Sunshine and gusty winds overcame snow on the ground to elevate the temperature to 51 degrees Tuesday in Indianapolis. This was the warmest day of 2021 and the first 50-degree day since December 27.
The span of 59 days in-between the last and first 50-degree day is among the longest on record (10th longest). On average, the first occurrence of 50° is January 13, with the earliest on record January 1 (several occasions). The latest first 50° day came March 19, 1978. The calendar day when the average high temperature is 50-degrees is still a ways away — that is March 11.
Melting the snow has everything to do with the warm up as the heavier snow depth in north-central Indiana slowed the warm up to only the low/mid 40s Tuesday. The snow cover is fading fast as the nation rebounds from the cold wave. Tuesday morning, the nation’s snow cover had fall to 35% — down nearly 50% from late last week when it topped 73%.
The cold wave took a toll on our mild winter, evening out the number of days above versus those below. Tuesday marked only the third day this month above normal. The cold February erased a temperature surplus entering the month with nearly 60% of the days above normal since December 1. February 2021 may be on the rebound but still stands among the coldest on record to date at 13th coldest.