December 2013 Climate Summary

Central Indiana
December 2013
Climate Summary
Tied for 46th Coolest on record at Indianapolis
26th Wettest on record at Indianapolis
24th Snowiest on record at Indianapolis

 

 Temperatures

December started off mild with many locations reaching their monthly highs on the 4th as temperatures rose into the lower and middle 60s ahead of an approaching cold front. Much colder air came into Indiana once the front passed through, with temperatures tumbling into the 30s on the 5th, then into the 20s that night. With the first accumulating snow of the season on the night of the 5th into the 6th, temperatures remained cold with highs only in the 20s and lower 30s for most of the region for much of the next 7 to 10 days. A brief warmup ahead of a storm system on the 13th enabled the southern half of central Indiana to warm into the upper 30s to near 40. Lows throughout the middle of the month were quite chilly as well, often dropping to below 20 degrees each night. The coldest nights during this stretch took place on the 11th and 12th as strong high pressure brought clear skies and light winds. Combined with the snow on the ground, lows fell into the single digits with a few locations even falling below zero.
A warming trend commenced on the 18th, with much of central Indiana rising into the 50s from the 19th through the 21st as a frontal boundary became stalled across the Ohio Valley and southwest flow aloft brought mild air into the region. Locations across southern portions of central Indiana warmed into the 60s for a brief period during the afternoon and evening of the 21st and early morning of the 22nd as the front lifted back north in response to low pressure tracking through the region. Much colder Arctic air once again made a return as the front pushed away to the east on the 22nd, culminating with the coldest daytime temps of the month on Christmas Eve as many locations remained below 20 degrees. High pressure and southerly winds brought warming once again in the few days after Christmas, with highs reaching the lower and middle 50s on the afternoon of the 28th. The passage of a cold front brought colder temperatures once again for the last couple days of the month.

 

Site
December 2013     Avg Temp
December 2013 Difference from Normal
Highest
Temperature
Lowest Temperature
Indianapolis
29.9
-1.7
61 on 4
2 on 12
Lafayette
27.3
-3.1
61 on 4
0 on 12
Muncie
29.6
-1.1
62 on 4
2 on 12
Terre Haute
29.8
-1.8
65 on 4
-1 on 12
Bloomington
32.3
+0.1
65 on 4
-4 on 12
Shelbyville
32.1
+0.3
63 on 22
-1 on 12
Indy – Eagle Crk.
30.0
-1.7
62 on 4
2 on 12

 
At Indianapolis, there were 12 days with above normal average temperatures, 18 days with below normal average temperatures and 1 day with average temperatures.
 

December 2013 was tied for the 46th coolest in the Indianapolis area since weather records began in 1871.

 

 

Precipitation

December precipitation was normal to above normal for all of Indiana. Liquid precipitation totals ranged from slightly less than 2 inches in northwest Indiana to more than 8 inches in southern Indiana. The heaviest precipitation fell south of a Terre Haute to Portland line. Most of the state received between 3 to 7 inches of liquid precipitation during December.
There were two different precipitation regimes in December. From the 5th through the 11th snow was the dominate form of precipitation. The second precipitation regime was all rain. Heavy rain of 2 to nearly 7 inches fell south of a line from Clinton to Fort Wayne on the 20th and 21st. The largest amounts of 5 to 7 inches were concentrated in southwest, central and east central Indiana. Indianapolis set daily records for precipitation on the 20th and 21st, with the 21st becoming the second wettest day in December history, being eclipsed only by the 3.46 inches of precipitation that fell on December 3, 1871.
Widespread flooding quickly followed beginning late on the 21st and continued into the New Year in southwest Indiana. Near major flooding occurred in the upper headwaters of the White and East Fork White River Basins affecting the eastern and southern portions of the Indianapolis metropolitan area. In a few areas flooding was the highest in 10 to 20 years with the level on Fall Creek near Fortville the highest in 100 years.
River flooding along the East Fork White River and the White River in southwest Indiana was the highest since April-May 2011 while levels on the White River from Indianapolis to Edwardsport were the highest since April. Only elevated levels to minor flooding occurred along the Wabash River from Lafayette to Vincennes with extensive lowland flooding in the Mt. Carmel, Illinois and New Harmony, Indiana areas. Flooding was confined to southwest Indiana at the close of the month. 

 

 

Site
December 2013 Precipitation
December 2013 Difference from Normal
Wettest Day
Longest Dry Stretch
Indianapolis
4.44
 +1.27
2.57 on 21
 2 days 18-19 and 27-28
Lafayette
2.58
 +0.07
1.71 on 21
 2 days 3-4, 6-7 and 27-28
Muncie
4.66
 +1.78
3.33 on 21
 4 days 25-28
Terre Haute
3.65
 +0.60
2.29 on 21
 4 days 25-28
Bloomington
6.74
 +3.20
4.82 on 21
 4 days 25-28
Shelbyville
5.88
 +2.61
3.75 on 21
 4 days 25-28
Indy – Eagle Crk.
3.50
 +0.42
2.31 on 21
 4 days 25-28

                           
December 2013 was tied for the 26th wettest in the Indianapolis area since weather records began in 1871.
 
 

 

 

Snowfall
 
From the 5th through the 11th, several rounds of snow fell across Indiana, highlighted by the snow storm on December 5-6 that impacted primarily the southern half of the Hoosier state. A broad swath of 4 to 6 inches fell along and south of Interstate 70, with greater than 8 inches from Bloomington and Bedford southwest through Jasper and Vincennes. Some areas in Knox County received around a foot of snow from this storm. Additional light snow events occurred through the 11th. Little or no snow fell in northern Indiana during this period. 
On the 13th and the 14th, another storm brought all snow to northern Indiana with some areas receiving more than 6 inches. In central Indiana, snow was mixed with rain while all rain fell in southern Indiana. Many locations across central Indiana had snow on the ground for up to two weeks, with the snow cover rapidly melting as temperatures warmed and rain fell ahead of the significant heavy rain and flooding that occurred on the 20th and 21st.
For the month, snowfall ranged from 4 to 8 inches in central Indiana to more than 14 inches in south central and northwest Indiana.

 

Severe Weather
 
No severe weather occurred across central Indiana during the month of December. The northern end of a line of thunderstorms that produced severe weather in Kentucky and far southern Indiana quickly moved across Jackson and Jennings Counties on the evening of the 21st, producing strong wind gusts.
 

For information on severe weather in other areas during December, visit the Storm Prediction Center “Severe Weather Event Summaries” website at http://www.spc.noaa.gov/climo/online/.

 

Miscellaneous
 
The maximum wind gust at Indianapolis International Airport was 36 mph out of the southwest on the 20th. Fog or haze was reported at Indianapolis on 20 days during the month, with dense fog reported on three days. Freezing rain or drizzle occurred on six days during the month, with thunder reported on the 21st.

 

January 2014 Outlook
 
The official outlook for January 2014 from the Climate Prediction Center indicates a greater chance for below normal temperatures across central Indiana. At Indianapolis, the average temperature for the month is 28.1 degrees. There is an equal chance of near, above or below normal precipitation for central Indiana.  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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