Hot or cold, wet or dry, weather stays in headlines

Friday, September 7, 2012

Weather continues to stick to state and local headlines like Hoosier humidity.

While 2012 will likely go down as "The Year of the Drought" in Indiana, other weather stories continue to evolve and interesting notes seem to be produced with each front that passes through Putnam County.

For example, did you realize that we had more rain between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday (approximately 2.5 inches) than we did over the entire combined 61 days of June and July (0.62 inches)?

While the National Weather Service had most of Putnam County and the Greencastle area in the 2.5-3.0-inch range over the Labor Day weekend, Diana Foust, who keeps daily precipitation records locally, reported 2.36 inches of rain in her gauge when she returned from a long weekend away.

"I'm not sure when the rain fell," she said, "I'd been gone since Thursday."

The rest of us can assure her, most of that fell in that five-hour period on Sunday morning and afternoon.

Heading into Wednesday, the Indianapolis year-to-date rainfall deficit was listed at 5.31 inches. In Putnam County, it is closer to 7.5.

August totals have been released by the National Weather Service, and 2012 ranks as the eighth wettest August of all time in Indiana.

There was dramatic change in the rainfall pattern from July to August. Some very dry areas of west-central Indiana received more than 10 inches of rainfall (Greencastle had an unofficial 7.51 inches) during August, while areas of south central Indiana that received more than eight inches in July turned much drier and received slightly over an inch of rainfall.

The wet areas during August included much of central, northern and southwest Indiana. Many locations in these areas received 3-8 inches of rainfall during a month that average 3.13 inches.

Rain occurred numerous times during August, but a real coverage was never widespread. Drought conditions improved in most sections of central and northern Indiana and remained nearly the same or became worse in southern Indiana.

Although local reservoirs remained below capacity, stream flow returned to normal in several areas of central Indiana, especially in the Indianapolis area. Near to record-low levels continued in the East Fork White River Basin of east central and southern Indiana.

The previous pattern of hot days continued for the first several days in August, with temperatures in the 90s. Some locations even reached 100 degrees. Terre Haute reached 100 on Aug. 2 and 8. At Indianapolis, the high temperature of 98 degrees on Aug. 8 tied the record for the date.

The string of consecutive 80-degree or higher maximum temperatures at Indianapolis was broken on Aug. 10, when the high only reached 77 degrees. The string of 64 days that began on June 7 is the second longest stretch of consecutive 80 degree or higher maximum temperatures for Indianapolis, second only to the 86-day stretch in 2002.

Normal to above normal temperatures returned for the last third of the month, with highs in the 80s and 90s.

The 90 degrees or higher days break down as follows: May, three days; June, 12; July, 28 days; August, 8 days; September, 1, for a total of 52. The record is 58 set in 1983.

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