February 2011 Climate Summary

Central Indiana

February 2011

Climate Summary

 

45th Warmest on record at Indianapolis

9th Wettest on record at Indianapolis

32nd Snowiest on record at Indianapolis

 

Temperatures

February 2011 started off cool, with the coldest air arriving by the 10th of the month. After several snowfalls added to the snow cover, arctic air moved into central Indiana on the 8th. By the morning of the 10th, temperatures had dipped to below zero across much of the area.  Northern sections of central Indiana saw the coldest temperatures since January 2009. Readings dipped to 18 below zero at Frankfort, 13 below zero near West Lafayette, and 10 below zero near Tipton. Average daily temperatures were about 20 degrees below normal.

Within a few days of the arctic freeze, temperatures increased to above average as the flow of cold air was cut off from the area. Temperatures topped out in the 60s at many locations around the 16th of the month. On the 17th, many areas saw low temperatures in the 50s. At  Indianapolis, the low temperature of 52 degrees set a record for the highest low temperature for the date.

The above average temperatures continued until a cold front brought a return to reality, with highs only in the 20s and 30s on the 22nd. A strong storm system moved in at the end of the month, ushering in warm air again ahead of it. Highs on the 27th and 28th reached the 60s for many areas. Some areas on the 28th even saw 70 degrees, including Shelbyville. The high temperatures on the 28th actually occurred in the first few hours past midnight, with temperatures falling during the day as colder air returned. 

For the Indianapolis area, February 2011 was the only winter month to average warmer than normal.

Site

February 2011 Avg Temp

February 2011 Difference from Normal

Highest

Temperature

Lowest Temperature

Indianapolis

33.4

+2.2

66 on 28th

-1 on 10th

Lafayette

31.2

+3.3

64 on 17th

-10 on 10th

Muncie

30.3

+1.8

60 on 17th and 28th

-5 on 10th

Terre Haute

34.1

+2.7

65 on 16th and 28th

 0 on 10th

Bloomington

35.4

+3.0

68 on 28th

 1 on 10th

Shelbyville

34.6

+3.7

70 on 28th

 3 on 20th

Indy – Eagle Crk.

32.9

+1.7

64 on 16th and 28th

-5 on 10th

 

At Indianapolis, there were 11 days with below normal average temperatures, 14 days with above normal average temperatures, and 3 days with normal average temperatures.

 

February 2011 was the 45th warmest in the Indianapolis area since 1871.

 

Precipitation

Most of the precipitation across central Indiana occurred during the second half of the month. A large winter storm brought a wintry mix of precipitation during the first couple days of the month, with many areas seeing a round of snow on the 5th as well. A dry period followed for the next couple of weeks. A series of storms brought rain every few days for the latter part of the month, with the heaviest rain falling at the end of the month. Thunderstorms with heavy rain moved across the area late on the 27th and early on the 28th, with some locations seeing storm totals of over 5 inches. Extensive flooding developed as a result of these rains.

At Indianapolis, record daily rainfall amounts of 1.11 and 1.17 inches were recorded on the 27th and 28th, respectively. For the Indianapolis area, February 2011 was the wettest February since 1990.

Site

February 2011 Precipitation

February 2011 Difference from Normal

Wettest Day

Longest Dry Stretch

Indianapolis

5.25

 +2.84

2.28 on 27th-28th

 3 days 13th-15th,
             17th-19th

Lafayette

2.66

 +1.09

1.07 on 27th-28th

 7 days 13th-19th

Muncie

3.99*

 +1.74

3.08 on 27th-28th

 7 days 13th-19th

Terre Haute

3.88**

 +1.30

1.64 on 21st-22nd

 7 days 13th-19th

Bloomington

5.10

 +2.39

1.93 on 21st-22nd

 7 days 9th-15th

Shelbyville

4.67

 +2.29

1.51 on 21st

 11 days 9th-19th

Indy – Eagle Crk.

5.47

 +3.06

2.73 on 27th-28th

 7 days 13th-19th

                           

February 2011 was the 9th wettest in the Indianapolis area since weather records began in 1871.

*Precipitation data are missing for Muncie Feb 1st, 2nd, 5th, 7th, 12th, 22nd, 23rd, and 25th.

**Precipitation data are missing for Terre Haute on Feb 1st, 2nd, 5th, 7th, and 12th.

 

Snowfall

 

The month started off with a large winter storm bringing snow, sleet, and freezing rain to the area. Most of the snow fell across northern sections of central Indiana, with some locations seeing over 4 inches.  A few days later, another winter system moved through the area which again targeted the northern half of central Indiana with widespread 3 to 5 inch snowfalls.

The warm spell in the middle of the month melted most of the snow cover, and little snow fell until the 25th when the final significant snowfall occurred. Once again, this snow fell mainly across the northern half of the area, with widespread 2 to 5 inch amounts. This snow melted with the increase in temperatures and with significant rainfall at the end of the month, added to the flooding issues.

The snowfall total at Indianapolis was 7.5 inches, which was 1.4 inches above normal.

 

Severe Weather

 

The beginning of the month saw severe winter weather. A large part of the area saw significant sleet and ice accumulation, which caused travel problems for several days. The ice accumulation on trees and power lines even caused power outages in several counties.

 

At the end of the month, a strong storm system moved across the state, ushering in warm air and plentiful moisture. This led to the development of severe thunderstorms which produced damaging winds, heavy rain, and a tornado across central Indiana. The tornado touched down near the town of Ingalls in Madison County on the morning of the 28th and was rated an EF-1 with winds just over 100 mph. This storm system brought widespread 2 to 4 inch rainfall amounts with localized amounts over 5 inches. This created extensive flooding along area streams, creeks, and low lying areas. The above average rainfall for the month also led to flooding along many area rivers by the end of the month.

For information on severe weather in other areas during February, visit the Storm Prediction Center's “Severe Weather Event Summaries” website at http://www.spc.noaa.gov/climo/online/.

 

Miscellaneous

 

The maximum wind gust at Indianapolis International Airport was 56 mph out of the southwest on the 27th and 28th.  Fog or haze was reported at Indianapolis on 13 days during the month, with dense fog reported only on the 5th.  Thunder was reported on 3 days during the month. Freezing rain or freezing drizzle was reported on 5 days during the month.

 

March 2011 Outlook

 

The official outlook for March 2011 from the Climate Prediction Center indicates an equal chance for above normal, normal, or below normal temperatures for central Indiana.  At Indianapolis, the average temperature for the month is 41.7 degrees.  The outlook calls for a greater chance of above normal precipitation. The average precipitation for March at Indianapolis is 3.44” with 3.1” of snowfall.

  

 

Data prepared by the Indianapolis Forecast Office.

 



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