Rare warmth for December drives new severe weather outbreak out west; Rain and falling temperatures Thursday


The calendar says mid-December but the temperatures are at mid-October levels and we were in very rare air. It was the warmest December 15th in forty-six years and we are not quite done with the warmth yet.

What a month, it has already been a December to remember as eleven of the first fifteen days have reached or surpassed 50°. Wednesday the high temperature of 63° was the warmest for the date since 1975 and only the 7th time on record to reach or surpass 60° for the date. Even more stunning, this month has produced six 60-degree days in the opening fifteen days, a new record. At no time in the past 150 years of weather records has the city of Indianapolis had some may days this mild. Most recent, 1998 with five.

Meteorological winter is now ranked 7th warmest to-date and the warmest since 2016 with an average temperature of 43°. Thirteen of the first fifteen have been ‘above’ normal, that’s 86%. Only two days this month have averaged sub-normal, December 7th and 8th.


You will have time to enjoy the mild air for several more hours and even to open the day Thursday but showers and even a few storms are possible as a cold front sweeps east. Rainfall coverage will reach its peak at nearly 60% by mid morning and move east by early afternoon. While a few t-storms are possible we are not expecting severe storms.

Late Wednesday the same storm that elevated our temperatures here is producing another severe weather outbreak in areas of the country that were recently blanketed under several inches of snow. This low will take a more northerly track that the one entering last weekend and has already produced multiple reports of tornadoes and damaging wind gusts exceeding 80 mph. Currently there is a risk of severe storms from central-northern Wisconsin to northeast Oklahoma. At the time of this post nearly the entire state of Iowa was under a tornado watch.

Temperatures are set to cool in the wake of the passing cold front Thursday afternoon and a extended spell of more seasonal air is expected. A new system will arrive here to open the weekend with a cold rain to fall early Saturday morning but the weekend will close with sunshine. Brighter skies are expected for much of the early half of the week and chances for a white Christmas still look bleak, however as eluded to yesterday, off overnight long-range computer models, the presence of a “clipper-low” late week offers the slimmest of chances for possible snow around the holiday. It’s a small feature at this distance but one we can at least latch on to for some hope. Stay tuned, we will follow it closely.

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