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The history of snow in Indianapolis, IN

You just never know what mother nature is going to give us in Indy — so we’re taking a look at some of the biggest snowfalls in Indy history.

Aerial view of downtown Indianapolis with snowfall

Even if you’re not a fan of snow, it still brings a beautiful sight in Indianapolis.

Photo by @aaron.creates

You just never know what Mother Nature is going to give us in Indy. This winter hasn’t been too bad as far as snow, so we’re taking a look at some of the biggest snowfalls in Indy history.

Did you know January is usually the coldest month of the year in Indiana? Historically, when temperatures drop in the frigid zone, January is also the snowiest month of the year with as much as 10 ft in the northern part of the state.

Raise your hand if you remember Indianapolis’ blizzard of 1978.

A snow-covered car in a parking lot in Michigan City, IN

This January in northern Indiana, cars were found buried in accumulated snow.

ICYMI, here’s what happened: On Jan. 26, 1978, Hoosiers woke up to a blizzard and wind chills that plummeted to -51°F. Strong, gusty winds lasted for nearly two days, creating snowdrifts as deep as 10 ft. The total January snowfall hit 30.6 inches that year — setting a monthly record for Indianapolis.

While the three-day snow emergency did bring its fair share of grief like an influx of ill and injured folks + stranded motorists, it’s certain that Hoosiers also celebrated a surge of civic pride as residents reflected upon stories of personal sacrifice and acts of goodwill.

Here are some more snowtable fast facts about Indy’s relationship with snow days:

❄️ Other heavy snowfalls Indianapolis experienced:

  • 12.1 inches on March 19, 1906
  • 11.4 inches on Jan. 5, 2014

❄️ The earliest recorded snowfall of the season in Indianapolis:

  • 0.2 inches on Oct. 18, 1989

❄️ The latest recorded snowfall of the season in Indianapolis:

  • 0.9 inches on March 9, 1923
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the snow

Snowmobile 500, anyone?

And before you start DoorDashing the milk and bread this year, know that this winter, forecasters with the National Weather Service predicted warmer, wetter weather for central Indiana, but the occasional cold snap is still possible.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the bit of sunshine that returned this week after one of the cloudiest Januarys on record in Indianapolis and the sixth wettest January to date. (The precipitation surplus is nearly two inches in Indy.)

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