Historic October 19-20, 1989 SnowstormOctober 4th, 2012 at 5:42 pm by Chad Evans under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog
October 19-20, 1989 brought a historic early-season snowfall to our area. Up to 10.5″ of heavy, wet, gloppy snow fell at Kokomo. 6.7″ fell at Lafayette with 6.0″ at the Purdue Agronomy Farm northwest of West Lafayette. This was the most significant October snowfall event before the 30th (across central & north-central Indiana) since the historically cold October of 1869 & the great October 1805 snow (when Native Americans were “frightened on account of it” & “never seen the like” at the White River fort). 8″ fell at Fort Wayne with the 1989 event, 12″ was measured in October 1805, according to diary at the White River fort.
October 19-20, 1989 an “Inside Runner” storm brought unseasonably early & heavy snowfall to the region. Even with very warm temperatures (Purdue Agronomy Farm was 84° on October 15…….just 3° from the record high of 87 set in 1938!), snowfall intensity was such that accumulations of up to 10.5″ occurred. Snowfall water content topped 1.80″ in places, meaning that if this storm would have occurred in the winter with a colder ground, 18″ could have accumulated.
Gusty winds steady at 15-25 with gusts to 35 mph resulted lots of tree damage across the region due to the weight of the snow on the foliated trees. Power outages were widespread.
Interestingly, less than a week after the snowstorm, temperatures were in the upper 70s to around 80! For example, Delphi hit 79° on October 24 after 7.0″ snow & highs only near 33° on October 19! After 10.5″ of snowfall, Kokomo had a high of 76° on October 24!
Purdue University Airport Observations:
AREA SNOWFALL TOTALS: