The more I study this storm, the more I put it on the same level as the great Blizzard of ’78, Blizzard of 1918 & New Year’s Eve 1863-New Year’s Day 1864 blizzard.
These are the outstanding storms for our area since 1860 in regards to snowfall rate, snow depth, wind, visibility, extreme cold & all-out true blizzard conditions. All buried structures due to extreme wind with the heavy snow & all had extreme cold during & following storm.
It was one of the heaviest snowfalls ever recorded in Lafayette & in the viewing area as a whole. This blizzard occurred just 3 weeks after “The Great Blizzard” in the Plains from Kansas to Minnesota with extreme wind & snowfall with that area of the country paralyzed for weeks. It was a great hardship for early Plains pioneers. Then, the Great Easter Sunday Blizzard struck the Plains in the spring that dealt a blow to the Plains not seen until the rough winter of 1883-84 & 1884-85.
Here, it was the wind made it a blizzard & was the worst snow storm since the legendary New Years Eve-Day storm of 1863-64.
Interestingly, 1864, 1867, 1873 all featured, historic snow storms in the area. Per data, 1864 & 1873 appear to reach true blizzard thresholds.
15.0″ of snow fell on Lafayette in the 1873 blizzard with drifts 4′ deep in town & over 6′ deep in the countryside. There was already 3″ on the ground before this storm even began.
24″ was reported on the ground after the storm at Terre Haute with trains buried in snow. This was reported to be the deepest snow that any of the oldest inhabitants had seen……these were the early settlers of the Terre Haute area that were then in their 80s & 90s.
The entire region was shut down. A train became stuck in the snow at Templeton. A train with 4 locomotives blew a cylinder on one, owing to the extreme power needed to plow through the very deep snow.
Trains finally completely ceased plowing tracks in the storm due to lack of any futile effort it made in the storm.
Surface low moved from southern Texas to Arkansas to southern Illinois to near Indianapolis. There, it strengthened tremendously & resulted in a complete white-out here with howling winds & rapidly falling barometer. Storm then raced to near Fort Wayne. Arctic high over the Dakotas sharpened the already tight pressure gradient of the low, resulting in one of the great blizzards in our weather history.
Latest snowfall information is below for Sunday-Monday a.m.
Again, it may begin as rain & rain/snow before going to all snow. Gusts to 35 mph Sunday night-Monday will cause even this wetter snowfall to blow & drift.
Stay tuned as we monitor & fine-tune this forecast. We will watch to see if the heavier bands shift any to the southwest or snow shifts any to the northeast.
Spurt of cold with highs in the 20s will get us Monday-Tuesday (lows in the 10-16 range).
Snow is also possible mid-week before rain/snow mix occurs late week before very cold weather moves in & lays foundation for potential winter storm near February 1.