News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 26, 2013

Snowy Spring

Vigo gets 5 inches; Vermillion, Parke hit with 7 to 9 inches

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Winter brought perhaps its last gasp to the Wabash Valley on Monday, as temperatures are expected to reach back to near normal by week’s end, rising to 50 degrees.

Still, Terre Haute is about 6 degrees below normal for the month of March. “Temperatures will warm up at the end of the week, but it will still be about a 6-degree, if not higher, temperature deficit,” said Mike Ryan, meteorologist for the National Weather Service at Indianapolis.

“The normal high for this time of year is 57 degrees,” he said.

Spring was not obvious in the Wabash Valley on Sunday and Monday after a winter blast left 3 inches of snowfall in Terre Haute and 5 inches in parts of Vigo County, while areas in Vermillion and Parke counties had 7 to 9 inches, with more than 10 inches reported in Bloomingdale, Ryan said.

By 9 a.m. Monday, there were 8 inches of snow at the Indianapolis International Airport, of which 6.2 inches fell on Sunday. That set a record for March 24. The total accumulation, at 9 inches by Monday afternoon, set a record for the most snow accumulation this late in the year, Ryan said.

“From March 24th going forward, we have not seen this much snow from a snowstorm in all the records we have looked at,” Ryan said. The previous record for March 24 was set in 1912, when Indianapolis got about 6 inches of snow.

“It is not uncommon to see snow into late March and even into early April. However, it is usually not to this extent,” Ryan said. “Our annual average for snowfall for Indianapolis and Terre Haute is just under 26 inches, but Indianapolis had 33.3 inches of snow by early Monday, so it is the 18th snowiest for the annual average” in Indianapolis, Ryan said.

The snow total for St. Louis, Mo., on Sunday was 12.4 inches, breaking the city's old record of 12.1 inches set in 1912, according to Mike Pigott, senior meteorologist for AccuWeather.com. Lincoln, Ill., broke its daily snow total of 4 inches, which was set in 1947, with 10.8 inches of snow on Sunday, according to AccuWeather.

No snow is forecast for today, with mostly cloudy conditions and the temperature forecast to reach a high of 38 degrees in Terre Haute, reaching to 45 degrees by Thursday and up to 50 degrees Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

The forecast for April and May is expected to be at or below normal temperatures. “With such a cold start to the spring, I think we will have temperatures be near normal or below normal,” Ryan said.

“I am not saying we will be cool all spring. I think there is a chance for greater wetter than normal conditions,” Ryan said. That’s because of storm activity the past five weeks, with sleet and freezing rain in late February, plus a snow storm in early March and early this week, Ryan said.

“We think there is a greater likelihood for greater wet conditions through May, which will be a change from what we saw last year,” Ryan said. March last year had days higher than 80 degrees in Terre Haute. May and June are typically two of the wetter months. but “last year [they] were two of our drier months and that led into the drought conditions and excessive heat we had,” he said.

“When we get to the end of May, we may find this year being a much more normal spring, albeit much wetter,” Ryan said.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com.