The climate of Indiana
experiences a humid continental type of climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa, Dfb) in the northern and central regions of the state and a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) in the south. Hot summers and cold winters are typical, with a gradual increase in warmth in the southern regions. Indiana lies in the Midwestern and Great Lakes region of North America. Ohio in the west, Kentucky in the south and southeast, Illinois in the west, Lake Michigan in the northwest, and Michigan in the north, border the state. Location in the continent, scarcity of high mountain ranges, and the Gulf of Mexico are major players that influence the climate.
Indiana, the Hoosier State, has an average elevation of 210 meters above sea level, with the highest point at Hoosier Hill at 383 meters. The topography mainly consists of flat plains in the northern two-thirds, and hills, caves, ridges, and waterfalls in the south. Indiana comprises of two natural regions: the Central Lowlands and the Interior Low Plateaus of the United States. Along the Lake Michigan shoreline, there are sand ridges and dunes in the northwest. The central region is mainly flat, and the soil is favorable for agriculture. The Hoosier National Forest and much of southcentral Indiana has rugged, hilly terrain.
Indiana has strongly marked seasons with an invigorating climate. Summers are hot, humid, and wet. High temperatures pass the 100°F (37.8°C) mark at the peak of the summer in July
, and the humidity becomes oppressive. Winters are cold and bitter, with night temperatures below 15°F (-9.4°C) in the north during the trough of January
. Cold air masses from the polar areas move southward, and hot air from the tropics moves northward to produce frequent weather changes in the winter. Spring is an active season for tornadoes and thunderstorms as the weather changes from cold to hot. Autumn has mostly sunny skies and pleasant temperatures with low humidity. Lake Michigan has a prominent effect on the climate of northern Indiana in all seasons.
Indiana registers an average of 42" (1067mm) of rainfall annually, increasing from north to south, and a significant uptick during the summer compared to the rest of the year. Snowfall ranges from 14" (356mm) in the southwest to 76" (1930mm) in the northcentral snow belt near Lake Michigan. The snow season typically begins by mid-November
and lasts till mid-April
, depending upon latitude and altitude of the region. The Great Lakes region is the cloudiest in the state, while autumn is the sunniest season and winter the cloudiest. The average annual sunshine lasts for 2400 hours, with 190 to 200 days when the cloud cover is less than 40% of the sky during daylight hours.
The record high temperature for Indiana is 116°F (46.7°C), set in Collegeville on July 14, 1936, while the lowest recorded temperature is -36°F (-37.8°C), set in New Whiteland on January 19, 1994.
The best time to visit Indiana
The best time to visit Indiana
is in the autumn season from September
when the temperatures are pleasant, and the skies are clear. The sunny days register temperatures in the 65°F (18.3°C) to 85°F (29.4°C) zone, while the nights are in the range of 40°F (4.4°C) to 60°F (15.6°C).
The rainfall ceases significantly from the high of summer and is light to moderate. Storm activity eases considerably by the end of September, and the season is the most colorful time of the year. Summers are hot and humid in Indiana and the time of peak tourist activity. Fall trips are more economical than in the summer.
The worst time to visit Indiana
The worst time to visit Indiana
is from December
when the state lies in the grip of severe cold weather. Low temperatures often drop to extremes that can reach 0°F (-17.8°C) as strong wind speeds keep the conditions chilly. Polar air masses frequently invade the northern regions and even affect the south to a degree.
Snowstorms are frequent in the winter, with a vast accumulation of snow within a short period. Northern Indiana is the snowiest region due to the presence of lake effect snow in the Lake Michigan area. However, prolonged spells are rare in the state.
is vulnerable to thunderstorms, tornadoes, floods, and droughts in spring and summer. Floods occur every year with the highest frequency during the spring due to heavy rainfall and melting of snow. Indiana is not part of the Tornado Alley of the United States, yet reports an average of 23 tornadoes in the year, with the most during the spring. Wind speeds over 100mph (160.9km/h) are responsible for damage to life and property during severe storms. Thunderstorms occur with alarming frequency, while hailstorms occasionally occur in the summer. Snowstorms are frequent in the winter, especially in the northern region.
Weather in January
is usually the coldest month of the year in Indiana
when the temperatures drop in the frigid zone. The average temperatures in Indianapolis, the capital in the central region, are between 21°F (-6.1°C) to 36°F (2.2°C), while they range in the cold 15°F (-9.4°C) to 44°F (6.7°C) range statewide. The rainfall amounts to less than 3" (76mm) as ice and snow replace it as a form of precipitation. Weather in January »
Weather in February
is the driest month of the year in Indiana
as the average rainfall drops below 2.5" (64mm) in the state. Lake effect snow is prominent in northwest Indiana in the proximity of Lake Michigan. February snowfall is in the range of 8" (203mm) to 12" (305mm), with one of the highest numbers in South Bend at 15" (381mm). Weather in February »
Weather in March
transitions to the beautiful spring season in Indiana
, and sees a steady rise in temperatures and sunshine. The average temperatures in the north are between 25°F (-3.9°C) to 48°F (8.9°C), while the central region register between 29°F (-1.7°C) to 54°F (12.2°C) and the southern in the 30°F (-1.1°C) to 61°F (16.1°C) range. A slight uptick sees rainfall in the 3" (76mm) to 4" (102mm) range in the majority of the regions. Weather in March »
Weather in April
is a warm and wet month in Indiana
, with 3" (76mm) to 5" (127mm) of rain in the middle of the spring season. The prairie wears a blanket of greenery as the snow cover disappears from the landscape. Apart from light snow in the northern regions, the majority of the state is free from snow. Weather in April »
Weather in May
is the wettest month of the year in Indiana
and the period that sees the highest number of storms. The precipitation is to the tune of 4" (102mm) to 6" (152mm), and the southern parts tend to be wetter than the northern ones. There is no shortage of warmth, with the daily sunshine lasting at least for 8 hours. The average day temperatures are in the beautiful 69°F (20.6°C) to 81°F (27.2°C) range, while the nights are comfortable between 47°F (8.3°C) to 58°F (14.4°C). Weather in May »
Weather in June
begins the summer season in Indiana
as the sun takes charge of the weather. The longest days of the year bring bright sunshine in their tow as the heat and humidity become oppressive. The average high temperatures are in the warm 78°F (25.6°C) to 85°F (29.4°C) range, while average low temperatures hover between 57°F (13.9°C) to 67°F (19.4°C). Thunderstorms bring the majority of the 4" (102mm) of rainfall, and tornadoes remain active. Weather in June »
Weather in July
is by far the hottest month of the year in Indiana
, but extreme temperatures are uncommon. The average high temperatures in the state are between 82°F (27.8°C) to 92°F (33.3°C), and the average low temperatures are in the warm range of 61°F (16.1°C) to 70°F (21.1°C). Weather in July »
Weather in August
is hot and humid month in Indiana
, with the temperatures stuck at the high end of the range. Day temperatures are between 80°F (26.7°C) to 91°F (32.8°C), while nights are relatively mild in the 59°F (15°C) to 69°F (20.6°C). The relative humidity is lower in the south than in the north, but the south often faces the combination of high temperature and high humidity that make the heat oppressive. Weather in August »
Weather in September
brings pleasant weather to Indiana
as the mild autumn season arrives in the state. The summer rains recede to register 2" (51mm) to 3" (76mm) by early fall, with a significant reduction in storms. The sun adorns the skies for at least 21 days, with daily sunshine of 7 to 8 hours. Weather in September »
Weather in October
is temperate in Indiana
and the period of peak fall foliage. The woods are colorful, and the lake shores offer beautiful views of the foliage. Local orchards are full of ripe apples, and abundant pumpkin patches dot the lands. Weather in October »
Weather in November
sees the fall season on its last legs in Indiana
as the temperatures drop significantly. The average temperatures are between 30°F (-1.1°C) to 60°F (15.6°C), with the nights below freezing in many parts of northern Indiana. The first snowflakes of the season arrive, with a slight uptick in precipitation. Weather in November »
Weather in December
is severely cold in Indiana
with the average low temperatures in the cold 34°F (1.1°C) to 48°F (8.9°C) range and the average low temperatures in the freezing 20°F (-6.7°C) to 30°F (-1.1°C) range. Temperature varies between different parts of the state and with altitude. Weather in December »