December 2012 Climate Summary

Central Indiana
December 2012
Climate Summary
Tied for 16th Warmest on record at Indianapolis
Tied for 65th Driest on record at Indianapolis
7th Snowiest on record at Indianapolis
December started off very warm as an upper level ridge brought near record temperatures in the 60s, and even lower 70s in some areas during the first four days of the month. The passage of a strong cold front on the 4th brought temperatures down, but for the most part through the middle of the month, the colder air remained bottled up to the north over Canada and the Arctic. High temperatures remained above normal across central Indiana with highs in the 40s, and occasionally the 50s, while lows in the 20s and 30s were common.
The passage of a strong cold front on the 20th finally ushered in a stormy and unsettled weather pattern with northwest flow bringing much colder air into the lower Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. High temperatures fell back into the upper 20s and lower 30s for the 21st and 22nd and with a fresh snow cover of a couple inches across central Indiana, lows fell into the teens on the morning of the 22nd under clear skies. After a brief warmup into the 40s on the 23rd, high temperatures fell back below 40 degrees as reinforcing shots of colder air overspread the region. For most of central Indiana, the temperature remained below 40 degrees for the rest of the month. The large winter storm that impacted the Ohio Valley late on the 25th and through the 26th, followed by smaller storms on the 28th and morning of the 29th and again on the evening of the 31st, produced an extensive snow pack of 6 to 10 inches over much of the region. With the snow and clear skies, temperatures fell into the single digits across much of central Indiana on the morning of the 30th. For many areas, this was the coldest morning experienced since mid January 2012. Despite the much colder final ten days of the month, average temperatures ranged from 5 to 8 degrees above normal for December.
December 2012     Avg Temp
December 2012 Difference from Normal
Lowest Temperature
69 on 3
11 on 30
70 on 3
12 on 30
68 on 3
16 on 28 and 30
Terre Haute
72 on 3
1 on 30
71 on 3
4 on 30
71 on 3
13 on 30
Indy – Eagle Crk.
69 on 3
11 on 30
At Indianapolis, there were 25 days with above normal average temperatures, 5 days with below normal average temperatures and 1 day with average temperatures.
December 2012 was tied for the 16th warmest in the Indianapolis area since weather records began in 1871.
*December 10 and 11 temperature data missing at Shelbyville.

December was a wet and snowy month especially for much of central and southern Indiana. Monthly melted precipitation totals ranged from 1.5 inches in northwest Indiana to over 6 inches near the Ohio River in south central and southeast Indiana. Areas north of I-70 received 1.5 to 3 inches while areas along and south of I-70 received 3 to 5 inches. Melted precipitation for December was near normal for much of the state with some areas in northern Indiana on the dry side while portions of east central and southern Indiana were on the wetter side.
Drought conditions remained unchanged in northern Indiana during December. The U.S. Drought Monitor indicated about 15% of Indiana was in a moderate drought at the end of December. Stream flow ranged from seasonal levels in much of central Indiana to below normal in northern and southern Indiana. Local area reservoirs remained near or at capacity.
December 2012 Precipitation
December 2012 Difference from Normal
Wettest Day
Longest Dry Stretch
0.52 on 9
 3 days 12-14
1.09 on 20
 5 days 10-14
0.59 on 20
 3 days 12-14
Terre Haute
0.71 on 20
 5 days 10-14
0.48 on 26
 5 days 10-14
0.47 on 2
 5 days 10-14
Indy – Eagle Crk.
0.42 on 9
 5 days 10-14
December 2012 was tied for the 65th driest in the Indianapolis area since weather records began in 1871.
*December 26 precipitation data missing at Terre Haute.
**December 26 and 30 precipitation data missing at Indy Eagle Creek.
December 2012 was among the snowiest December of record for much of central and southern Indiana. With 14.8 inches of snowfall for December For portions of southern Indiana, this was the most snow since the historic snow of December 2004. Snowfall totals ranged from 6 to near 20 inches. Snowfall did not begin until the 20th, but when it did, the snow made up for lost time.
The big snow of the month occurred on 26th, when a strong winter storm approached blizzard conditions and dropped 4 to more than 12 inches of snow on much of central and southern Indiana. Wind gusts approached or exceeded 40 mph at the height of the snow. Snowfall totals were less for west central and northern Indiana and in portions of south central and southeast Indiana that received a combination of rain, sleet and snow.
Another snow storm quickly followed late on the 28th and early on the 29th. This system did not have strong winds, but portions of southern and central Indiana received 3 to 8 inches of snow. The last snow of the month fell on New Year’s Eve as much of central Indiana received 1 to 3 inches.
Severe Weather
No severe weather occurred across central Indiana during the month of December. Strong thunderstorms that developed ahead of a powerful cold front on the afternoon of the 20th produced wind gusts of 50 to 55 mph across the region.
For information on severe weather in other areas during November, visit the Storm Prediction Center “Severe Weather Event Summaries” website at
The maximum wind gust at Indianapolis International Airport was 53 mph out of the southwest on the 20th as a line of showers and embedded thunderstorms moved through the region ahead of a strong cold front. Fog or haze was reported at Indianapolis on 23 days during the month, with dense fog reported on four days.
January 2013 Outlook
The official outlook for January 2013 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 28.1 degrees. The outlook calls for an equal chance of near, above or below normal precipitation. The average precipitation for January at Indianapolis is 2.66”, with 8.6” of snowfall.
Data prepared by the Indianapolis Forecast Office.

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