At Wednesday’s meeting of Monroe County commissioners, county director of emergency management Allison Moore told them no outdoor burn ban was yet recommended for the county, despite persistent dry conditions.
She still asked the public to exercise caution: “We do challenge you to make good decisions when you’re burning things.” Making good decisions includes making sure you have a good preparedness plan in place, she added.
Moore said that she had been busy with other officials contemplating the same kind of burn ban that 14 other counties across south central Indiana had implemented over the last few weeks.
In this latest dry phase, the first county to declare a burn ban was Martin County, southwest of Monroe County, on Sept. 10.
Owen County, northwest of Monroe County, had earlier declared a ban, but lifted it on Oct. 1.
The quarter inch (0.24) of rain recorded at the weather station on the Indiana University campus in Bloomington during the month of September made it the third-driest September for the period of record dating back to 1895.
September this year at the Indianapolis International Airport was the warmest September on record, based on data from the NOAA Regional Climate Center. Records for the Indy airport go back to 1943.
The mean average temperature for September this year was 73.7 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s 2 degrees warmer than the next-warmest September on record, which came in 2007. It’s about 7 degrees warmer than the mean of all September averages since 1943, which is 66.9 degrees.
Last year’s September (2018) ranked 4th warmest since 1943.
Records for Monroe County’s airport go back just a couple of decades. This year’s September numbers are the warmest since 1998 by about a degree—72.1 compared to 71 degrees last year.
Data in the climate center’s database for Indiana University station’s in Bloomington go back to 1896, but temperature data stopped getting reported in late August this year. The Beacon has made some inquiries into that. [Updated Oct. 4, 2019: The word from National Weather Service is: “The IUBloomington station is undergoing some construction so the site is temporarily down. The time table for it being back up and running is unknown due to the construction. But, it will be back.”]
Not counting this year, the warmest September on record for Bloomington came in 1933 with a monthly mean average temperature of 74.5 degrees. If the airport temperature were taken as a proxy for the IU station, this year’s 72.1 degrees would rank as the 10th warmest September since 1896.
Swapping in Monroe County airport numbers would be a tricky business—the monthly averages can differ by as much as 3 degrees compared to the IU station.
Tornado siren at City of Bloomington services area on Miller Drive east of Henderson Street. (Dave Askins/Beacon)
A dozen counties in southern Indiana have declared burn bans in the last few days—Crawford and Jefferson counties were the first to declare one, on Sept. 19.
But Monroe County is not among them.
The county’s director of emergency management, Allison Moore, told the board of commissioners on Wednesday, at their regular weekly meeting, that the Monroe County Fire Chief’s Association is monitoring the situation and will recommend a ban if they think one is needed.
Burn bans weren’t on the meeting agenda—Moore talked about them during public comment time. It was a point of information for commissioners.
But a different emergency management issue required a vote of the commissioners. They approved unanimously the purchase of new software from Federal Sirens for $4,021.50—for monitoring of the county’s 40 tornado warning sirens.