May 2011 Central Indiana Climate Summary

Central Indiana

May 2011

Climate Summary

 

56th Warmest on record at Indianapolis

42nd Wettest on record at Indianapolis

 

Temperatures

Temperatures continued to be cooler than normal to start May as a nearly stationary front kept unsettled, cool weather across much of the Ohio Valley.  High temperatures largely remained in the 50s and 60s through the first week of the month.  Low temperatures were chilly during this period, with frosty conditions on the morning of 5th as lows dropped into the middle and upper 30s across central Indiana.  The pattern shifted beginning on the 8th and 9th as a large upper ridge expanded into the region.  This brought the warmest temperatures to central Indiana since the second week of April, with warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine. High temperatures peaked in the middle and upper 80s on the 11th and 12th, with Lafayette reaching 90 degrees.

 

The arrival of a slow moving upper low on the 14th led to a significant change in the weather pattern for the region, as the cool and unsettled weather pattern experienced during late April and the first week of May returned.  From the 15th through the 18th, daytime temperatures were 15-20 degrees below normal, as highs struggled to climb out of the 50s under an abundance of clouds and light rain.  The upper low finally began to pull away from central Indiana on the 19th and 20th, replaced by an upper ridge which brought a return to temperatures in the lower and middle 80s through the 25th.  The passage of a strong cold front late on the 25th brought a quick burst of cooler temperatures on the 26th and 27th, as lower clouds lingered in wake of the front. Highs largely remained in the upper 50s and lower 60s on the 27th.  The month finished on a hot and humid note as temperatures surged into the upper 80s and lower 90s over the last few days of the month with the passage of a warm front.

 

Site

May 2011 Avg Temp

May 2011 Difference from Normal

Highest

Temperature

Lowest Temperature

Indianapolis

63.8

+1.2

90 on 30,31

36 on 5

Lafayette

63.5

+2.1

91 on 30,31

34 on 5

Muncie

62.6

+1.1

91 on 31

34 on 5

Terre Haute

63.4

+0.2

90 on 30,31

33 on 5

Bloomington

63.3

+0.6

91 on 30,31

33 on 5

Shelbyville

64.0

+1.1

92 on 31

35 on 5

Indy – Eagle Crk.

63.6

+1.0

90 on 30,31

35 on 5

 

At Indianapolis, there were 12 days with below normal average temperatures, 17 days with above normal average temperatures and 2 days with normal average temperatures.

 

May 2011 was the 56th warmest in the Indianapolis area since 1871.


Precipitation

Rainfall for May 2011 was above normal in most areas once again. However, monthly totals were significantly less than in April for many areas. Some locations in central Indiana received below normal rainfall during May.

May rainfall totals ranged from 3 ½ inches to nearly 11 inches. The heaviest rainfall occurred in south central Indiana near the Ohio River and in northeast Indiana near Fort Wayne. The driest areas were eastern Montgomery and western Boone Counties in central Indiana.

Rainfall at the very beginning of May in southern Indiana was the last in a series of rainfall events that began on April 19. Massive and historic river flooding struck the lowest reaches of the Ohio River in early May as a result of this rain.

River flooding in central and southern Indiana ended by May 19. Widespread rainfall returned again during the severe storms of May 25. River flooding promptly followed in western and southern Indiana. The last rain event on the 28th caused significant river flooding in west central Indiana.

The wet weather of April and May hindered the agricultural community. Statewide, Indiana formers were nearly a month behind in planting of corn and soybeans. Some farmers in southern Indiana were getting into their fields for the first time at the end of May.

 

Site

May 2011 Precipitation

May 2011 Difference from Normal

Wettest Day

Longest Dry Stretch

Indianapolis

4.97

 +0.61

0.86 on 25

 6 days 8-13

Lafayette

Missing

Missing

0.18 on 15

 4 days 8-11

Muncie

5.13

 +0.96

0.83 on 25

 2 days 8-9, 11-12 and 20-21

Terre Haute

5.33

 +0.87

1.19 on 7

 3 days 9-11

Bloomington

6.54

 +1.42

1.75 on 2

 3 days 9-11, 19-21 and 28-30

Shelbyville

5.87

 +1.40

1.62 on 25

 3 days 19-21 and 28-30

Indy – Eagle Crk.

4.99

 +0.63

0.82 on 26

 6 days 8-13

                           

May 2011 was the 42nd wettest in the Indianapolis area since weather records began in 1871.

 

Severe Weather

 

 

While the majority of the month had relatively benign weather, the last third of the month was quite active with various forms of severe weather.  The only severe event during the first two thirds of the month occurred on May 10th as thunderstorms developed along a warm front and dropped golf ball size hail on the northeastern section of central Indiana.  The other severe events occurred on May 22nd, 23rd, 25th, and 28th.  On May 22nd, storms dropped hail up to 3 inches in diameter.  A squall line pushed eastward across the area during the evening of the 23rd and gusts up to 80 mph resulted in numerous reports of wind damage and power outages.  On May 25th, southwestern portions of central Indiana were placed in a high risk for severe weather for the first time since late October of 2010, while the rest of central Indiana was in a moderate risk.  The approach of a potent low pressure system from the west provided a rich environment for severe storm development throughout the day.  Seven tornadoes touched down during the evening causing damage ranging from EF-0 to EF-2 intensity across central Indiana.  Numerous reports of high winds and large hail were common during the afternoon and evening as well.  Lastly, storms near a warm front during the evening of May 28th dropped hail up to ping pong ball size.

 

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

 

Miscellaneous

 

The maximum wind gust at the Indianapolis International Airport was 63 mph from the south-southwest on the evening of the 23rd as a line of severe thunderstorms moved through.  Fog or haze was reported at Indianapolis on 25 days this month, with dense fog reported on the 8th and the 22nd. Thunder was reported at Indianapolis on six days this month.

 

June 2011 Outlook

 

The official outlook for June 2011 from the Climate Prediction Center indicates a greater chance of above normal temperatures for central Indiana.  At Indianapolis, the average temperature for the month is 71.7 degrees.  The outlook also calls for an equal chance for above normal, normal, or below normal precipitation across central Indiana. The average precipitation for June at Indianapolis is 4.13”.  

 

Data prepared by the Indianapolis Forecast Office.



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