One These Dates In Local Weather History November October 13-November 8October 12th, 2012 at 6:32 pm by Chad Evans under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog
October 13, 1840
In northern Newton/Jasper counties a severe t’storm & a tornado was observed at a remnant Pottawattomie village. “The sun rose clear, but was soon obscured by scudding clouds, which betokened rain,” according to a hunter on the Kankakee marsh at the village.
By afternoon, ”the sky had become more & more threatening during the time passed in the hut, & the wind was rising”. The tornado was said to have “roared & bellowed like ten thousand maddened bulls. It was something terrific.” It was said to be “a great yellow, curvetting cloud……rolling down the heavens.” Many trees “were snapped ………[sounding] like heavy artillery”. “Wilder & wilder raged the tempest. The driving rain came down in blinding sheets. A flood of water rushed through the wigwam a foot deep.”
“Log poles were bent like reeds” & the Pottawattomies tried with tremendous exertion & a flurry of activity to prevent their huts from being toppled. After the storm, “nature seems to smile [with the sun] from the wreck & desolation everywhere visible.”
October 14, 1987
October 1987 was very chilly, gloomy & wet. From October 21-30 (at West Lafayette), we did not rise above 58 degrees & only 9 of the 31 days of the month did not have overnight lows in the 20s & 30s. Only 3 days during the month reached above 70 & never got above 72. It was largly gray & overcast for the latter half of the month with many days in the 40s.
Rainfall was above-average, but not excessively so. Light rains & drizzly days lingered on. Some places reported drizzle/light rain on half of the days during the month.
October 15, 1871
“In October strong winds prevailed. The summer was very dry, and unusual fires raged along the marsh and in the islands of timber……….The October fires of 1871 ………..will long be remembered. Although a very dry season and many wells failed and cattle suffered severely from thirst, yet the corn crop was good.” The History of Cass County states, “according to records kept by old residents, the severest drought Cass County has experienced was in the summer and fall of 1871, the year of the great Chicago fire. It was also very warm, with an early spring. Cherry trees were in blossom on April 9th.
October 16, 1892
The morning low at West Lafayette was just 64, one of the warmest readings so late in the season. The high temperature was 80, however, 6 degrees from the record of 86 set in 1963. Only October 16, 1879 was as warm as this morning with low at 64 in Lafayette.
October 17, 1828
Fall-winter 1828-1829 was “unusually dry”. So dry was it that steamboats could not navigate the Wabash & ship goods to merchants in Lafayette & Delphi. They were instead shipped by wagons from the Ohio River “very much to the injury of the merchants & disappointment of the people.” This contrasted with the major floods of spring & summer after a very mild winter in 1827-28.
October 18, 1996
The viewing area continued to clean up after a severe weather outbreak on October 17, 1996
A QLCS with three embedded supercells produced several intense microbursts & macrobursts. 10 homes were heavily damaged near Newport. 5 homes were damaged near New Market & Mace in Montgomery County. One home was moved 1/2 foot off its foundation & structural damage occurred to a factory. Wind damage was reported in Crawfordsville to near Manson in Clinton County from a narrow swath of straight-line winds north of the microburst & macroburst.
A macroburst occurred near Logansport & injured 3 people via flying debris driven by an estimated 90 mph wind gust. Several homes & businesses were damaged in Logansport & the roof was blown off a church. The worst damage was around the church. There, wind gust likely peaked at 95 mph. It would take such a gust to totally remove the roof from the church.
No hail or tornadoes were reported. Less than two weeks later, another damaging severe outbreak would strike.
October 19, 1883
There were two comets that astronomers observed in 1883, Brooks-Swift and Pons-Brooks, and the paper notes that either one could be responsible for unleashing the debris swarm that supposedly buzzed Earth. Had the path of the comet changed ever so slightly, the scientists say, “we would have had 3,275 Tunguska events in two days, probably an extinction event.” Tunguska was a humongous explosion in Siberia in 1908 that was probably caused by an asteroid impact; the detonation was so powerful that people 40 miles away felt like they were burning.
October 20, 2012
Average growing season length varies from 155-185 days in the viewing area. Morocco to Fowler has an average length of 160 days, while most of the viewing area has a 165-175 day length growing season. In southern Fountain, Montgomery & Boone counties, the growing season length is, on average, the longest (at upwards of 185 days).
October 21, 2012
The average first occurrence of 28 degrees is around October 18 Morocco & Rensselaer, October 19 at Fowler, October 20 at Kokomo, October 21 at West Lafayette. At Delphi, it is October 22, Frankfort & Whitestown October 23, Crawfordsville October 28. Lake Michigan influence make October 30 the average first 28-degree temperature at Rochester & Winamac.
October 22, 1883
Mount Mount Krakatoa, near Sumatra, had of the most significant volcanic eruption events in modern history, killing at least 40,000 people in late August 1883. Spewing tons of material into the lower atmosphere, this led to a global cool-down for months & the effects were certainly felt here. The worldwide temperature dropped 1.2 degrees Celsius.
According to Robert McNamara of Krakatoa Volcano Eruption 1883 Was a Worldwide Weather & Media Event:
“The sound of the massive volcanic eruption traveled enormous distances across the ocean. At the British outpost on Diego Garcia, an island in the Indian Ocean more than 2,000 miles from Krakatoa, the sound was clearly heard. People in Australia also reported hearing the explosion. It is possible that Krakatoa created one of the loudest sounds ever generated on earth, rivaled only by the volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815.
Pieces of pumice were light enough to float, and weeks after the eruption large pieces began drifting in with the tides along the coast of Madagascar, an island off the east coast of Africa. Some of the large pieces of volcanic rock had animal and human skeletons embedded in them. They were grisly relics of Krakatoa.
American newspaper articles in late 1883 and early 1884 speculated on the cause of the widespread phenomenon of “blood red” sunsets. But scientists today know that dust from Krakatoa blown into the high atmosphere was the cause.
The Krakatoa eruption, massive as it was, was actually not the largest volcanic eruption of the 19th century. That distinction would belong to the eruption of Mount Tambora in April 1815.”
This eruption brought a horrendous winter of snow & cold in 1883-84 with a reading of -30 in the viewing area during the winter. Late fall 1883 was snowy & the winter long & rough.
October 23, 1856
Tornadoes reported in Fountain & Boone counties. In Fountain County, “The damage on the West Plains & Shawnee Prairie has doubtless been very great. Such a tornado has not been before experienced on the Wabash within the memory of the ‘oldest inhabitant’”. The other damaging tornado at Thorntown, Boone County: “……down on the principle streets, while fences & stables were damaged in every part of town.”
A tornado also hit the central Illinois town of Littleton, as well, with “nearly every house in the place entirely destroyed.” There, the all-brick Methodist church was “torn down to the foundation.” Deaths & injuries were reported in Illinois, but no record of such in Fountain & Boone counties has been recovered.
October 24, 2001
A squall line of severe t’storms produced widespread straight-line wind damage & one tornado in the viewing area (F0 near Pine Village). Structural damage was reported across Benton County & a television & radio tower were toppled near Chalmers. Damage to grain elevators occurred southeast of Tipton.
October 25, 1805
An early-season heavy snowfall struck central & northern Indiana. At the White River Mission, a fort on the White River in Madison County, a diary mentioned that “it began to snow hard” on the afternoon of the 25th. It also stated “the Indians were frightened on account of it. They said they had never seen the like, this time of year, in this place….” By the morning of the 26th, the entry read, “it looks as it does in mid-winter.” Fort Wayne reported 12” of snowfall.
October 26, 2010
Narrow squall line, known as a QLCS, raced through the viewing area in the morning. Winds gusted to 80 mph in northern Jasper County & an EF0 tornado occurred in Howard County. An industrial ag building under construction was unroofed at Crawfordsville & a radio tower was toppled northeast of Frankfort.
October 26, 1862
Early-season snowfall struck the area with up to 5” falling. 5” fell in Lafayette. Temperatures fell into the teens after the snowfall.
October 27, 1844
Clean-up continued from a round of storms on October 26. Trees & fences were reportedly downed in Tippecanoe & Cass counties.
A damaging tornado with injuries & deaths occurred at Kansas City on the 25th & at 9 p.m. on the 25th, a large tornado destroyed homes near Westport, Missouri (near St. Louis) with deaths & injuries. It was reported to be near ¼ mile wide & on the ground for at least 8 miles.
This was apart of the famous Lower Lakes Storm that “swept the lakes clean of sail” with hurricane force winds. The barometric pressure with this storm system dropped to 977 mb in southern Ontario.
October 28, 1860
Ample rainfall in September was followed by killing frosts & freezes in mid-October. Curing the prairie grass, massive fires occurred in the dry, dry late October of 1860.
Judge Hall described the blazes on the remaining prairie west of Oxford at this time: “…….goes straight forward with a velocity proportioned to the force of the wind, widening as it goes, but the center keeping ahead; it spreads sideways, but burning laterally, it makes by comparatively slow progress; & if the wind is moderate & steady, the spreading fire is not difficult to manage, but if the wind veers a point or two, first one way & then the other, it sends this fire beyond control. The head fire in dry grass & a head wind is a fearful thing & pretty sure to have its own way unless there is some defensive point to meet it.” Benton County was referred to as Mas-kot-ia by Native people or “the place of fire”.
October 29, 1996
A QLCS with small LEWPs within it passed through the WLFI viewing area 7:50-10 p.m. on October 29, 1996.
Widespread straight-line wind damage was reported countywide in Newton, Jasper, Pulaski, Fulton, Benton, White, Fountain & Tipton counties with damage in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Numerous trees, tree limbs, powerlines & power poles were downed by the winds & literally hundreds of farm buildings sustained damage area-wide.
A home’s roof was heavily damaged in Crawfordsville, trees fell atop a camper at Concord (Tippecanoe County), hundreds of trees were snapped or uprooted at Newtown. Rensselaer, Monticello, Rochester, Crawfordsville, Russiaville, Lebanon & Windfall all reported significant damage to the communities” trees with numerous homes reporting roof damage. Grain augers were overturned by the winds at Lebanon.
October 30, 1863
Early season snowfall: 3-5” across the area. This appears to be an Inside Runner storm has heavy rainfall was reported during this period in northern Ohio.
October 31, 1869
Fall 1869 was record-cold, specifically October. Temperatures fell into the single digits to teens in late October 1869 with much of the month well-below normal temperature-wise. Unseasonable snowfall occurred with 1-6” in the area October 22, including 4-9” in Tippecanoe County. Lafayette had 6” with this snowfall. Snowfalls continued even in November with the unseasonable cold.
There was heavy damage to trees & crops from the snowfall & early hard, hard freezes.
November 1, 1982
A line of severe t’storms produced damaging straight-line winds between 4:30 & 5:40 p.m. as the bow raced through Newton, Pulaski, White, Fulton, Cass & Miami counties.
November 2, 1855
A resident in Jefferson Township, Cass County, is killed by a prairie fire racing through the township. Strong west winds fanned the fire in November 1855.
November 3, 1899
5.7″ of snow fall measured at 7 a.m. on November 3 at West Lafayette after falling 6:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. Temperatures hovered around 33 or 34 during the snowfall, so it was slushy, sticky, wet & tended to melt as it fell quite a bit on the Purdue campus. Up to fell 8” fell elsewhere.
November 4, 1849
A traveler described a massive prairie fire on Twelve-Mile Prairie (ran from near Attica to Frankfort) in Clinton County during a windy, unusually warm, dry period for early November in 1849. It was in the upper 70s & lower 80s in the Corn Belt with the strong winds & dry air at the time. Skies were darkened with prairie fire smoke.
“The gentle breeze increased to stronger currents & soon fanned the small flickering blaze to into fierce torrent flames, which curled & leaped along in resistless splendor; & like quickly raising the dark curtain from the luminous stage, the scenes before me were suddenly changed, as if by a magician’s wand into one boundless amphitheatre blazing from earth to heaven & sweeping the horizon round,-columns of lurid flames sportively mounting up to the zenith, & dark clouds of crimson smoke curling away & aloft till they nearly obscured stars & moon, while the rushing, crashing sounds, like roaring cataracts mingled with distant thunders, were almost deafening; danger, death, glared all around; it screamed for victims; yet notwithstanding the imminent peril of prairie fires, one is loth, irresolute, almost unable to withdraw seek or refuge.”
November 5, 1985
Much of the viewing area experienced their wettest November on record. Crawfordsville measured 14.65” for the month, which is still the record wettest November as of 2012. Kokomo, Frankfort & Whitestown received 10.60”, 10.30” & 10.13”, for their record wet November. Other record wet Novembers in ’85 include Morocco with 9.55”, Perrysville with 9.43”, West Lafayette with 8.71”, Monticello 8.12”, Rensselaer 8.03”, Kentland 7.66”, Delphi 7.57”, Fowler 7.43” & Peru with 6.72”
November 6, 2005
Significant severe weather outbreak occurred in the Midwest & Lower Ohio Valley from the evening of November 5 to the early morning hours of November 6. This included 8 tornadoes in Kentucky, Missouri & southern Indiana. The southern Indiana F3 killed 22 people & injured 200, with extensive damage. Another F3 hit south of this tornado track in western Kentucky.
In our viewing area, it was widespread straight-line wind damage that occurred in the southeastern half. Trees & powerlines were blown down in Covington with widespread trees & powerlines down across all of Montgomery County with widespread wind gusts of 70 mph reported. Trees & powerlines were blown down in the Concord area of Tippecanoe County while a pole barn was destroyed near Flora, in Carroll County & a semi truck was overturned on I-65 3 miles north of Lebanon. A trailer was flipped over north of Peru & widespread wind damage raked Howard County with signs, billboards, large trees & powerlines snapped. Minor structural to homes was also reported. The entire western half of Howard County was left in the dark after the storm, while many powerlines & poles were knocked down in Tipton & Boone counties. Large limbs were torn off trees in Fulton County & a tree was knocked over in Logansport.
Measured & estimated wind gusts included 61 mph at Lebanon, 55 mph at the Purdue University Airport. 70 mph at Crawfordsville & 80 mph at Russiaville.
November 7, 1811
The Battle of Tippecanoe was fought on a gray, gloomy, drizzly & cool day. This was followed by a very harsh winter of cold & deep snows. In “The History of Odon, Indiana”, the book on the southwestern Indiana town’s history states that the winter of 1811 wiped out the buffalo populations east of the Mississippi River. The Elfreth Family diary of Cass County states that 1811-12 was the coldest, snowiest winter in history (in the 1800s to early 1900s).
November 8, 1940
Fall 1940 was very mild. In fact, at West Lafayette, the temperature did not drop to 36 degrees until November 7. The low temperature was 28 on the 7th & 30 on the 8th.
The first hard freeze occurred November 12 with 22 degrees. Even on November 21, it was 62 & highs were in the 50s & 60s November 17-22. The high on November 30 was 56.