INDIANAPOLIS - With six weeks still left in spring and rain in the forecast for the next several days, long range forecasts are calling for above average temperatures this summer in central Indiana.
But predictions for rainfall during the summer months are still unclear.
“The folks at the Climate Prediction Center are predicting better chances for above normal temperatures and equal chances as far as precipitation,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Jason Puma.
Puma says the “equal chances” rainfall prediction means there is a 33 percent chance of more, less, or normal rainfall this summer. It could go either way.
Rainfall amounts in the next several weeks could be a key factor in determining how this summer will turn out compared to the oppressively hot and dry summer of 2012. That year, 90 degree temperatures had arrived by Memorial Day weekend. June saw a 104-degree day, and July saw two 105-degree days in a row.
The summer was set up by below-average rainfall in May and June.
“That dried up the soil, dried up the area,” Puma said. “And that allowed warm air to build across the area for much of the summer and that led to that record warmth.”
Ashlee Fujawa, at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, says youth teams and contractors went out to water 11,000 trees around Indianapolis by hand.
“So it’s 5 gallon buckets and each tree gets at least 15 gallons,” Fujawa said. “So it’s at least three buckets of water just to give a tree a drink.”
Keep Indianapolis Beautiful has already hired their summer youth watering teams for 2016.
“If so, we’re prepared that we’ll have to come out in full force and water even extra again,” Fujawa said.
Although race teams and fans always hope for a dry end of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Puma says any rain that falls through May and June will help to ward off a repeat of 2012 conditions.
“The more rain you have the cooler the temperatures are going to be,” Puma said. “Because it takes water, or moisture a little bit longer to heat up then dry air.”
Predictions of above-average temperatures doesn’t necessarily mean Hoosiers should expect consecutive days of 95-to-100 weather this summer. The average temperature through summer in central Indiana is 86 degrees. The Climate Prediction Center’s forecast means more days than normal will be above that 86 degree mark.