January 2012 Central Indiana Climate Summary

Central Indiana

January 2012

Climate Summary


27th Warmest on record at Indianapolis

37th Wettest on record at Indianapolis

55th Least Snowiest on record at Indianapolis



January kicked off 2012 with mostly above normal temperatures throughout the month, and only 3 brief periods of below normal temperatures.  The first cold snap occurred on the 2nd and 3rd after a strong cold front pushed through the area bringing lows in the teens and highs in the 20s to low 30s across much of central Indiana.  The area quickly shifted to a more benign weather pattern and persistent southwesterly winds brought temperatures to near 20 degrees above normal just a few days later.  Many locations experienced highs in the upper 50s and some even reached 60 degrees on the 6th!  The warm swing lasted through the 11th until a potent low pressure system drew cold Canadian air into the region, which allowed for temperatures nearly 10 degrees below normal from the 13th through 15th.  On the 13th, high temperatures struggled to reach 20 degrees with many locations remaining in the teens throughout the day!  A brief warm-up occurred on the 16th and 17th due to the return of southerly flow as a rapidly moving ridge of high pressure pushed east of the region.  A series of cold fronts brought the last cold snap of the month from the 18th to 21st.  On the 20th, some northern locations even dipped below zero degrees.  From the 22nd onward, the remainder of January stayed above normal and highs near the end of the month rose back to near 60 degrees, an unusually pleasant treat for many Hoosiers this time of year.

High temperatures warmed to 50 degrees or better on 10 days in the month of January at Indianapolis.  This was the 14th time in recorded history at Indianapolis that at least 10 days during the month of January were at 50 degrees or better, and the first January since 2006 when the temperatures warmed to or above 50 degrees on 14 days.



January 2012 Avg Temp

January 2012 Difference from Normal



Lowest Temperature




 61  on 31

11 on 15




 61  on 31

-1 on 20




 59  on 31

-1 on 20

Terre Haute



 60  on 6

11 on 14 and 15




 60  on 6

6 on 15




 60  on 31

12 on 15

Indy – Eagle Crk.



 58  on 31

8 on 15 and 20

At Indianapolis, there were 9 days with below normal average temperatures, 21 days with above normal average temperatures and 1 day with normal average temperatures.


January 2012 was the 27th warmest in the Indianapolis area since 1871.




The normal to above normal precipitation trend that began late in September continued in January.  Melted precipitation totals of 1.5 to 6.5 inches occurred in the state.  Once again the largest amounts were in central and southern Indiana. Precipitation fell in the form of rain, snow, sleet and freezing rain during January.  Almost all of the precipitation in January fell from 11th through the 28th. 

The dry period from the end of December through the 10th allowed river flooding to end in central and southern Indiana and streams to return to normal levels.  Abundant and frequent rainfall from the 11th through the 26th caused river flooding to return after the 16th and continue the remainder of January and into February.  Flood levels along the Wabash River from U.S. Highway 36 to the Ohio River were slightly higher than levels experienced in December.  Flood crests along the White River in the Bloomfield and Edwardsport areas were 1 to 2 feet above December levels.   



January 2012 Precipitation

January 2012 Difference from Normal

Wettest Day

Longest Dry Stretch




0.72 on 17

 8 days 3-10




1.46 on 17

 8 days 3-10




0.85 on 17

 7 days 4-10

Terre Haute



0.82 on 17

 8 days 3-10




1.23 on 17

 8 days 3-10




1.11 on 17

 8 days 3-10

Indy – Eagle Crk.



0.67 on 11

 8 days 3-10

                        January 2012 was the 37th wettest in the Indianapolis area since weather records began in 1871.

(*) Lafayette precipitation data missing from 1/25-1/26

(**) Terre Haute precipitation data missing from 1/20-1/22




Snowfall totals in January ranged from less than an inch in much of southern Indiana to nearly 3 feet near Lake Michigan in northern Indiana.  Snowfall in central Indiana ranged from about an inch to over 12 inches in the Tipton area north of Indianapolis.  Much of the winter precipitation in central Indiana fell on the 12th-13th and the 19th-20th.

The snow and ice did not remain on the ground long in January.  Snow cover in central Indiana melted within 3 days and in northern Indiana within 5 days.   Measurable winter precipitation fell on 8 days in central Indiana and up to 12 days in northern Indiana.  There wasn’t any snow cover in Indiana at the end of January.


Severe Weather

There were 2 severe events during the month – both involving squall lines pushing eastward across the area.  The first of which occurred during the morning of the 17th as a developing low pressure system tracked northeastward across the southern Great Lakes and the associated cold front triggered a line of storms in the abnormally warm, moist airmass.  The storms caused some small hail and damaging winds resulting mostly in downed trees across southern portions of the area.  The second event occurred during the early morning hours of the 23rd, as a squall line ahead of an approaching cold front from the west brought 60 mph winds to the southwestern portion of central Indiana.  This caused some structural damage, including a destroyed home and barns in Daviess County, along with downed trees and power lines in other areas.

For information on severe weather in other areas during January, 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 47 mph out of the west on the 17th.  Fog or haze was reported at Indianapolis on 17 days during the month, with dense fog reported on 5 days.  Thunder was reported on 2 days, the 17th and 23rd as strong cold fronts passed through the region.



February 2012 Outlook

The official outlook for February 2012 from the Climate Prediction Center indicates a greater chance of both above normal temperatures and above normal precipitation for central Indiana.  At Indianapolis, the average temperature for the month is 28.1 degrees, while the average precipitation is 2.66” and 8.6” of snowfall.


Data prepared by the Indianapolis Forecast Office.


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