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The 2012-2013 Winter Takes Its Place in History

The 2012-2013 Winter Takes Its Place in History
Despite the big post-Christmas snowfall, totals were on the light side.

Did the dry summer connect in any way with snowfall totals during the winter? There is perhaps no way to know. All you can do is look at history.

After examining the winters following the dry years of 1991, 1988, 1983, 1951, 1936 and 1934, snowfall for Dec 1 through Feb. 28 at Indianapolis in each of those winters was below normal, sometimes barely, sometimes by a lot. The same was true at South Bend, except for 1984, when South Bend received 83 inches. For Evansville, two years were higher, and two lower, and no data was available for 1935 and 1937.

Light on snow: The actual three winter months were slightly below normal except in southwest Indiana.

This year, following one of the hottest, driest summers on record, snowfall totals through the three-month period that ag climatologists count as winter wound up about three inches below normal at Indianapolis, several inches below normal at South Bend, and just a few inches above normal at Evansville. Nearly all of Evansville's snow came in the after-Christmas snow event. The area received hardly any snow in January and February, totaling less than two inches for both months combined this year.

Snowfall this winter is far from record setting, either on the low or high side. At Indianapolis, for example, the all-time low ever recorded was 2.9 inches in 1972. Only 3.9 inches fell in 1997. At Evansville, the lowest actually came in 2011, at 0.4 inches. South Bend also recorded only 14.7 inches that year.

On the high side, Indianapolis received 51 inches in 1981, followed by 49.7 inches in 1977. Evansville saw 27.8 inches in 1977 and 28.5 in 1976. Believe it or not, the 83 inches South Bend received in 1984 didn't even make the top five for snowfall. The most ever recorded was 136.3 inches, nearly 12 feet, in 1977. More than 100 inches fell in both 1976 and 1985.

Records for these snow totals go back to 1947.

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