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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

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Water > Water Availability / Use / Rights > Water Resource Updates (updated monthly) > Monthly Water Resource Summary Monthly Water Resource Summary

March, 2017

Precipitation

March 2017 Indiana precipitation was generally well above normal or above normal, with average temperature above normal. The statewide monthly precipitation average was approximately 140.5 percent of normal. The overall monthly temperature average for Indiana was 42.1 degrees Fahrenheit or about 1.4 degrees above normal.

All of Indiana's nine climate divisions received well above normal or above normal precipitation for the month of March. Climate Division 6 (EC) received the highest (183.8) percentage of normal precipitation for the month, while Division 9 (SE) received the lowest (120.9) percentage.

For the year to date, six of the nine climate divisions have received above normal precipitation, ranging from 89.4 percent of normal for Division 4 (WC) to 126.7 percent of normal for Division 6 (EC).  For the 2017 water year, which began October 1, 2016, total precipitation is below normal for all nine climate divisions (78.1% to 97.2% percent of normal). Beginning January 2016, all of the state's nine climate divisions have received near normal precipitation. These range from 95.6 percent for Division 3 (NE) to 110.4 percent for Division 1 (NW).

The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) long-term 12-month index shows Climate Division 1 (NW) in the "moderately wet" category; with the remaining climate divisions in the "near normal" category. The 6-month SPI indices shows all nine climate divisions in the "near normal" category.  The 3-month SPI indices show all climate divisions in the "near normal" category.  The 1-month SPI indices show Climate Division 6 (EC) in the "moderately dry" category with the remaining climate divisions in the "near normal" category.

U. S. Drought Monitor

For the period ending March 28, 2017, the U.S. Drought Monitor shows most of the state experiencing no drought conditions.  The only exceptions are "abnormally dry" conditions in only parts of Sullivan, Vigo, Knox, Gibson and Warrick counties; and in all of Posey and Vanderburgh counties. The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook predicts no drought conditions from March 16, 2017 through June 30, 2017.

Streamflow

Of the twelve streams included in the drought reporting since 1999, three had stream flows near normal to normal, one had flow well above normal and eight had below normal flow during the month of March.  The St. Mary's River at Decatur had the lowest mean monthly flow at 38%.  The Muscatatuck River had the highest mean monthly flow at 148%.

Detailed Information on Streamflow

Lake Michigan

The Lake Michigan-Huron water level for March 31, 2017 was 5 inches below the measurement taken on March 31, 2016, and 2 inches above the measurement taken on March 3, 2017.  On March 31, 2017 the Michigan-Huron water level was 579.25 feet, which is approximately 38 inches above the lowest recorded monthly mean level for March set in 1964.  Comparison of March monthly mean water levels to the long-term (1918-present) average shows Lakes Michigan-Huron water levels were about 10 inches above the average.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers predicts the Lake Michigan-Huron water level to rise by as much as 3 inches over the next month.

Reservoirs

The water levels in seven of the eight Indiana reservoirs being monitored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were at or above their normal pool elevations on March 31, 2017. The normal pool deviation ranged from -7.7 feet (Cecil Hardin) to 6.5 feet (Salamonie).

All three reservoirs monitored by Citizens Water were above their respective normal pool elevations as of March 31, 2017.  The deviation from normal pools ranged from 0.47 feet (Geist) to 0.97 feet (Eagle Creek).

Groundwater Levels

As of April 2, 2017, recent water level data are available for each of the nine monitored wells. The mean monthly water levels for the observation wells are below normal for LaGrange 2, Morgan 4, Posey 3, Harrison 8 and Clark 20.  The mean monthly groundwater level is above normal for Randolph 3 and La Porte 9; and near normal for Fulton 7 and Vigo 7.

Real-time data are available for all nine observation wells. The real-time information may be accessed on the following U.S. Geological Survey website: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/in/nwis/current/?type=gw

Acknowledgments
This report has been compiled from Division of Water data and from information supplied by the following:

Precipitation data:
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service, Midwestern Regional Climate Center

Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI):
National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) and Western Regional Climate Center (WRCC)

Streamflow:
U.S. Geological Survey and State of Indiana cooperative program

Lake Michigan level data:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District

Reservoir data:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District

Groundwater level data:
U.S. Geological Survey and State of Indiana cooperative program

Temperature data:
Midwestern Regional Climate Center and Indiana State Climate Office, Purdue University