From bitter arctic blasts and heavy winter storms to unseasonably warm air, the battle of the seasons is fully underway.
Spring has been in the air on several occasions this winter, one of the mildest and least snowy on record. But as thoughts turn to sunny and warmer days, flowers blooming and nature awakening in Central Indiana, we are also looking ahead to severe weather.
Eleven years ago, the severe weather season started fast. On March 2, 2012, the first killer tornado in the state in years swept across southern Indiana. The Henryville tornado, rated an EF4, reached maximum wind speeds of 175 mph and tracked 47 miles, leaving a path of destruction and, sadly, killing 13.
As winter retreats and spring tries to take hold, powerful storms come to life. Nationwide, tornado production ramps up beginning in March.
The season builds and reaches its peak across the country in May and June.
La Niña conditions have impacted Central Indiana weather for the past three winters, but it is often unclear how our springs are affected. Each of the past two has varied widely.
In 2021, we had little to no severe storms, with not a single tornado warning issued in the months of April and May. The FIRST tornado watch for the city of Indianapolis did not happen until December of that year. This year, completely different! We have had SEVEN tornadoes statewide this year, and we are not even to the midway point of March.
In 2022, the first tornado of the season was in Royal Center in March, and we would go on to have 15 tornadoes in the state. While most of the tornadoes were weak, a tornado in June damaged a volunteer fire department in Shelby County.
Spring 2023 severe weather outlook in Indiana
Spring looks to continue to favor above-normal temperatures and wetter-than-average conditions, a continuation of our winter pattern. That leads us to believe that this spring will LIKEY be a very active one.
With the recent chilly weather taking hold in weeks two and three of March, severe storm production will likely be minimal in early spring. However, we expect some powerful southwest storm systems to spread north into the Midwest from mid-April through May. These storms are not limited to just tornadoes. There is a growing concern that flooding and flash flooding could be very prominent this spring and into early summer.