It’s Been How Cold? A Month-to-Month Comparison of Winter Temps

Are you counting down the days until Spring?  You aren’t alone.  Not only are Hoosiers craving warmer weather, many of us are looking forward to lower utility bills.  While it seems that this year has been unusually cold, our perceptions about the weather don’t always stack up to climatological data.

If you live in Central Indiana, chances are your utility provider sends you reports on your energy usage month to month, and year to year.  It’s easy to look at those numbers and question, is my heating system running efficiently?  We’re always here to help, and in this instance, we’ve crunched the numbers for December and January to give you an idea of how cold it really was for December 2017 and January 2018, and if it’s that far off from our typical monthly averages.

Before we dive into those numbers it’s important to understand the terminology surrounding certain words.  First, average high or low, means adding up a number, and dividing it by how many days were in that month. You still with me?  Now the “fun” can begin!

The Indianapolis National Weather Service keeps detailed daily weather logs, and that is where we’ve pulled the numbers for this blog.  First, let’s start with climatological data, that’s a longer snapshot of temperatures for decades.  The average high in January is 35.6 degrees, the average low is 20.5 degrees.  The average high in December is 38.9 degrees, with an average low of 24.4 degrees.

So, how does this past December and January compare against those averages and each other?  Time to dive into the data.  Let’s start with December 2016 vs. December 2017.  In December 2016, the average high was 37 degrees, and the average low was 23.7.  During that time period, there was one night that we dropped to subzero lows.  So, let’s compare 2016 to 2017.  In December 2017, the average high was 38.5 degrees, and the average low was 22 degrees.  In that month, there were two nights we dropped to subzero lows.  Overall, not much difference in the numbers.

Now, let’s tackle January.  In January 2017, the average high was 42 degrees. And the average low was 27.8 degrees.  There were two nights that month where the temp dropped below zero.  Let’s compare that to 2018 when there were seven lows that dipped into the subzero territory.  The average high for January 2018 was 33.8 degrees, with an average low of 16.3 degrees.  So, if you noticed an increase in your heating bill for the month of January, you’re not alone, the temps were colder than average in 2018 vs. 2017.

All numbers aside… let the countdown to Spring resume!

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