April 2012 Climate Summary

Central Indiana

April 2012

Climate Summary

37th Warmest on record at Indianapolis

71st Wettest on record at Indianapolis



The last few days of the persistent March warmth lingered into the first few days of April, with highs topping out in the lower and middle 80s on the 3rd. Cooler weather followed through much of the rest of the first half of the month as a broad upper level trough established across the Great Lakes and brought repeated surges of colder air into the region. Many locations across central Indiana in fact did not see high temperatures warm above 70 degrees again until the 15th. Low temperatures cooling into the upper 20s and lower 30s on several mornings through this period brought concerns about frost accrual and the impacts of subfreezing temperatures to vegetation that had been substantially advanced in growth courtesy of the record warmth in March. Most locations experienced their coolest temperatures on the mornings of the 11th and 12th as temperatures fell into the 25 to 30 degree range. Despite the cold mornings, impacts to vegetation across central Indiana appeared to be minor.

Warmer temperatures returned from the 15th through the 20th before a cold frontal passage ushered in another period of much cooler temperatures as large high pressure expanded south from Canada. High temperatures in the 50s were common across central Indiana from the 21st through the 23rd with lows once again falling back into the 30s before a brief warmup in the few days that followed.  The arrival of a nearly stationary warm front into southern Indiana for the last few days of the month brought large temperature differences to the region. Temperatures north of the front struggled to climb out of the 50s while highs warmed into the 70s along and south of the boundary. As the boundary pushed north on the 30th, much of central Indiana warmed into the 70s and lower 80s, making the last day of the month the warmest day since the 3rd for much of the region.

Indianapolis marked another rare occurrence for Spring 2012. The average temperature for April was 2.1 degrees cooler than March. Typically the average monthly temperature increases nearly 11 degrees from March to April. This was only the second time since 1872 when March was warmer than April. The only other occurrence was in 1907.

It is interesting to note that both events were caused by either a record warm or record cold month. In 1907, March was followed by the coldest April of record. This year a record warm March is followed by an April with an average monthly temperature that was only 1.5 degrees above normal.  In fact, the other six major climate reporting stations within central Indiana also experienced average temperatures in April that were generally a degree or two cooler than those experienced in March.



April 2012  Avg Temp

April 2012 Difference from Normal

Highest Temperature

Lowest Temperature




84 on 3

29 on 11




85 on 3

26 on 11




81 on 3

27 on 11

Terre Haute



86 on 3

29 on 11




84 on 3

27 on 11




85 on 3

28 on 12

Indy – Eagle Crk.



84 on 3

31 on 11

 At Indianapolis, there were 18 days with above normal average temperatures, 11 days with below normal average temperatures and 1 day with a normal average temperature.

 April 2012 was the 37th warmest in the Indianapolis area since 1871.




April was a dry month in much of Indiana especially in southwest and northern Indiana.  Monthly rainfall totaled from one-half of an inch in portions of north central Indiana to nearly 6 inches at some locations in southern Indiana.  Most areas received between 1 and 3 inches of rainfall during April.

Drought conditions appeared for the first in the state since last October.  The U.S. Drought Monitor indicated abnormally dry conditions in portions of western Indiana as of April 24th.  Little or no rain fell in much of Indiana north of Interstate 70 from the 1st through the 13th.   Rainfall was absent from nearly the entire state from the 5th through the 13th.  Windy and dry conditions raised wildfire concerns during this time. Indiana farmers took advantage of the dry weather and planted corn and soybeans at a record pace according to the Indiana Field Office of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Some farmers stopped planting when soils became too dry for crop germination.

Widespread showers and thunderstorms on the afternoon and evening of the 30th alleviated dry conditions to some extent.  Most areas in the state received one quarter to one inch of rainfall.

April was the first month without river flooding since October.



April 2012 Precipitation

April 2012 Difference from Normal

Wettest Day

Longest Dry Stretch




1.20 on 14

 5 days 8-12




0.61 on 30

 4 days 21-24




0.62 on 30

 6 days 2-7

Terre Haute



1.05 on 1

 5 days 8-12




1.45 on 14

 4 days 9-12




0.82 on 14

 5 days 8-12

Indy – Eagle Crk.



1.00 on 14

 5 days 2-6

                            April 2012 was the 71st wettest in the Indianapolis area since weather records began in 1871.


Severe Weather


There were just a few severe weather events that impacted central Indiana during the month of April.  On the evening of April 1, two small supercells developed north of Indianapolis in the vicinity of a frontal boundary. The storms moved quickly southeast, across the northern and eastern portions of the Indianapolis metro area, as well as Hancock, Decatur, Rush and Shelby counties, producing large hail up to the size of ping pong balls throughout.

 Severe weather did not return to central Indiana until the last few days of the month as a nearly stationary boundary meandered across the Ohio Valley. A thunderstorm complex tracked from eastern Missouri, eastward across southern portions of Illinois and Indiana during the late afternoon of the 28th.  These thunderstorms moved across the lower Wabash Valley, producing damaging wind gusts and large hail from Vincennes eastward to near Bedford.  A 90 mph wind gust was reported in Washington, along with hail up to ping pong ball size.  Thunderstorms again moved through central Indiana on the afternoon and early evening of the 30th.  These storms remained subsevere, producing wind gusts to around 50 mph which did cause a few downed trees.

 For information on severe weather in other areas during April, 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 45 mph out of the southwest on the 16th.  Fog or haze was reported at Indianapolis on16 days during the month.  Thunder was reported on 4 days during the month.


May 2012 Outlook


The official outlook for May 2012 from the Climate Prediction Center indicates an equal chance of above normal, normal or below normal temperatures for central Indiana.  At Indianapolis, the average temperature for the month is 62.7 degrees.  The outlook also calls for an equal chance of above normal, normal or below normal precipitation. The average precipitation for May at Indianapolis is 5.05”.


 Data prepared by the Indianapolis Forecast Office.

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