The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center believes that December in Indiana could break an almost yearlong trend toward above-normal temperatures across most of the state. But that doesn’t mean that if you live in the northern two-thirds of Indiana, you are headed into the deep freezer for the winter.
Instead, Ken Scheeringa, associate state climatologist, says it simply means there are equal chances for normal, above-normal or below-normal temperatures for the month of December as a whole.
The notable exception is the southern third of Indiana. The prediction for those counties continues to favor a somewhat warmer-than-normal temperature pattern through Christmas.
The southern third of the state represents the northernmost edge of a warmer-than-normal prediction that covers about two-thirds of the U.S. The Southwest U.S. stands the best chance of continuing with warmer-than-normal weather trends.
For the northern two-thirds of Indiana, this is a change from the pattern that has existed for months. The warmer-than-normal pattern played out with about twice as many 90 degree F or higher days than normal in many areas. It continued into October and early November, leading to record or near-record late first-frost dates in many areas. Only the extreme northern tier of counties experienced frost risk and actual frost by early to mid-October. And that was still past their normal average date for the first frost in the fall.
So will Hoosiers see much snow in early winter? Chances for precipitation across the state are normal, Scheeringa says. That means there is no indication whether actual precipitation totals will wind up at normal, below normal or above normal for December.
Much of the U.S. will also be up for grabs when it comes to precipitation trends, he notes. The CPC maps don’t indicate clear trends for much of the country.
With normal temperature and normal precipitation outlooks, how much snow Indiana receives could be anybody’s guess. The best bet would be less snow in the south in December, since snowfall totals are typically lower there anyway and warmer than normal temperatures are possible.