Central Indiana enjoys 2nd warmest fall

Sunday, December 11, 2016

With the month of December under way, we mark the conclusion of meteorological fall and welcome meteorological winter. Temperatures remained above average throughout much of the fall, producing one of the warmest falls on record in Central Indiana.

Overall, fall 2016 saw average temperatures above normal by 3-6 degrees. Most of central Indiana ended up drier than normal, largely due to a dry October and November that saw only sporadic precipitation fall until the second half of November.

Most of central Indiana experienced its first flurries in late November with some locations from Kokomo to Muncie seeing a brief coating of snow.

Temperature-wise, 2016 was the second warmest fall ever at Indianapolis with an average temperature of 60 degrees, 4.8 degrees above the normal fall average temperature of 55.2. Only the fall of 1931 was warmer with an average temperature of 61.3.

September was highlighted by an extended stretch of very warm temperatures beginning Sept. 16 and lasting into the final weekend of the month. High temperatures were consistently in the middle and upper 80s most days through the 25th with even a few spots warming into the low 90s from Sept. 21-23.

Most locations in central Indiana finished up September 3-6 degrees above normal. For Indianapolis, September 2016 was the warmest September since 2007.

The warm fall season continued into October for central Indiana with temperatures generally averaging 5-8 degrees above normal. Highs rose during the first week of the month into the mid and upper 70s before peaking in the mid 80s on Oct. 6-7.

After a brief cooldown to near normal levels over the Columbus Day weekend, temperatures returned into the mid and upper 70s. A cold front that brought the heaviest rainfall for most of the area for the entire month passed late on the 19th and early on the 20th, with the coolest daytime highs of October in the 50s in the few days that followed. It was then that most of central Indiana saw the coldest overnight lows, with widespread 30s on the morning of the 22nd.

November began unseasonably warm with highs in the upper 70s and lower 80s on Nov. 1 and 2. The high of 79 in Indianapolis on the first was only the third day in recorded history with a temperature of 79 or warmer in November.

Beginning on Nov. 8 and continuing into the middle of the month, temperatures fell closer to near seasonable levels but remained slightly above normal overall with highs in the 50s. With mainly dry weather and light winds at night, central Indiana finally experienced widespread frost and the first hard freeze of the season with lows falling into the middle 20s in most areas on the mornings of Nov. 12-13.

Yet another surge of late-season warmth commenced on the 15th and continued through the 18th with highs peaking in the mid and upper 70s on Nov. 17-18. The high of 75 in Indianapolis on the 18th marked the warmest temperature so late in the year since the high of 75 on Nov. 20, 1942.

Overall 2016 was tied for the 58th wettest fall on record at Indianapolis. The total rainfall for Indianapolis this fall was 9.4 inches, 0.54 inches below the normal fall rainfall total of 9.94 inches.

Precipitation frequency decreased in Indiana during September. Much of the state received little rainfall from Sept. 1-7 and from Sept. 11-15. Indiana remained virtually rain-free from the 18th through the 24th. Rainfall of two inches or more occurred Sept. 8-10, the 16- 17, 26-30. The biggest event was from the 8th through the 10th when in less than three days a small portion of southeast Indiana received more than six inches of rainfall.

October rainfall was below normal to normal for much of Indiana. The driest spot was near the Ohio River in Warrick County where only

one-tenth of an inch fell and the wettest locations were in Lake County where nearly 5.5 inches fell. Much of central Indiana received 2 to 4 inches.

The largest rain event of October occurred from the evening of the 19th through the morning of the 21st. Rainfall of 1 to 5 inches fell in much central and southern Indiana. The heaviest rainfall of 3 to 5 inches fell in portions of west-central and southern Indiana, along and north of U.S. Highway 50 and south of Interstate 70. This rain ended the driest start to October in 63 years for south-central Indiana.

November rainfall was near normal to below normal for almost all of Indiana. Only a few locations in northern and west-central Indiana received above normal precipitation during the month.

Most of the rainfall during November fell on three days -- the 18th, the 23rd and the 28th. Precipitation totaled 1 to 4 inches from the 18th through the 28th. Prior to the 18th, much of the state received less than one-half inch of rain.

Abnormally dry conditions that began in southern Indiana during October expanded in November. Abnormally dry to severe drought conditions developed by the 22nd in more than half of the state because of little rainfall. The driest area was in southern Indiana where moderate to severe drought conditions prevailed.

Meanwhile, the official outlook for the 2016-17 winter season (December-February) from the Climate Prediction Center, indicates greater chances for near to slightly below normal temperatures across central Indiana.

At Indianapolis, the average temperature for the winter season is 30.5 degrees. The outlook also calls for a greater chance of above normal precipitation. The average precipitation is 8.15 inches with 22 inches of snowfall.

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