On These Dates In Local Weather History

January 4th, 2013 at 11:20 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

January 1, 1864

Bitter, bitter New Years Day with falling temperatures all day despite sunny skies.  Temperatures stay below zero all afternoon with a low New Years Eve Night of -30 to -20 area-wide.  At Crawfordsville, observer reports -22° at 7 a.m. & only -16 ° at 2 p.m.

This occurs after New Years Eve blizzard comes to an end with a similar track to the Blizzard of 1978 & 1918 with winds to 60 mph, an Arctic Blast & 8-15” of snowfall.  Drifts were reportedly up to 15’ deep with many reports of frostbite & hypothermia.  This was one of the coldest days ever recorded in the State of Indiana, dating back to the earliest fort records in the early 1800s.  According to the History of Cass County, Indiana, the coldest day since the earliest days of the county was “probably January 1, 1864 when the mercury registered 30 below zero………….with the wind blowing a gale”

January 2, 1887            

Temperature drops to -33° at Lafayette; one degree from the lowest temperature of -34° measured in Indiana during the 19th century at Huntertown & Crown Point.

January 3, 1999

Blizzard of 1999 comes to an end with 17.3” of snowfall at Kokomo, 17” Rensselaer, 16.9” Wheatfield, 16” Romney, 15.5” Crawfordsville, 15” Remington, 14” Delphi & Flora & Francesville, 13” Waveland & Logansport, 12” West Lafayette, Monticello, Frankfort, Pence, Peru & Winamac, 11” Tipton, 9.5” Perrysville, 8.1” Attica & 8.5” at Lebanon.

January 4, 1876

1875-76 was an unprecedented winter for our area in that it was incredibly mild.  In this very mild winter, which is still regarded as the warmest winter on record (similar to the warm winter of 1889-90, too) in our viewing area.  Spring peepers were reportedly heard in early January at Decatur, Illinois & Lafayette.  At Fort Wayne, grasshoppers & butterflies were seen on January 1.  Silver & red maples reportedly blossomed in January after a severe weather event to welcome 1876 on New Year’s Day.  Another storm system with tornadoes from Illinois to Louisiana occurred 15-16th.  “Very Severe storms” that were “heavy” with hail & wind are reported to have occurred in Indiana on the 16th.  With the storms, rain & warm, spring-like winds, 1875-76 is still regarded as the year without a winter with the warmest January temperatures on record at 70-74, nearly so in December at 68-71 & in February with 74-77.  Cold was brief with a few spurts of teens & below-normal snowfall.

January 5, 1884

Brutally cold with -25° to -20° viewing area-wide.  One of the coldest readings on record for the state recorded at Crown Point with -32°.

January 6, 1864

Brutal cold continued in the first 11 days of January 1864.  Clippers on the 2nd & 4th brought 1-4” of snowfall & 7 or the first 11 days with lows below 0 at Crawfordsville.  For Lafayette, the first 10 of 11 days were below zero at Lafayette.

Snow depth reached 17” in some places by January 4, with the new snowfall.

January 7, 1859

Significant snow storm across region.

14” snow fell at Lafayette.  -18 at Lafayette on January 8.  On January 10, the brutal air invaded New England with one of the very few days in history that New York City did not rise above zero.  Cambridge, Massachusetts was -4.5 degrees at 3 p.m.

On a side note, our big snow storm arrived after a major Nor’Easter had just lashed the Northeast January 3-4 with up to 3 feet of snow, coastal flooding & strong winds.  Hartford, Connecticut received a still record-breaking 36” of snowfall from the the great snowstorm.

January 7, 1860

After -25 at Lafayette & -22 at Crawfordsville on the 2nd, warmer temperatures brought up to 0.5” of glaze ice today.  Heavy rains of 1-2” & 45-50 would return briefly by the 10th.  1.25” of rainfall was measured at Crawfordsville on that date.

January 8, 1982

Prior today, a brief period of bare ground existed during the snowy, brutal winter of 1981-82.  However, the 0.5-3” of snowfall that fell was driven & blown around by winds up to 50 mph.  This resulted in blizzard conditions, significant drifting snow, blowing dust & the arrival of a major Arctic blast.  The area was significantly impacted by the snow, low visibility, wind & cold.  Highs on the 9th & 10th were only -5 to 0 with lows of -22 to -17 & wind chills to -60.

January 9, 1979

The brutal winters of the 1970s & early 1980s were relentless.  The 1978-79 winter was a long, bitter winter of deep snow after horrendous winters in 1976-77 & 1977-78.

The first 10 of 12 days in January 1979 had lows below zero at West Lafayette.  Today’s high was only 3.  +1” snow pack was on the ground from January 2 to March 3 at West Lafayette.  January 28-February 21 had 11” or more on the ground at observation time.

January 10, 1975

Severe weather outbreak with damaging straight-line winds associated with a QLCS squall line roared through the area.  Boone, Cass, Montgomery, Pulaski, Carroll, Clinton counties had damaging winds with gusts to 63 mph.

January 11, 1975

The same storm that produced severe weather in the viewing area on the 10th, produced strong, non-t’storm winds of 50-60 mph in the early morning hours of the 11th, resulting in power outages.  This powerhouse storm also brought a blizzard to the Plains & Upper Midwest & a tornado outbreak to the southeast U.S.  Until October 2010, this storm had the lowest central pressure of any storm on record in Minnesota & Wisconsin with 968 mb at 7 a.m.

January 12, 1847

Flooding continued on the Wabash River after an ice storm, storm & then a thaw with heavy rainfall to welcome 1847.  Wabash is reported to have crested on the 15th 11’ above flood stage.  The Tippecanoe River was in “major flood” in White & Carroll Counties.  The second stories of buildings were flooded by the St. Joseph River at South Bend on the 15th with the crest.  Rutherford B. Hayes also made reference in his January 6, 1847 diary entry of a major flood at Upper Sandusky & Tiffin, Ohio (between Columbus & Toledo).

January 13, 1918

One major snowstorm & one true blizzard within 5 days dumped up to a total of 20” of snowfall in parts of the area.  In the first 13 days of the month, up to 29” fell in the area & none melted.  Total snowfall between the two storms included:  Kokomo 20” (29” fell January 1-13), Crawfordsville 16.8”, Rensselaer 16”, Frankfort 13.8”, Whitestown 11.4”, Marion 11”, 8” Wheatfield, West Lafayette 7.5”.  As the Toledo Bomb (similarities to Cleveland Bomb in the Blizzard of 1978 & a similar storm on New Year’s Eve 1863-New Year’s Day 1864) blizzard on the 12 caused 40-55 mph winds, white-out conditions & drifts of 15’ occurred as all the snow was blown about.  Temperatures dropped well below zero & wind chills hit -50.

The actual air temperature dropped to -21 at Rensselaer, Kokomo, -20 West Lafayette, Crawfordsville Wheatfield, Marion & Whitestown.

January 13, 1964

Most of the 1960s were cold & snowy & the winter of 1963-64 was no exception.

On this date in 1964, up to 9” of snow fell in the area with winds gusting as high as 50 mph, leading to white-out conditions.  Drifts reached 10’, Purdue closed & thousands of travelers were stranded.  It was nearly as bad as the blizzard of 1977 & 1978.

January 13, 1927

9 inches of snow fell at Lafayette

January 14, 1871

Ice storm in Newton, Jasper, Pulaski & Fulton counties “did immense damage…….to trees”.

January 15, 1997

The second significant winter storm in a week hit the area.  5.6” of snow, sleet & glaze ice was measured at West Lafayette after 7.3” of snowfall the 10-11th.

With these two storms, the snow & ice depth reached 12” at Attica.  6.4” of snow, followed by 6.4” of snow & sleet fell at Chalmers between the two storms, while 6.6” of snow, sleet & glaze ice on the 10-11th, was followed by 3.5” snow/sleet & 0.5” glaze ice at Crawfordsville.  9.2” of snow & sleet was followed by 4.5” of snow, sleet & ice at Monticello.  8.5” of snow was followed by 9.2” of snow, sleet & ice with the second storm at Rensselaer, when that 9.2” added up to 1.32” in melted precipitation.

This was the deepest snow/ice pack in several years.

January 15, 1893

With a around a 14” snowpack from several previous snows, clear skies allowed the temperature to drop all the way to -25 at the Purdue weather observing station.

January 16, 1802

There was widespread comment among the early pioneers on the very mild winter of 1801-02 in the Ohio Valley & parts of the eastern Midwest.  At the White River Mission northeast of Indianapolis:

“Jan. 18.  The weather this month is as nice as in spring.

Feb. 9…as the weather is very beautiful & springlike…

Mar. 2  The weather was as beautiful as in spring; in fact, we suffered little from the cold this winter in that it was generally cold only for a few days at a time.  As to snow, we hardly have any.  The climate here is quite different from that below, in that the weather sometimes changes two or three times a day.  In weathern Pennsylvania & in Ohio, the comments of the mild winter continued:  January 8th: “Our days are as warm as the latter end of April and but little frost at nights.”

There was talk of climate change during this period after a string of mild winters in the eastern U.S.  Many were talking of how much warmer it had become compared to the brutal winters of 1700s.

In the Notes on the State of Virginia:

“A change in our climate however is taking place sensibly.  Both heats & cold are become much more moderate within the memory even of the middle-aged.  Snows are less frequent & less deep.”

“An attempt to account for the change of climate which has been observed in the Middle Colonies in North America.”  This was written after a string of mild winters in the late 1760s.

January 17, 2005

Unusually heavy rainfall in the early half of January resulted in flash flooding & river flooding.  January 1-17th 4-7” of rainfall fell area-wide brought significant Wabash River flooding.  The 6th highest river crest on record occurred at Covington at 28.87’, or 12.87’ above flood stage.  At Lafayette, the 12th highest crest on record occurred at 25.03’ or 14.03’ above flood stage.

January 18, 1977

Today was the 8th day of the month with overnight lows lower than -10 at West Lafayette.  In fact, January 16, 17 & 18 had lows of -19.  5 more nights during the winter would drop to more than -10.  Interestingly, 1977 had an early spring with 60s & 70s early in March with above normal temperatures largely from March to May.  By early-mid April temperatures were 80-85 on several consecutive days.

January 19, 1975

January was very gloomy & gray with measurable precipitation on 11 of the first 19 days of the month at West Lafayette.  Most of this was persistent, steady light to moderate rainfall.  Snow finally fell in the latter part of the month, but was still below-normal with 4.4” of total snowfall total.

January 20, 1854

Tornado roars through Fulton & Kosciusko counties.  It was reportedly “600-700 yards wide” with “buildings blown down; trees uprooted”.  Other destructive tornadoes with many injured, even killed, occurred in Ohio.  A large, deadly, long-track tornado occurred in Georgia.  A “violent storm of wind & hail” occurred in southwest Indiana at New Harmony & “a hurricane” was reported at Manteno, Kankakee County, Illinois.

Unseasonable warmth accompanied the severe weather.  It was 60 degrees mid-morning at New Harmony, Indiana & 68-70 in southeast Indiana & western Ohio by midday.  I could not uncover in local temperature data, however.

January 21, 1844

The winter of 1843-44 was mild & 1844-45 was regarded as an unusually mild winter with little snowfall.

However, despite very mild 1844-45 winter, spring was backward with heavy frosts in May, wiping out many advanced crops.  This combined with a dry, droughty May & overall dry spring & crop failures occurred with early farmers plowing up burnt cold-stressed & dry soil-stressed corn.  This all occurred after 81 in late March, mid 80s for a while in April, followed by much colder weather by early May.  Four waves of frost & freezing weather occurred in May.

In spring 1844, temperatures neared 90 in April (Huntertown, Indiana, north of Fort Wayne reached 87).

January 22, 1843

1842-43 was an odd winter of extremes.  It has generally been regarded as one of the worst winters on record for snow & cold with widespread death among livestock with feed shortages in the area.  However, January was actually very warm, sandwiched between a nasty December & a brutal February & March with severe cold lasting into April.  The February snows & brutal cold are reported to have “killed thousands of prairie chickens”.

The “thaw commenced on January 6”, but after “very pleasant weather for some days & springlike”, a “very severe snowstorm” was reported on January 31.

Oddly, January 1843 ranked up with January 1890 & 1876 & 2006 as the warmest on record.  Tornadoes were reported in Ohio & Pennsylvania with the very mild weather in January 1843.  January 19-24, 1843 was very warm in Indiana with 60s & some 70s causing maples to “burst into blossom” & the “frogs to be heard”.  The warmest temperature occurred on this date with 75 at St. Louis & 68 at Chicago with 66 north of Fort Wayne at 2 p.m.

It has been observed in historical documents that this season was so backward that April was colder than January & that uncommon frosts occurred into late May.

January 23, 1903

Two storm systems passed in three days with snow, brutal cold & strong winds.  A total of 11.5” fell between the two storms at West Lafayette.

January 24, 1941

The winter of the 1930s & 1940s were known for their lack of snowfall.  1941 was no different, as today was the first snowfall over 1” for the winter with 3” at West Lafayette.  Only three days had snow prior to this with 0.5” in each round.  2.6” finally fell at Rensselaer on this date.  The first 1” of the year fell on January 5 at Kokomo with 5” of snow on this date.  5.5” finally fell at Marion & Crawfordsville picked up 6”.  After a snowless winter, 3.8” fell at Whitestown on this date.

January 25, 1950

The warmest January day area-wide since 1890 & 1876 occurred on this date.  Logansport, Peru, Monticello, West Lafayette, Frankfort, Delphi, Whitestown, Crawfordsville all hit 70°.  69° occurred at Kentland, Winamac & Rochester.  Morocco hit 68° & Kokomo 72°.

January 26, 1978

Great Blizzard of 1978; surface low bombs out near Cleveland causing wind gusts of 60 mph with Arctic cold, which dropped wind chills to -60.  Heavy snowfall from storm amounted to over a foot over most of the area with drifts exceeding 15’.  However, there was already quite a depth of snow on the ground prior to the storm, leading to final snow cover of upwards of 2 feet.  The entire viewing area was paralyzed.

The Blizzard of 1918 & 1864 bore similarities in wind, cold & the snowfall.  At West Lafayette, at least 1” of snow was on the ground for a record 61 consecutive days in 1978 (January 13-March 15) with many days in late 1977 with snow pack.  Snow cover was on the ground a record 65 consecutive days at Frankfort, 62 at Rensselaer, 61 days at Logansport & 60 days at Crawfordsville.

January 27, 1864

After a brutal start to the month, highs exceed 60° across the viewing area January 27-28.  Lafayette reports 64° on the 27 & 28th.  Crawfordsville hit 66° on the 28 followed by a 2-3” rainfall January 29-31.

January 28, 1967

Damaging ice storm in the south, snow/sleet blizzard in the north……..glazing ice with strong winds downed numerous trees & power lines, while a driving sleet & snow blizzard hit Newton, Jasper, Pulaski counties.  This is the storm that brought the historic blizzard to Chicago with +20” of all snow.

7.9” of sleet & snow at Rensselaer added up to a whooping 3.23” of melted precipitation.  1.26” of precipitation fell at Crawfordsville with 1.5” of that being snow & sleet & the rest ice with some rain.  Of the 1.64” of precipitation at Frankfort, 1.5” was snow/sleet & the rest was ice.  At Fowler 2.22” of melted precipitation was only 4” of snow & sleet, while the rest was damaging ice.  1.77” of precipitation amounted 3.5” of snow & sleet with the rest a damaging icing event.  Of the 1.71” at Whitestown 1” was snow & sleet with the rest ice & even plain old cold rain.

This was the worst ice storm until the great ice storm of 1991.

January 28, 1839

Major winter storm dumps 6” snow, then ice on Lafayette with a major thaw with flooding rainfall from eastern Pennslyvania to Maine.  Heavy snowfall of up to 12” fell from western Pennsylvania to southern Indiana & northern Kentucky.

January 29, 1963

Arctic blast drops temperature to -25° at Lafayette & Delphi.

January 30, 1944

January 1944 was a record-breaker with no measurable snowfall recorded, very little rainfall & plenty of bright, dry, warm days.  It was one of the warmest, driest & was a very rare snowless January on record.

4 consecutive days hit the lower to middle 60s in the viewing area 25-28th, but on this day it still ran 48-55.  In the 60s stretch, Rochester peaked at 67, Rensselaer & Crawfordsville peaked at 64, West Lafayette, Kokomo, Whitestown 65, Wheatfield 63.

Silver & red maples were said to be budding late in the month with daffodils “way up”.

Only 0.36” of rainfall occurred in the month at Rensselaer & Kokomo, while 0.30” fell at Marion.  0.13” fell at Crawfordsville, while just 0.25” rainfall fell at West Lafayette for the month.

January 31, 2008

5-8” of snow fell in our northwestern counties after spring-like flooding, warmth & even storms in January 2008.  7” snow fell at Rensselaer, 5.5” Kentland.

January 31, 2011

Historic multi-faceted snow, sleet & ice storm began in the area with treacherous roads & white-out conditions of heavy snow & winds gusting to 53 mph.  10-14” of snow fell in the north half of the viewing area, including 13.8’” at Chalmers.  The 2010-11 winter was cold & very snowy with the lowest negative NAO readings since 1977.  IT was the snowiest winter since the winter of 1981-82.




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