Warmth became the main weather story throughout the year across Central Indiana. 2012 set the record for warmest year since records began in 1871. Below is a table of warmest years on record:
The year started off warm, with January and February each averaging over 5 degrees above normal. March however brought unprecendented warmth for the month, with March averaging over 14 degrees above normal. March 2012 became the warmest March on record. Many days during March were more typical of Tampa, Florida, than Indiana. The warmth caused an early spring with trees and flowers blooming early. April and May continued the warmth, with each month averaging above normal. In a rare occurrence, the March average temperature ended up being warmer than the April average temperature at many locations across central Indiana. At Indianapolis, 1907 was the only other year in recorded history where the average temperature in March was warmer than that experienced in April.
Summer continued the warmth, but conditions also became dry. At Indianapolis, the temperature exceeded 100 degrees twice during the month, the most since 1934. The all time record high for June at Indianapolis was set on June 28 when the temperature topped out at 104 degrees. June 2012 was the driest June on record at Indianapolis, when only 0.09 inches of rain fell. The high temperature of 102 on July 4th was the second warmest July 4 on record at Indianapolis. On July 7 the temperature topped out at 105. These temperatures helped July 2012 become not only the warmest July on record but also the warmest month on record at Indianapolis with an average temperature of 84.0 degrees. The dry weather continued throughout July. August continued to be warm, but rainfall finally returned to the area. The very dry June and July caused damage to crops and lawns.
The Fall was colder than average, with September, October, and November ending up below average. Warmth returned for December, and despite a colder, snowier weather pattern for the last ten days of the month, December ended up over 7 degrees above normal.
Other notable weather events for the year included severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and the biggest snow in nearly 4 years. Below is a list of some notable events, in chronological order.
January 20-21 Snow, Sleet and Freezing rain: 1 to 3 inches of snow fell across northern sections of the area, with sleet and freezing rain south.
January 23 Severe Storms: Just a couple of days after the snow and freezing rain, a line of strong to severe thunderstorms moved across Central Indiana, causing damage to some roofs and downing trees and power lines.
March 2 Severe Storms: A powerful area of low pressure brought severe storms with large hail and damaging winds to the area. Behind the storms the strong winds continued. Across far southern Indiana, tornadoes struck, causing significant damage to several towns.
May 1 Severe Storms and Tornadoes: An area of low pressure moved along a warm front, producing severe storms. 3 tornadoes touched down in Central Indiana. Severe storms brought damaging winds, hail, and heavy rain.
August 9 Severe Storms: A cold front brought severe storms with damaging winds and hail.
Labor Day Weekend: The remnants of Hurricane Isaac brought heavy rain to the area, just a couple of months after severe drought had plagued the area.
September 7 Severe Storms: Not long after Labor Day, a cold front brought another round of heavy rain, along with some severe storms.
December 26 Winter Storm/Blizzard: A strong area of low pressure brought strong winds and heavy snow to central Indiana. The 7.5 inch snowfall at Indianapolis was the largest snowfall seen since January 2009.
Data prepared by the Indianapolis Forecast Office