January 2013 Climate Summary

Central Indiana
January 2013
Climate Summary
58th Warmest on record at Indianapolis
16th Wettest on record at Indianapolis
34th Least Snowiest on record at Indianapolis
 
Temperatures
In many respects, the first month of 2013 saw temperatures take abrupt swings throughout the month from much above normal temperatures followed by extremely cold weather as Arctic airmasses expanded into the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley following the passages of strong cold fronts.
The month started out cold and primarily dry as a sprawling high pressure moved through the region. High temperatures were mainly in the 20s to lower 30s through the 4th, with lows in the single digits and teens. Temperatures began to warm from the 5th through the following week as the high shifted off to the east and allowed southerly winds to bring increasingly milder air into the Ohio Valley. A warm front pushed through the region on the 10th with highs surging into the upper 50s and lower 60s across much of the area on the 11th and 12th. The passage of a strong cold front early on the 13th brought an abrupt end to the unseasonably warm conditions, as early morning highs in the 50s fell into the 20s by that evening. The arrival of high pressure brought another round of seasonably cool weather through the middle of the month as highs warmed from the lower 20s on the 14th into the 30s and lower 40s by the 17th and 18th. Temperatures once again peaked in the 50s on the 19th, before the passage of another cold front reintroduced cold arctic air into the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.
The coldest air of the month followed the passage of the cold front on the 19th, with highs below 30 degrees every day through the 25th. The coldest day of this period came on the 22nd as high temperatures remained in the teens across central Indiana after morning lows for many falling into the 0 to 5 degree range. Temperatures recovered into the 30s on the 26th and 27th, then soared into the 50s and 60s from the 28th through the early part of the 30th as the passage of a warm front brought warm air from the Gulf of Mexico north into the Ohio Valley. High temperatures in the middle 60s were common shortly after midnight on the 30th ahead of a powerful cold front. At Indianapolis, the high of 65 degrees recorded shortly after 1 am on the 30th ended up setting the record high for the day. Temperatures fell sharply through the day on the 30th with the last day of the month experiencing highs only in the lower 30s and lows returning to near 10 degrees.
 
Site
January 2013     Avg Temp
January 2013 Difference from Normal
Highest
Temperature
Lowest Temperature
Indianapolis
29.9
+1.8
65 on 30
4 on 22
Lafayette
27.8
+1.3
65 on 29 and 30
2 on 2 and 22
Muncie
30.8*
+4.3
67 on 30
5 on 22
Terre Haute
30.0
+1.8
67 on 29
2 on 2
Bloomington
31.6
+2.2
68 on 30
1 on 2
Shelbyville
31.5
+2.8
67 on 30
3 on 2
Indy – Eagle Crk.
29.5
+1.4
64 on 29 and 30
4 on 22
 
At Indianapolis, there were 14 days with above normal average temperatures, 14 days with below normal average temperatures and 3 days with average temperatures.
 
January 2013 was the 58th warmest in the Indianapolis area since weather records began in 1871.
*January 6 and 7 temperature data missing at Muncie.
 
 
Precipitation

January was a wet month with relatively little snowfall for much of central and southern Indiana. Rainfall totals ranged from 2 inches in northern Indiana to over 8 inches in west central and southwest Indiana. The heaviest rainfall was concentrated in the southwest quadrant of the state.
January’s rainfall was above normal for almost all of Indiana. Portions of west central Indiana received more than three times the normal for January. This was the wettest January in 31 years for the Evansville area. However for much of central Indiana, it was much wetter in January 2005.
Flooding returned to central and southern Indiana for the first time since early May 2011. The highest flood levels in nearly two years occurred following rainfall of 2½ to nearly 7 inches from the 9th through the 13th.   Significant flooding developed along the White River and several of its smaller tributaries.
 
Rainfall of 1 to 2 inches from the 28th through the 30th caused another rise in streams and rivers. Lowland river flooding returned to portions of the White, East Fork White and Wabash Rivers at the end of the month and continued into February.
 
 
Site
January 2013  Precipitation
January 2013 Difference from Normal
Wettest Day
Longest Dry Stretch
Indianapolis
5.51
 +2.85
1.28 on 12
 5 days 15-19
Lafayette
3.67
 +1.81
0.99 on 30
 6 days 15-20
Muncie
4.15
 +1.92
1.15 on 12
 5 days 16-20
Terre Haute
5.57*
 +3.21
1.76 on 12
 7 days 14-20
Bloomington
5.46**
 +2.15
1.73 on 13
 7 days 14-20
Shelbyville
3.88
 +1.49
1.13 on 13
 7 days 14-20
Indy – Eagle Crk.
4.67***
 +2.46
1.48 on 12
 7 days 14-20
                           
January 2013 was the 16th wettest in the Indianapolis area since weather records began in 1871.
*January 2 and 3 precipitation data missing at Terre Haute.
** January 9 precipitation data missing at Bloomington.
*** January 30 precipitation data missing at Indy Eagle Creek.
 
 
 
Snowfall
 
Little snow fell in January in central and southern Indiana. Monthly snowfall ranged from a trace in southern Indiana to 11 inches near Lake Michigan. Most of central Indiana received up to 3 inches for the month. A quick moving upper disturbance brought light snow to the region on the morning of the 25th, providing the most snow from one storm for the month as most locations received generally one to two inches. In the wake of a strong cold frontal passage on the 30th, snow squalls developed across central Indiana on the 31st as an upper level wave crossed the region. While snowfall amounts were generally less than an inch, the squalls caused brief periods of near whiteout conditions with heavy snowfall, creating travel difficulties across central Indiana.
 
Severe Weather
 
Two instances of severe weather impacted central Indiana during the month of January. The first occurred from late evening on the 12th into the early morning of the 13th ahead of a strong cold front. A squall line accompanied the frontal boundary shortly after midnight on the 13th, causing wind gusts in excess of 50 mph. There were isolated pockets of higher winds, producing sporadic damage to structures in Vincennes, and to power poles and trees in Greenwood.
 
The biggest event of the month occurred beginning around midnight on the 30th and continuing through the overnight. An intense cold front with a squall line that extended from central Indiana south into the lower Mississippi Valley produced wind damage. Most of the damage across central Indiana was confined to areas south of Interstate 70, including across eastern Greene County where 14 homes sustained damage near the town of Solsberry. Another area of impressive wind damage occurred near Castleton Mall on the northeast side of Indianapolis, where trees and power poles were downed, along with damage to a Costco grocery store. Wind gusts in both Solsberry and across northeast Marion County likely approached 70-80 mph.   
 
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/.
 
Miscellaneous
The maximum wind gust at the Indianapolis International Airport was 48 mph from the south on the early morning of the 30th as a line of strong thunderstorms moved through the Indianapolis metro area. Fog or haze was reported at Indianapolis on 20 days during the month, with dense fog occurring on seven days. Freezing rain or drizzle occurred on the 13th
 
 
February 2013 Outlook
 
The official outlook for February 2013 from the Climate Prediction Center indicates a greater chance of above normal temperatures across much of central Indiana.  At Indianapolis, the average temperature for the month is 32.1 degrees. The outlook calls for a slightly greater chance of above normal precipitation. The average precipitation for February at Indianapolis is 2.32”, with 6.5” of snowfall.
  
 
Data prepared by the Indianapolis Forecast Office.


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