Central Indiana December 2010 Climate Summary

Central Indiana
December 2010
Climate Summary
Tied for 19th Coldest on record at Indianapolis
35th Driest on record at Indianapolis
3rd Snowiest on record at Indianapolis
Temperatures remained below normal across central Indiana for much of the month as a persistent trough of low pressure brought continuous surges of colder temperatures to much of the eastern continental United States. After the first significant snow storm of the season on the 4th, colder air filtered into central Indiana with high temperatures mainly in the high teens and lower 20s from the 6th to the 8th. High temperatures briefly warmed up into the 40s on the 10th and 11th, before another significant winter storm impacted the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley with accumulating snowfall. Several inches of fresh snow cover for much of the region combined with a cold arctic airmass settling over central Indiana and much of the Midwest contributed to the coldest air of the month.    Beginning during the evening of the 12th, temperatures remained below freezing until the 20th, with several locations in central Indiana experiencing subzero temperatures in the early mornings of the 14th and 15th.
The airmass modified in the week before Christmas, with temperatures returning to near normal levels for late December with highs in the lower and middle 30s. After another surge of colder air in the wake of a storm system that brought snow to central Indiana on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the warmest temperatures in nearly five weeks arrived during the last couple days of the month with temperatures warming all the way into the lower 60s on the 31st. For Indianapolis, the 61 degrees recorded on the 31st was the warmest temperature experienced on New Years Eve since 1965. Despite the warmer temperatures to finish out the month, December 2010 ended up as the coldest December at Indianapolis since 2000.
December 2010 Avg Temp
December 2010 Difference from Normal
Lowest Temperature
61 on 31
1 on 15
60 on 31
-2 on 15
60 on 31
3 on 15
Terre Haute
60 on 31
1 on 9 and 15
63 on 31
-1 on 15
63 on 31
-4 on 15
Indy – Eagle Crk.
61 on 31
0 on 15
At Indianapolis, there were 24 days with below normal average temperatures and 7 days with above normal average temperatures.
December 2010 tied for the 19th coldest in the Indianapolis area since 1871.

There was only one rain event during the first four weeks of December, as the precipitation type was almost strictly in the form of snow. One quarter to three quarters inches of rainfall occurred on the 11th in central and southern Indiana.   Temperatures warmed ahead of a strong cold front on the 30th and 31st, with several locations seeing 0.50 inches to 1.00 inch of rainfall prior to the end of the 31st.
Through the first 30 days of December melted precipitation was below normal in all of central and southern Indiana. Despite the additional rainfall on the 31st, most of central Indiana saw precipitation amounts end up 1 to 3 inches below normal for the month. This marked the ninth month in 2010 with below normal precipitation at Indianapolis. Total precipitation for the year was a little over seven inches below normal, making this the driest year at Indianapolis since 1999.
December 2010 Precipitation
December 2010 Difference from Normal
Wettest Day
Longest Dry Stretch
0.38 on 11
 2 days 27-28
0.35 on 31
 3 days 17-19 and 26-28
0.16 on 11
 2 days 2-3, 8-9, 18-19, 27-28
Terre Haute
1.08 on 31
 3 days 26-28
0.48 on 11
 3 days 7-9
0.26 on 11
2 days 8-9, 18-19, 27-28
Indy – Eagle Crk.
0.35 on 11
 3 days 7-9
December 2010 was the 35th driest in the Indianapolis area since weather records began in 1871.
December 2010 was one of the snowiest months ever for portions of central Indiana including the Indianapolis area. Monthly snowfall of 12 to 19 inches occurred in portions of central Indiana. Indianapolis officially received 16.6 inches at the airport, making it the third snowiest December on record, and the most snow for the month since 1973, when 27.5 inches fell at the airport. Snowfall was lighter in the remainder of central and southern Indiana. Monthly totals ranged from 3 to 9 inches in these areas. 
An inch or more of snow occurred 5 times during December. This happened on 4th-5th, 12th-13th, 15th-16th, 20th-21st and 24th-25th. In addition, the winter storm on the 15th and 16th produced in excess of a quarter inch of ice accumulation across southern portions of central Indiana, from Vincennes east through Bedford and Seymour. A trace or more of snow covered the ground in central Indiana almost the entire month. The snow cover was the deepest on the 21st when 4 to 8 inches blanketed much of central Indiana.   Snowfall on Christmas Eve gave Indianapolis the classic Christmas morning scene and one the deepest Christmas snow depths of record. The mild weather at the very end of December melted all of the snow cover.
Severe Weather
No severe weather occurred during the month of December across central Indiana.

For information on severe weather in other areas during December, visit the Storm Prediction Center “Severe Weather Event Summaries” website at http://www.spc.noaa.gov/climo/online/.
The maximum wind gust at Indianapolis International Airport was 41 mph out of the northwest on the 13th. Fog or haze was reported at Indianapolis on 24 days during the month, with dense fog reported on three days during December. Thunder was reported on just one day, the 31st ahead of a strong cold front during the evening.
January 2011 Outlook
The official outlook for January 2011 from the Climate Prediction Center indicates a greater chance of below normal temperatures for central Indiana.  At Indianapolis, the average temperature for the month is 26.5 degrees. The outlook calls for an equal chance of near, above or below normal precipitation. The average precipitation for January at Indianapolis is 2.48” and 9.3” of snowfall.
Data prepared by the Indianapolis Forecast Office.

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