melted on the 21st and 22nd. This caused bank full conditions along the Muscatatuck River in southern Indiana.
 
 
Site
February 2010 Precipitation
February 2010 Difference from Normal
Wettest Day
Longest Dry Stretch
Indianapolis
0.97
-1.44
0.27” on 5-6
2 days 7-8, 13-14, and 18-19
Lafayette
0.60
-0.97
0.41” on 21-22
4 days 1-4 and 11-14
Muncie
0.77
-1.48
0.36” on 21-22
2 days 3-4 and 18-19
Terre Haute
0.22
-2.36
0.12” on 5
4 days 1-4
Bloomington
1.00
-1.71
0.48” on 5
3 days 17-19
Shelbyville
1.00
-1.38
0.38” on 5-6
3 days 17-19
Indy – Eagle Crk.
0.95
-1.46
0.30” on 5-6
3 days 17-19
 
February 2010 was the 14th driest in the Indianapolis area since 1871.
 
Snowfall
 
Three significant winter storms spread widespread snowfall across central Indiana during the month. A brief wintry mix of precipitation early on the 5th changed over to all snow during the day as low pressure tracked through the Ohio Valley. The snow became heavy at times that evening and into the early part of the 6th as the storm system intensified in the Mid Atlantic region. Snowfall amounts across central Indiana ranged from two to four inches near Terre Haute and Vincennes to as much as 10 inches over eastern Indiana. Wind gusts in excess of 40 mph produced significant blowing and drifting snow that severely hampered travel across the region. Four-foot snow drifts were reported across Delaware and Randolph Counties.
 
A second winter storm impacted the area on the 9th and 10th, producing an additional two to six inches across the area. The most amount of snowfall fell north of Interstate 70. Strong northwest wind gusts to near 40 mph once again arrived on the back side of the storm system on the night of the 9th, with widespread blowing and drifting of snow causing travel problems all day on the 10th. A third winter storm arrived on President’s Day (the 15th) courtesy of an upper level low and produced heavy snowfall for much of the day. This time, the heaviest snows were focused along and south of Interstate 70 where from six inches to nearly a foot fell. The highest snowfall totals were found from near Bedford and Bloomington east through Columbus, Greensburg, North Vernon and Seymour. This storm produced five to eight inches across the Indianapolis metro area. North of Interstate 70, snowfall totals dropped off considerably, with Lafayette receiving only about an inch.
 
Much of central Indiana received 15 to 20 inches of snow for February, with Indianapolis officially receiving 17.5 inches. This made February 2010 the sixth snowiest February on record, and the most snow in February for Indianapolis since 2007 when 18.2 inches fell. The record snowfall for February in Indianapolis is 21.7 from 2003.
 
Severe Weather

No severe weather occurred in central Indiana in February.
 
For information on severe weather in other areas during February, visit the Storm Prediction Center “Severe Weather Event Summaries” website at http://www.spc.noaa.gov/climo/online/
 
 
Miscellaneous
 
At the Indianapolis International Airport, the peak wind gust this month was 44 mph from the northeast on February 5. Fog or haze was observed on 20 days, including 7 straight days from the 19th to the 25th. 4 days of dense fog were observed.  
 
 
March 2010 Outlook
 
The official outlook for March 2010 from the Climate Prediction Center indicates a greater chance of below normal temperatures across central Indiana. At Indianapolis, the average temperature for the month is 41.7 degrees. A greater chance of below normal precipitation exists across central Indiana in March.  At Indianapolis, the average precipitation for March is 3.44” and the average snowfall is 3.1”.
 
Data prepared by the Indianapolis Forecast Office.


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