July 23, 1947
Rare cold snap brings the coldest July weather on record to the area. Rensselaer & Wheatfield dropped to 41 on this date. Rochester had a low of 42, Whitestown 43, West Lafayette & Marion 45. Interestingly, August was very hot with numerous days in the upper 90s to +100. Kokomo hit 100 or greater 4 times in August, including 106 on the 6th, while Crawfordsville & Wheatfield hit 100 on August 6th. West Lafayette hit 101 on August 22. Marion hit 100, 101 & 102 on the 4, 5 & 6th.
July 24, 1828
“The season of 1828 was wet; a large portion of the crop in the great corn growing counties was housed in bad condition; but in the northern districts, the weather having cleared up, it was well secured.” 1828 had a wet spring & summer. In fact, major floods occurred on the Wabash in spring 1828 with severe weather & tornadoes. South of Perrysville, the Wabash is reported to have been 27’ above low water mark.
July 25, 1875
A tornado hit Harveysburg (near Kingman) in Fountain County & a second twister moved through Boone County, hitting Fayette. A total of 4 people were killed & 14 injured by these two twisters.
July 26, 1940
Heat & drought encompassed the area with brutal heat as the rough summer of 1940 lingered on. Whitestown, in Boone County, had an outstanding 7 consecutive days with high temperatures at or above 100 degrees with a peak of 104 on July 30. At Wheatfield, 6 of the 7 days hit or exceed 100 with 103 on July 25 & 29th, while Kokomo exceeded 100 on 6 of 7 days with 103 on the 28th & 29th. West Lafayette had 100 on the 24th & 101 on the 30th with the other days hovering at 97-99. Rensselaer reached 105 on July 24 with 5 of 7 days at or above 100.
July 27, 1974
Very high surface instability (highs low to mid 90s) combined with lower-than-normal freezing levels, brought historic hailstorms to Warren, Fountain & Boone counties. Hail as large as tennis balls fell. Driven by torrential rainfall, the hail drifted to a depth of 18” with catastrophic crop damage. The largest stones with the greatest accumulations occurred south of Hillsboro (in Fountain County) on Route 341 & on Route 32 in Boone County near Gadsden.
July 28, 1913
The summer of 1913 was very hot with a peak in the heat occurring July 27-31. For 5 consecutive days, readings reached near 100 or above in the viewing area. Crawfordsville reached or exceeded 100 on 4 of the 5 days with a peak temperature of 105 on July 30. At Rensselaer, the thermometer also reached or exceeded 100 on 4 of the 5 days with peaks of 104 on the 28th & 29th. West Lafayette hit 100 & 101, respectively, on July 28 & 29.
July 29, 1916
The viewing area was in the midst of a significant heat wave. This was the 5th day at or above 100 degrees over nearly all of the viewing area. Rensselear & West Lafayette peaked at 102 on the 26 & 27th, while Kokomo had 103 on those days & Logansport 104.
July 30, 1857
Severe hailstorms in area with 1.75” hail (golfball-sized) reported, which corn was “stripped” in Tippecanoe County. 1.5” hail reported at Indianapolis .
July 31, 1887
Worst drought & hottest weather since the severe drought & heat waves of 1881. In the Weather Bureau Monthly Weather Review for our section of Indiana: Eel River at “lowest level in 25 years”………“mills supplied by it are obliged to suspend operations”……..“extremely hot & dry weather continues in this section. Many farmers report that even though the rain should fall at this time the corn crop would be short. Grass is dying & in some localities stock are suffering from want of water.” “………..the corn is actually burning up from the excessively hot weather”. Prof. H.A. Huston of Purdue University stated in the Weather Bureau’s Monthly Weather Review of 1887 that, “the temperature for the month has been extraordinarily high, the mean for the state 5-6 above normal…………several stations a maximum of 105 was recorded……..only one July that the rainfall has been less than this & that was in 1881.” The 106 at Logansport this month was the hottest since the hot summer of 1874 & the 105 at Lafayette was the hottest since 1881. The thermometer exceeded 100 on 13 days at West Lafayette from July 13 to August 10. From July 5 to August 20, only 0.44” of rainfall was recorded at West Lafayette.
July 31, 1896
Torrential t’storms trained over Clinton, Tipton & Madison counties. Heavy flooding hit Tipton County, especially with flood damage over much of the city & in the county after up to 8” of rainfall in 6 hours. It was documented well in local press:
Great Damage Results from Floods at Various Points.
Tipton, Ind., July 31.—The damage in this section by water is appalling. Hundreds of poor families living in the flooded district will lose nearly all their furniture and in some instances clothing, bedding, etc., have been floated away. The waters are receding slowly, but it will be several days before those who lived near the river can enter their houses. The cemeteries are inundated and several persons who have died since the storm cannot be buried. The farmers throughout the country are heavy losers, as much oats, corn and potatoes are ruined. A great deal of live stock has also been drowned.
August 1, 1983
The summer of 1983 was brutal. Today marked the first day the temperatures failed to exceed 90 in West Lafayette since July 7 (hit 88). Of that 24-day stretch, 7 hit or exceeded 100 in the city of West Lafayette with 6 100 or greater days July 20-29. The high July 21 reached 104 & 105 on the 22nd.
At total of 16 days hit or exceeded 95. 25 days were 90 or greater August 2-September 6.
August 2, 1842
Unprecedented cool snap ended with light frost reported at Logansport to north of Fort Wayne.
August 3, 1859
A “violent tornado” is reported to have passed through Sheffield Township, moving across Wildcat Prairie, barely missing Dayton. Two people were injured & several homes were demolished. The tornado is said to have moved right down Haggarty Lane.
August 4, 1820
A “truly alarming” summer drought occurred in 1820. “…..travelers many days were obliged to pass whole days, in the warmest weather, without being able to procure a cupful of water for themselves or their horses, & that which they occasionally did find as almost putrid”, according to The History of Fountain County.
August 5, 1918
An extremely hot day capped of a torrid 3 days of 100 or greater temperatures in the viewing area. Delphi reached 107 on the 5th, while Kokomo & Crawfordsville hit 106 & the 6th. Logansport had 105 on August 4th, Marion had 103 on the 6th, while Wheatfield climaxed at 103 on August 5th. West Lafayette reached a peak temperature of 103 on the 5th.
August 6, 1977
August 1977 was wet. In fact, it was wettest on record at Delphi (11.35″), West Lafayette (9.44″), Frankfort (9.08″), Kentland (11.02″), Romney (9.78″), Monticello (9.69″), Kokomo (9.54″) & Wabash (9.02″).
What’s interesting is that most of this fell August 5-12 as a stationary front brought rounds of showers & t’storms to the area including a severe squall line on the morning of August 6. From August 5-7 alone, 4.04″ of rain fell at West Lafayette & 3.64″ at Delphi. Additionally, another 3.78″ fell on August 10 at Delphi.
Flash flooding occurred in the area for several days.
August 7, 1894
Drought across the region (long drought 1894-96) caused wide swings between morning lows & afternoon highs. With hazy sun, after a morning low of 53 at West Lafayette, the afternoon high reached 93. On the 8 & 9th, highs of 99 & 100 occurred with lows of 60 & 66 as smokey, hazy, sunny conditions hovered over the dry, droughty soils.
From late June to early August, smoke was reported on 13 days at Purdue University as forests burned in the Ozarks & Great Lakes & marshes & prairies in Newton & Jasper County burned.
August 8, 1890
A severe hailstorm in Lafayette & on the Purdue campus badly damaged crops at the Agricultural Experiment station.
August 9, 1924
At Lafayette two men were killed & 12 injured when lightning struck a steam shovel under which they had taken shelter. “Two violent rain & hailstorms, accompanied by high winds swept Indiana late yesterday and lastnight killing five persons, injuring a dozen others, and causing heavy property damage,” according to local press.
August 9, 1934
A derecho, with widespread damaging winds, blasted Lafayette during the early morning hours. Knocking down numerous trees & powerlines, several buildings & homes also received damaged with winds estimated at 80-85 mph. Some people were injured by falling trees & limbs. With origins in northern Illinois & a lifespan all the way to Ohio, the derecho occurred on the edge of one of the historic 1934 heat waves. It did break the heat somewhat & also brought a swath of badly-needed 0.75-1.25″ rainfall.
August 9, 1887
Extremely dry soils from the Extreme to Exceptional Drought across the area caused the largest temperature increase from the morning low to the afternoon high (without any front) at West Lafayette. At the Purdue University station, after a morning low of 54, the temperature reached 101 during the afternoon, a rise of 47 degrees.
Such dryness often produces large temperature differences with stagnant surface high pressure, similar to deserts.
August 10, 1961
A squall line of strong to severe t’storms blasted through southern Michigan & northeast Indiana during the evening of August 10. On the squall line’s end, two supercellular storms formed in Tipton & Clinton County. One produced an F2 tornado 1.5 miles southeast of Mullberry, in Clinton County with $25,000 dollars were done to a farmstead (1961 dollars). A microburst appears to have occurred east of Whitestown in Boone County from this storm, while a second microburst appears to have occurred near Atlanta. The unusual, early June-like mid & upper winds over a hot, humid airmass with a surface cold front produced the severe weather.
Only 8 days later, these same unseasonably strong mid & upper level winds over a hot, humid airmass & surface cold front produced F3 tornadoes in east-central Indiana with an F2 in Boone County. An unseasonable outbreak of tornadoes occurred to our east, also on September 24 with several F3 tornadoes in the same places with substantial damage. Other severe weather & tornadoes also occurred September 14. This shows the unseasonable strength of the winds aloft in August 1961.
August 11, 1856
Widespread, significant rainfall fell across Indiana. The remnants of a major hurricane (934 mb surface pressure measured), that killed at least 1500 at Last Island, Louisiana, passed.
August 12, 1956
A severe weather event of tornadoes & microbursts occurred 10 p.m.-12 a.m.
An F1 tornado with a width of 600’ struck near Onward, in Cass County. A large, significant F3 tornado began north of Rochester & was on the ground for over 11 miles through Marshall County, injuring 1 person & doing 1/4 million dollars in damage. Significant microburst wind damage occurred east-southeast of the Logansport Airport & northwest of Onward with winds to 100 mph. Winds gusted to 88 mph 2 miles northwest of Peru.