Fall 2013 Climate Summary

Central Indiana
Fall 2013 Summary

 

 

As we begin the month of December, we mark the conclusion of meteorological fall and welcome meteorological winter. After a warm start to the fall in September, temperatures were near normal in October before a chilly November, the coldest November for many across central Indiana in 16 years. Overall, the fall of 2013 saw average temperatures generally near to below normal. After a dry September, much wetter conditions developed in October, capped off by the wettest Halloween in Indianapolis on record. November saw a return to drier conditions, with the heaviest rainfall occurring ahead of a strong cold front on the 17th. Two significant severe weather events occurred on October 31 and November 17, including what would become one of the largest tornado outbreaks in Indiana history on November 17.
 
The following is a summary of weather conditions experienced in Central Indiana during the months of September, October, and November 2013.
 
 
Temperatures
 
The fall of 2013 was tied for the 54th coolest fall ever at Indianapolis, with an average temperature of 54.4 degrees. This is 0.8 degrees below the normal fall average temperature of 55.2 degrees. 
 
 
September
 
Above average temperatures reigned across Central Indiana during much of the first two weeks of the month. High pressure and a dry ground allowed temperatures to top out in the middle 90s in some areas on the 10th and 11th, and these helped average temperatures reach readings around 15 degrees above normal.
 
A cold front brought some relief to the warm temperatures and allowed readings to get below normal for the middle of the month. Highs failed to reach 70 degrees at some locations on the 13th and 16th.
 
The latter half of the month saw more variability in temperatures, with swings to above and below normal during that period. Normal temperatures naturally cool during the latter half of September as autumn sets in, so highs in the lower 80s with lows in the middle 50s led to above average conditions.
 
October
 
Overall the month of October averaged near normal for most of central Indiana, but most individual days were not normal. The first half of the month was above average, continuing the trend that started in late September.
The first 5 days of the month were well above normal, with departures over 10 degrees above normal common across the area. A cold front brought a brief cool down on the 6th and 7th, but warmer readings returned for the 8th through the 15th. The days were not as warm as earlier in the month but still above average.
A significant change in the weather pattern occurred mid-month, with most remaining days in the month seeing well below normal temperatures. Cold air from Canada flowed into central Indiana during this period, with readings bottoming out around the 25th of the month with low temperatures in the middle to upper 20s. This provided a widespread hard freeze to the area.
The last couple of days of the month saw a return to above average temperatures as warmer air flowed in ahead of a potent storm system.
November
 
The fall season wrapped up on a cool note across central Indiana during the month of November. The presence of an upper level trough over the eastern part of the country for extended periods during the month enabled arctic air to expand across the Ohio Valley on several occasions. This resulted in monthly average temperatures generally from three to five degrees below normal. At Indianapolis, the monthly average temperature of 39.2 degrees is the coldest November experienced since November 1997 when the average temperature was a chilly 39.0 degrees. This month will end up tied for the 23rd coldest November on record at Indianapolis.
 
Seasonable air arrived in the wake of the strong storm system that impacted central Indiana on Halloween with high temperatures mainly in the 50s to near 60 degrees for the first nine to ten days of the month. The passage of a strong cold front on the evening of the 11th ushered in the first surge of arctic air for the fall, with highs plummeting into the 30s for the 12th and 13th. Overnight lows fell into the teens over much of the region on the morning of the 13th. Southerly winds brought a return to seasonable temperatures in the 50s beginning on the 14th, culminating with the warmest weather of the month on the 16th and 17th ahead of the intense low pressure system and cold front that produced the severe weather/tornado outbreak on the 17th. Temperatures soared into the middle and upper 60s on the afternoon of the 17th immediately ahead of the cold front.
 

Colder air returned behind the front with highs falling back into the 40s and lower 50s from the 18th through the 22nd. Another strong cold front crossed the Hoosier state on the afternoon and evening of the 22nd, ushering in the coldest air of the season with its passage. High temperatures from the 23rd through the 27th routinely struggled to make it to the freezing mark, with much of central Indiana remaining in the 20s on both the 24th and 27th. Temperatures modified slowly during the last few days of the month, with highs on the 30th reaching the lower 50s over many locations. Beginning on the 23rd, low temperatures in the teens were common through the end of the month. The seven days with lows below 20 degrees experienced this month at Indianapolis was the most experienced in the month of November since 1976 when 9 days experienced lows below 20.

 

Temperature Data for Other Sites in Central Indiana
 

Site
Fall 2013 Temperature
Normal Temperature
Diff. From Normal
Indianapolis Int’l Arpt
54.4
55.2
-0.8
Lafayette (*)
52.6
54.4
-1.8
Muncie
53.0
54.4
-1.4
Terre Haute (**)
53.7
53.9
-0.2
Bloomington
54.2
54.7
-0.5
Shelbyville (***)
55.2
54.5
+0.7
Indianapolis – Eagle Creek
53.8
55.3
-1.5

(*) Temperature data was missing at Lafayette on 10/24 and 11/17 through 11/19.
(**) Temperature data was missing at Terre Haute from 11/16 through 11/18.
(***) Temperature data was missing at Shelbyville from 9/29 through 10/1.
 
Fall Extremes Across Central Indiana
 

Site
Warmest Temperature
Coldest Temperature
Indianapolis Int’l Airport
 96 on 9/10
13 on 11/24
Lafayette
96 on 9/10 and 9/11
11 on 11/24
Muncie
96 on 9/10
13 on 11/24
Terre Haute
97 on 9/10
14 on 11/24
Bloomington
94 on 9/10
13 on 11/24
Shelbyville
96 on 9/10 and 9/11
15 on 11/24
Indianapolis-Eagle Creek
95 on 9/10
14 on 11/24

 

 

Precipitation
 
Overall this was the 30th wettest fall on record at Indianapolis. The total rainfall for Indianapolis this fall was 11.55 inches. This was 1.61 inches above the normal fall rainfall total of 9.94 inches.  
 
 
September
 
Rainfall during September was near normal for much of the state, with below to much below normal rainfall in the northeast and southwest portions of Indiana. Monthly rainfall totals ranged from around an inch in southwest and northeast Indiana to over 6 inches in south central and east central Indiana. Most of the state received between 2 to 4 inches of rainfall during September.
 
September was quite dry through late on the 18th especially north of Interstate 70. The passage of a cold front on the 11th brought the first significant rainfall of the month with 1 to 2 inches falling in portions of southern Indiana.
 
The most significant rainfall of the month occurred on the 19th. Much of the state received one-half to nearly 3 inches of rainfall. Precipitation totals in portions of northwest Indiana exceeded 4 inches. This was the largest daily rainfall total at the Indianapolis airport since June 23rd. Another bout of rain quickly followed late on 20th and early on the 21st.   Amounts ranged from one-half of an inch in central Indiana to nearly 2 inches in southeast Indiana. The last rainfall of the month fell on the 29th.   Much of southwest and central Indiana received one-half to slightly over an inch of rain. Overall, rainfall during the last two weeks of September comprised the bulk of the month’s precipitation.
 
The dry spell that began in August continued through September 17th. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor of the 17th, abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions existed in more than 80% of the state.    Rainfall from the 19th through early on the 21st reduced this coverage to less than 60% according to the following week’s U.S Drought Monitor. Rainfall on the 29th provided additional improvement to dry conditions in much of central Indiana. 
 
The U.S. Geological Survey Water Watch indicated normal stream flow for the 7 day period ending September 30th in much of central and southern Indiana. The only areas with below normal stream flow were the Vermilion River and the upper East Fork White River watersheds.   Local reservoirs ranged from one-half to nearly 2 feet below normal levels.
 
 
October
 
October precipitation was normal to above normal for all of Indiana.   Monthly totals ranged from 2½ inches in portions of northwest Indiana to more than 10 inches in southern Indiana.   Most of the state received between 3 to 6 inches of rainfall during October.
 
There were two significant rainfall events during the month. The first occurred on the 5th-6th when central and southern Indiana received 1½ to more than 7 inches of rain. The heaviest rainfall occurred in southern Indiana. This precipitation ended any drought conditions in central and southern Indiana south of I-70.
 
The second big rain event occurred more than three weeks later when the entire state received 1 to more than 4 inches of rainfall from the 29th through the 31st. The largest amounts were in northwest, central and southern Indiana. This rain improved remaining abnormally dry conditions in central and northern Indiana.
 
The autumn season’s first measurable winter precipitation occurred in central Indiana on the 23rd.   Snowfall amounts ranged from a trace to over an inch in east central Indiana. Any accumulated snow melted quickly after sunrise. Small ice pellets and snow also fell during the evening of the 23rd and the day of the 24th in portions of central and south central Indiana.
 
Rivers and streams showed little response to the rainfall on the 5th and 6th, but heavy rainfall during Halloween caused localized flooding and elevated streams levels in west central and central Indiana. All local reservoirs returned to capacity following the end of the month rains.
 
 
November
 
November precipitation was normal to below normal for much of Indiana. Portions of extreme north central and south central Indiana were on the wetter side. Monthly totals ranged from one inch in portions of central Indiana to more than 5 inches in extreme south central Indiana.   Most of the state received between 1.5 to 3 inches of rainfall during November. Almost all of Indiana was on the dry side through the first half of November. Only two small precipitation events occurred during this period. Rainfall of one-half to one inch fell in portions of the state from the 6th through the 7th and the 11th through the 12th. 
 
The largest rainfall event for the state during November was associated with the tornado outbreak of the 17th.   Rainfall prior, during and immediately following the severe storms varied from one quarter of an inch in areas of central Indiana to over 4 inches near the Ohio River in south central Indiana.
 

Snowfall during November was limited to northwest Indiana where totals approached 12 inches on the 11th and 12th and more than 6 inches fell on the 26th and 27th.   Much of central and southern Indiana saw flurries to about an inch of snow in November. Rivers and streams gradually declined through the 16th.   Elevated stream levels occurred in portions of central and east central Indiana after the rains of 16th and 17th.   All local reservoirs remained at capacity during the month.

 

Rainfall Data for Other Sites in Central Indiana
 

Site
Fall 2013 Rainfall
Normal Rainfall
Diff. From Normal
Indianapolis Int’l Arpt.
11.55
9.94
+1.61
Lafayette
8.78
8.52
+0.26
Muncie
9.54
10.83
-1.29
Terre Haute
8.33
9.33
-1.00
Bloomington
10.55
10.82
-0.27
Shelbyville (*)
7.83
10.01
-2.18
Indianapolis – Eagle Creek
10.69
9.06
+1.63

 
(*) Precipitation at Shelbyville was missing from 9/29 through 10/1.

 

 

Major Weather Events
 
Two significant severe weather events impacted central Indiana during the fall of 2013.
 
The first occurred on October 31st across much of central Indiana as a potent storm system moved through the area. A line of showers and thunderstorms moved across the area during the evening, bringing damaging winds. These winds brought down trees and power lines. In addition, heavy rain caused minor flooding issues to parts of the area. For more information, please see the following web page:
 
A significant tornado outbreak impacted the lower Great Lakes and Ohio Valley on the afternoon of November 17, including central Indiana. 15 tornadoes occurred across central Indiana, and 28 total across the Hoosier state, making November 17 the third most active tornado day in the state’s history. November 17 also became the most active tornado day in Indiana for November, nearly doubling the previous daily record of 15 tornadoes from November 22, 1992. For more information on this historic tornado outbreak and its impacts across central Indiana, please visit http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ind/?n=nov172013outbreak
 
For information on severe weather in other areas throughout the fall, visit the Storm Prediction Center “Severe Weather Event Summaries” website at http://www.spc.noaa.gov/climo/online/.
 
 
Winter 2013-2014 Outlook for Central Indiana
 
The official outlook for the 2013-14 winter season (December-February) from the Climate Prediction Center, indicates equal chances for above, near or below normal temperatures and precipitation across central Indiana. At Indianapolis, the average temperature for the winter season is 30.5 degrees, and the average precipitation is 8.15” with 22.0” of snowfall.
 
 
 
 
Data prepared by the NWS Indianapolis Climate Team
Questions should be referred to w-ind.webmaster@noaa.gov
 


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