March 2013 Central Indiana Climate Summary

           Central Indiana
March 2013
Climate Summary
Tied for 14th Coolest on record at Indianapolis
Tied for 30th Driest on record at Indianapolis
4th Snowiest on record at Indianapolis
A persistent upper level trough across the eastern half of the country kept cold temperatures across central Indiana for much of the month, enabling cold Arctic air to make repeated trips into the Ohio Valley and the lower Great Lakes. The daily average temperature was below normal on 27 of the 31 days in March in Indianapolis, helping to produce a monthly average temperature nearly seven degrees below normal. This made for the coldest March in Indianapolis since 1996. Even more impressive was the difference in weather experienced over central Indiana from March 2012 to this March. The difference in monthly average temperature between March 2012 and this March at Indianapolis was just over 21 degrees!
High temperatures remained below 40 degrees over much of central Indiana for the first seven days of the month, as the region experienced cold and unsettled conditions. This was highlighted by a late season winter storm that produced several inches of snow on the 5th and 6th. Temperatures briefly warmed from the 8th-11th as warmer air surged north into the Ohio Valley with the persistent upper trough relaxing. The warmest daytime temperatures of the month occurred on the 10th with many locations experiencing highs in the middle and upper 60s. The passage of a cold front on the 11th brought the return of the stagnant upper trough and subsequently, a return to colder temperatures for central Indiana and the Ohio Valley. Many locations remained at 50 or lower for highs for much of the rest of the month, with highs in the 20s to lower 30s. The coldest mornings came on the 21st and 22nd with lows dropping into the teens throughout central Indiana. For Indianapolis, the low of 16 degrees recorded on the morning of the 22nd made for the coldest low so late in March in seven years.
After a large late season winter storm impacted the region on the 24th and 25th, the upper trough relaxed again towards the end of the month, allowing for warmer air to lift into the Ohio Valley for the last few days of the month. Highs rose into the lower 60s across all of central Indiana on the 31st, the warmest day for much of the region since the 10th. This was the first time since 2008, and only the third time since 2000 that high temperatures had failed to reach 70 degrees in Indianapolis through the end of March.  
March 2013     Avg Temp
March 2013 Difference from Normal
Lowest Temperature
67 on 10
16 on 21
66 on 10
14 on 21
66 on 10
17 on 21
Terre Haute
63 on 10
18 on 22
67 on 10
16 on 22
67 on 10
19 on 21 and 22
Indy – Eagle Crk.
65 on 10
16 on 21
At Indianapolis, there were 4 days with above normal average temperatures and 27 days with below normal average temperatures.
March 2013 was tied for the 14th coolest in the Indianapolis area since weather records began in 1871.
warm and green March Snowy March
A comparison of March 2012 to March 2013 at NWS Indianapolis. Left: March 28, 2012 – High temperature 75 degrees. Right: March 25, 2013 – High temperature 34 degrees.

March 2013  Precipitation
March 2013 Difference from Normal
Wettest Day
Longest Dry Stretch
0.48 on 24
 4 days 27-30
0.53 on 5
 4 days 27-30
0.37 on 18
 4 days 27-30
Terre Haute
0.55 on 24
 4 days 27-30
0.65 on 17
 3 days 27-29
0.60 on 18
 4 days 27-30
Indy – Eagle Crk.
0.42 on 24
 4 days 27-30
March 2013 was tied for the 30th driest in the Indianapolis area since weather records began in 1871.
The only significant rainfall of the month occurred on the 17th-18th when 1 to more than 3 inches fell in southern Indiana. Precipitation along and north of I-70 during this event was much lighter and mostly wintry precipitation and not rainfall.
March melted precipitation and rainfall totals ranged from an inch in portions of northern Indiana to more than 5 inches in south central Indiana. Precipitation was below normal to normal in much of the state. The driest areas were in west central Indiana and the wettest in south central Indiana.
A largely snow melt lowland river flood occurred along the Wabash River from the 11th through the 17th. Temperatures in the 50s and 60s on the 10th and 11th melted the snow that accumulated in northern Indiana on the 5th and 6th. Rainfall on the 17th and 18th caused lowland flooding along portions of the White, East Fork White and Muscatatuck Rivers in southern Indiana and prolonged the high levels of the Wabash River in southwest Indiana. All river flooding ended by March 24.
March was a very snowy month for central and northern Indiana. Monthly snowfall totals ranged from a trace to around an inch along the Ohio River in southwest and south central Indiana to over 20 inches in central Indiana.
March 2013 was the snowiest March for portions of central Indiana in more than 100 years. The last time more snow fell in March at Whitestown located in Boone County was during March 1906. For the Indianapolis area, the monthly total of 14.5 inches was the greatest for March since 1924, and the 4th snowiest March overall. The March record snowfall for both locations was set in 1906. That year more than 26 inches of snow occurred. 
Much of the snow during March fell on the 24th-25th.   The heaviest snow fell in central Indiana, where 4 to 12 inches was measured.   This is the first time for the Indianapolis area that a snowfall of 9 inches has occurred so late in the season. Snowfall records began at Indianapolis on March 1, 1884.
Severe Weather
There was no severe weather across central Indiana during the month of March.
For information on severe weather in other areas during March, visit the Storm Prediction Center “Severe Weather Event Summaries” website at
The maximum wind gust at the Indianapolis International Airport was 45 mph from the southwest during the evening of the 31st as a cold front passed through the region. Fog or haze was reported at Indianapolis on 20 days during the month, with dense fog occurring on two days. Ice pellets fell at Indianapolis on 6 days during the month. Freezing rain occurred for a brief period early on the morning of the 18th as well.
April 2013 Outlook
The official outlook for April 2013 from the Climate Prediction Center indicates an equal chance of above, near or below normal temperatures across central Indiana.  At Indianapolis, the average temperature for the month is 53.0 degrees. The outlook also calls for an equal chance of above, near or below normal precipitation. The average precipitation for April at Indianapolis is 3.81”, with 0.2” of snowfall.
Data prepared by the Indianapolis Forecast Office.

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