Make your home page

Looking back at central Indiana’s most recent significant snow event in March

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — March is a month in which central Indiana begins to transition toward springlike weather, but there usually is a lot of weather variation along the way.

For instance, March has a history of big snow events in the Hoosier state. Here in Indianapolis, the average of snowfall for March is only 3.2 inches. However, one snowstorm on March 24, 2018, stamped itself in central Indiana weather history.

This snowstorm led way to Indianapolis seeing one of its largest one-day snow totals for the month of March. Areas along and near Interstate 74 saw the brunt of this event.

The system responsible for the snow originated west of the Rocky Mountains. Winter storm watches were already in affect for most of central Indiana on the morning of Thursday, March 22. By Saturday, March 24, the system positioned itself near the Ozark Mountains in Missouri.

Plentiful moisture and forcing would trigger a narrow and elongated swath of heavy wet snow. This narrow band of snow tracked from eastern South Dakota and through part of Iowa, Illinois and Indiana.

Snowfall rates at times in central Indiana exceed 2 inches per hour. Visibility at the Indianapolis International Airport dropped to a quarter of a mile or less from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Eastern. When it was all said and done, some areas in central Indiana received over 1 foot of snow. The National Weather Service in Indianapolis officially measured 10.2 inches of snow at its location.

The number and letter in front of a city represents the distance in miles and direction away from that location. For example, 3 S Brownsburg means “3 miles south of Brownsburg.”
Picture of the snow at National Weather Service’s Indianapolis location. (Provided Photo/National Weather Service in Indianapolis)

This snowstorm was significant for several reasons. This event pushed March 2018 to become the sixth-snowiest March for Indianapolis. It is the second-highest one-day snow total Indianapolis has seen in March overall only behind March 19, 1906 (12.1 inches). It also set the daily snow record for March 24.

Here are Indianapolis’s top five snowiest Marches on record, just to note for reference:

  • 1.) 1906 – 30.4 inches.
  • 2.) 1896 – 17.8 inches.
  • 3.) 1924 – 16.4 inches.
  • 4.) 2013 – 14.5 inches.
  • 5.) 1996 – 12.5 inches.