The winters in Indianapolis are usually chilly and quite unsettled.  Temperatures frequently drop below freezing, and fast-moving storms provide snow and sometimes rain.  Indianapolis is also notable for frequent cloudiness, since its possible winter sunshine is only around 40 percent.

Again, winters can be rather cold.  Residents can expect temperatures to average in the 30s for highs and around 20 degrees for lows during the season.  Sudden arctic blasts occasionally sweep through Indianapolis, and they can bring temperatures below zero.   Sometimes there are brief mild spells, with days having temperatures to not go below freezing at all, followed by much colder air trailing behind the cold fronts.

According to the National Weather Service in Indianapolis, the city receives about 26 inches of snow per season.  The city can expect to have the first few snowflakes of the season to fall sometime in November.  Big accumulating snows are usually not anticipated to come in November, but a record 7.5 inches did blanket Indianapolis in October 19, 1989.

Although Indianapolis is not adjacent to any large lakes, lake-enhanced flurries and snow showers from Lake Michigan sometime enter the city.  Accumulations may amount to an inch, otherwise accumulations stay on the light side.  But if the water’s warm enough, the cold running over Lake Michigan can provide several days of overcast skies.

The so-called Alberta clipper is a quick-moving low-pressure system that forms in Canada’s Alberta, and sweeps through the Great Plains and sometimes over Indiana.  It’s no stranger to Indianapolis, and it’s usually fast and has little moisture to work with.  So therefore accumulations are fairly light.  But Indianapolis may be able to receive at least 4 inches from this clipper, if the storm doesn’t move too quickly or lack so much moisture.

The more organized low-pressure storms affect Indianapolis anytime during the winter.   Their most common tracks arrive from the southern Rocky Mountains or the Gulf of Mexico.  In terms of what precipitation would fall, it depends on the temperatures.  If there’s a low pressure moving northeast of Indianapolis and temperatures are well above freezing, mainly rain is predicted.  But if low tracks just east of Indianapolis, and temperatures are cold enough for snow, heavy snow may be possible.  An ice storm may also be accompanied by the strong low pressure.

Overall, winters in Indianapolis can be cold and stormy.  Be sure to have useful items like snow shovels, ice scrapers, salt, and an emergency plan handy for this rather busy season.

Note: Temperatures are in degrees Fahrenheit.