December 2011 Climate Summary

Central Indiana
December 2011
Climate Summary
 
18th Warmest on record at Indianapolis

Tied for 16th Wettest on record at Indianapolis

 

Temperatures
The mild temperatures experienced this fall continued into early December, with high temperatures into the 50s on the 3rd and 4th. Temperatures dropped back to more seasonable levels on the 5th with the passage of a cold front. The coldest air of the season arrived during the afternoon of the 9th as a weak disturbance moved through the Great Lakes. Many locations experienced the coldest low temperatures of the month on the morning of the 10th as temperatures fell into the teens. Despite abundant sunshine on the 10th, much of central Indiana remained below freezing all day, the first sub-freezing high temperatures of the season.
The cold air was unable to remain across the Ohio Valley for any extended period, as the return of ridging aloft and southerly flow ushered high temperatures into the upper 50s and lower 60s by the 14th and 15th. Temperatures returned to more seasonable levels once again by the 16th in the wake of a cold front. After the brief cool down however, zonal upper level flow of a Pacific origin reestablished. With colder air from western Canada largely remaining cutoff from progressing into the Great lakes and the Ohio Valley, temperatures remained mostly at or above normal for the rest of the month. Christmas Day was mild and dry with many locations near 50 degrees during the afternoon, a stark contrast from Christmas 2010 when temperatures struggled to climb out of the 20s with several inches of snow on the ground across central Indiana. After the 19th, low temperatures never got lower than 20 degrees across the region. 
 
Site
December 2011 Avg Temp
December 2011 Difference from Normal
Highest
Temperature
Lowest Temperature
Indianapolis
37.8
 +6.2
62 on 15
15 on 10
Lafayette
36.9
 +6.5
60 on 15
14 on 10
Muncie
36.4
 +5.7
60 on 15
15 on 10
Terre Haute
37.8       
 +6.2
61 on 15
16 on 10
Bloomington
38.4
 +6.2
61 on 15
14 on 10
Shelbyville
38.5
 +6.7
63 on 15
18 on 10, 11
Indy – Eagle Crk.
36.1
 +4.4
60 on 15
14 on 10
 
At Indianapolis, there were 7 days with below normal average temperatures and 24 days with above normal average temperatures.
 
December 2011 was the 18th warmest in the Indianapolis area since 1871.

 

 

Precipitation

December was another wet month. Monthly precipitation was near normal to above normal for much of Indiana.   Melted precipitation ranged from 1.5 inches to nearly 8 inches. Much of central and southern Indiana received monthly amounts of 3 to 6 inches. The least amount of precipitation fell in extreme northern Indiana near Lake Michigan and the most in south central and southeast Indiana.
December’s precipitation was fairly evenly distributed. Significant rainfall or melted precipitation of 1 to possibly more than 2 inches occurred on the 4th-5th, 14th-15th, 19th -21st and the 27th in portions of central and southern Indiana. The last rainfall of the year occurred during the afternoon and evening of the 30th as a low pressure system passed through the Great Lakes. Precipitation amounts were generally no more than three-tenths of an inch.
River flooding that began at very end of November continued through the entire month of December along the lower White and Wabash Rivers. Significant flooding occurred in portions of Jackson County along the East Fork White and Muscatatuck Rivers following the heavy rains on the 4th-5th. The next three precipitation events caused renewed lowland river flooding in central Indiana and prolonged river flooding along the Wabash River in western Indiana and the White River in southwest Indiana.
 
Site
December 2011 Precipitation
December 2011 Difference from Normal
Wettest Day
Longest Dry Stretch
Indianapolis
5.10
+1.93
0.99” on 21
4 days 23-26
Lafayette
3.31
+0.80
0.84” on 14
5 days 22-26
Muncie
4.50
+1.62
0.76” on 5
5 days 22-26
Terre Haute
3.51
+0.46
1.03” on 14
4 days 23-26
Bloomington
Missing  #
Missing 
0.80” on 5
7 days 6-12
Shelbyville
4.57
+1.30
1.17” on 5
4 days 23-26
Indy – Eagle Crk.
5.00
+1.92
1.08” on 14
4 days 23-26
                   
    #  Above normal precipitation of nearly 5 inches fell at Bloomington
December 2011 was tied for the 16th wettest in the Indianapolis area since 1871.

 

 

Snowfall
Central Indiana had only one snow event during December. The “biggest” snowfall so far in the winter season for the Indianapolis area occurred on the 27th. A very wet snow of 1 to up to 5 inches fell in portions of Indiana. Indianapolis officially received 2.3 inches of slushy snowfall. After the snow ended, temperatures rose into the middle 30s reducing the snow depth. The snow cover completely melted on the 29th as temperatures warmed into the upper 40s and lower 50s. 
Northeast Indiana experienced at least three minor snow accumulations during December. All of the snows were much less than what fell at the end of November.

 

 

Severe Weather
 
There were no severe weather events across central Indiana in December.
  
For information on previous severe weather events, visit the Storm Prediction Center “Severe Weather Event Summaries” website at http://www.spc.noaa.gov/climo/online/.

 

 

Miscellaneous
 
The maximum wind gust at Indianapolis International Airport was 48 mph out of the west on the 15th in the wake of the passage of a cold front. Fog or haze was reported at Indianapolis on 20 days during the month.

 

 

January 2012 Outlook
 
The official outlook for January 2012 from the Climate Prediction Center indicates greater chances for above normal temperatures for central Indiana. At Indianapolis, the average temperature for the month is 28.1 degrees. The outlook calls for a greater chance for above normal precipitation. The average precipitation for January at Indianapolis is 2.66” along with 8.6” of snowfall.
                                                                         
 
 
 

 

 

 

  
 
Data prepared by the Indianapolis Forecast Office.


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