Spring Summary

Spring 2011 was an amazing season, mostly due to the extreme amount of stormy weather we experienced.

With regards to severe weather, the season began rather quietly with only one severe weather event during March which resulted in scattered hail and wind damage on the 23rd.  Earlier in the month widespread soaking rains brought the Ohio River above flood stage to its highest level in six years at Louisville.  The month ended with a cold snap, which caused light snow to fall on southern Indiana and northern Kentucky from the 26th into the 27th.

April was a different story.  The first wave of severe weather hit the region on the 4th, when half a dozen tornadoes swept across southern Kentucky causing up to EF-1 damage.  The next round hit just five days later when large hail and damaging straight-line winds swept from southern Indiana through Louisville to eastern Kentucky.  The weather remained unsettled during the middle portion of the month, though without any major severe weather.  That would all change during the overnight hours of the 19th and 20th, when a powerful squall line gave southern Indiana and central Kentucky our most prolific tornado outbreak ever recorded.  No less than 25 tornadoes spun through the region in a span of about four hours.  Southern Indiana bore the main brunt of the storms, but fortunately there were no injuries or fatalities despite some of the twisters attaining EF-2 strength. 

The nine days of April 19-27 might have been one of the stormiest periods we have ever seen here in the middle Ohio Valley.  After the historic tornado outbreak on the 19th-20th, tornadoes struck again on the 22nd, 23rd, 26th, and 27th.   April 2011 holds the record for the most tornadoes in any one month, and 2011 already is the most tornadic year on record here.  Straight-line winds also did a great deal of damage, especially in Logan County on the 26th when wind speeds reached 100 mph.  Another result of all the storminess was copious amounts of rainfall resulting in widespread flooding

Exhausted meteorologists got a bit of a break in May, as the stormy pattern weakened.  Of course, there were exceptions, such as on the 10th when super cell thunderstorms erupted over the Blue Grass and dropped baseball sized hail on the Kentucky counties of Harrison, Nicholas, and Bourbon.

An upper level low pressure system settled in to the region during the middle part of the month and brought some very cool weather.  Frankfort set records for cold daily high temperatures three days in a row from the 16th to the 18th with highs only in the lower and middle 50s.

The final severe weather event of the spring took place on the evening of the 25th.  A severe squall line brought tornadoes, up to EF-2 strength, to Dubois, Orange, and Washington Counties in southern Indiana.  Fortunately there were no injuries or fatalities. 

Location Average Temperature Departure from Normal Precipitation Departure from Normal Snowfall Departure from Normal
Bowling Green 59.8° +3.0° 21.62" +7.30" 0 -1.2"
Frankfort 56.1° +3.6° 27.33" +15.01"    
Lexington 56.2° +1.5° 23.84" +10.98" 0.4" -1.8"
Louisville Bowman 58.6°   26.77"      
Louisville Official 59.8° +3.4° 26.95" +13.75" 0.3" -2.0"

At Bowling Green:  9th wettest and 10th warmest spring on record
At Frankfort:  Wettest spring on record, and Frankfort's wettest season on record.
At Lexington:  2nd wettest spring on record.  Spring 2011 was Lexington's 3rd wettest sason ever.
At Louisville:  Wettest and 6th warmest spring on record.  Spring 2011 was Louisville's wettest season ever.

Clark County, Indiana

Clark County, Indiana tornado damage near Charlestown Pike in Jeffersontown on April 20.

Return to News Archive

USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.