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Taking a look at the winter weather extremes in central Indiana

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Posted at 5:30 AM, Nov 12, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — Winter is inescapable here in Indiana. It's also unpredictable and that's why we're working for you to prepare you for all that winter could bring — the good, the bad and the bumpy.

The first snow of the season was spookier than usual. It fell on Halloween night. Of course, we should get a lot more snow as the season moves forward. But, it's not just snow. When it comes to winter in the Hoosier state, you might as well throw a dart and see where it lands.

One possibility — tornadoes. They do occur in the winter months. Most recently, severe weather produced a tornado in February of this year and two tornadoes in February of 2014.

Snow is certainly far more likely than severe storms though.

The earliest measurable snowfall ever recorded in Indianapolis occurred on Oct. 18, 1989 and the latest ever arrived May 9, 1923.

Indianapolis has had nearly snowless winters. In 1931-31, we only hand .20 inches of snow. More recently, in 1997-98, we only had 3.9 inches of snow in Indianapolis.

We've had relentless winters. Over 52 inches of snow fell during 2013-14. Just under a foot blanketed Indianapolis on Jan. 5, 2014 followed by temperatures at 15 below zero.

Memories of the Blizzard of 1978 are also frozen in Hoosiers minds.

The first ever blizzard warning for the entire state was issued just before 4 p.m. on Jan. 25, 1978. Over the next 30 hours, the storm produced wind gusts over 50 mph, temps hovering around zero, nearly 16 inches of snow and drifts measured in feet. The state was brought to a standstill.

It is also possible to have large flucuations in temperatures. In January 2019, temperatures were as warm as 56 degrees and as cold as 11 below zero. Those extremes lead to potholes — lots of them.

The all-time coldest temperatures settled into central Indiana on Jan. 19, 1994. The record-shattering temperature in Indianapolis plunged to 27 below zero. New Whiteland in Johnson County hit rock bottom as 36 below zero.

You know the saying, 'records are made to be broken.' We'll see if we rewrite history in the next few months.