Very rare cold October afternoon, warming up for the weekend and storm threat for Halloween

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The afternoon high temperature in Indianapolis on Thursday only reached 40°, the coldest afternoon here since April 20th and a temperature more typical of December 10th.  How rare  is it for an October day to be this cool?  Very.  A 76-year-old record was broken for the coolest afternoon ever for the 24th of October – the previous record was set in 1937 at 41°.  The afternoon temperate was off the average by a whopping 22 degrees, it was the coolest October afternoon here in 20 years and what is really stunning – this marked only the 32nd October afternoon that the high temperature was 40 degrees or colder!  A span of 142 years only 23 October’s have produced as cold as an afternoon (16%).

October Cold


Why so cold here?  Look at this massive storm off the coast of Alaska in the image below.  The storm was off the coast of Japan 8 days ago (when our cold pattern started) blasting 50 to 70 mph wind gusts from Anchorage through the Aleutians.  Warm air in front of the storm ran north along the west coast of the continent and dislodged cold air – dumping it into the eastern U.S.  Frost and freeze advisories extend into the deep south tonight in 4 states: MS, AL, GA and SC.

Full Disk Satellite
Big storm drives cold here


Developed late morning under the “heating ” of the day.  The strong October sun peeked late morning and was enough to turn on instability rain and snow showers by lunchtime.  Warming by the October sun in combination with the unseasonably cold air developed rain and snow (diurnal driven) showers.  For most areas it was the first snow of the season but second straight day with reported snow in the city.  Wednesday morning snow fell in the early morning hours; the occasional snow showers Thursday drifted south and east and diminished shortly after 7 PM.

Snow Covered cars at lunchtime Thursday


A freeze warning is in effect through Friday morning.  Clouds may linger long enough to prevent the mercury from really crashing tonight but currently we believe the low in the city could reach 28° – a hard freeze.  Outlying areas will likely be colder and where the clearing occurs (northwest) lows could dip into the lower or middle 20s.


Friday afternoon will reach the upper 40s with more sunshine and a stiffening southwest breeze.  The warming will continue into Saturday with stronger southwest winds blowing ahead of an approaching wind shift front late in the day.  Saturday afternoon could reach near 60° with a cooler afternoon expected Sunday.  Friday through Monday is expected to remain dry.


The storm is still in the incubation stage of the forecast and plenty needs to be resolved and will be over the nest few days.  Today the long-range forecast hints at a 2 parts storm with the main event arriving Thursday night.  Signals of a powerful wind machine and possibly one or more squall lines is still in the works and being monitored closely.

Halloween Storm ECWRF Oct 31 #2
Autumn storm brews for Halloween

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