Are our weather patterns changing in the Wabash Valley?

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FARMERSBURG, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – How much have the temperature and precipitation averages changed here in the past 10 years?

WTWO has been an official observation site for the National Weather Service since 1975.

The station has daily records dating back to the 1970s, and even more detailed records kept in the basement. But how are these numbers used to determine averages? 

“So when it comes to averages, we basically take a set of data for 30 years and come up with average numbers for precipitation, temperature, things like that,” WTWO Chief Meteorologist Jesse Walker said. “It’s done that way all across the country, everybody does it the same way, using the same group of data. Every 10 years we drop off the last decade and we add the new decade. We just did that, we’re now using information that goes from 1991 to 2020.”

So how have we seen the climate change in the Wabash Valley these past 10 years?

When it comes to precipitation there has been no big change. With snow and rain we are up about 1.1%, which is a minor change from 44 inches to 44.52 inches.

How about the temperature?

The temperature average over the last 10 years has seen a 1.7% increase or about a degree. WTWO’s records indicate the temperature changed from an average of 53.6 degrees to 54.5 degrees.

But is there a certain time of the year we have seen the biggest temperature increase?

Yes. June has seen a 3.1 degree increase while August has seen a 2.1 degree increase

“When we went back and looked at monthly averages temperatures, most were pretty close, but there were a couple that went up and those two were in the summer,” Walker said. “I believe the reason we saw that was because back in 2012 we had a pretty significant heat wave and drought. We saw temperatures on many occasions soared above 100 degrees, which is about 20 degrees above normal. That was probably why we saw a spike in a couple of the months of the summer time with the average temperatures.”

How has this changed our winter weather over the past 10 years?

Well, if you felt like our winters have been warmer with less snow then you would be right. We are almost one degree warmer when it comes to the change in temperature, but the big impact is the lack of snow. Over the past 20 years we have seen our average go from 19 inches down to 14.5 inches. That is a 24% drop in the past 20 years. But remember these are just averages, you can still have some winters with heavy snow such as the winter of 2013-2014 when we had almost 28 inches.

The next time averages will be updated is in 2030.

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