On These Dates In Local Weather HistoryJanuary 9th, 2013 at 6:02 pm by Chad Evans under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog
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.
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.
February 1, 1982
Storm dumps 20” at Kokomo, 14” Romney, 12” at Kewanna, 11.8” of snow on Logansport, 11” Kentland, 9.5” in the city of West Lafayette, 9” Purdue Agronomy Farm at West Lafayette, Rochester, 8” Perrysville & 7” Wheatfield in the very snowy winter of 1981-82 (continuation of those brutal winters of the late 1970s, early 1980s). Nearly every winter was very snowy & cold from ‘76-77 through ‘81-82 (1973-74 was a rough winter with heavy snowfalls & bitter cold, too).
February 2, 2011
A major winter storm came to an end in the area with up to 0.3” of glaze ice in our southern counties, 4-8” of snow & sleet & up to 16” of snow in our northern counties. Winds gusted as high as 53 mph, resulting in white-out, blizzard conditions in our northern areas with drifts to 12’. 14” of snow fell at Morocco & Rensselaer, while 12” accumulated at Kentland. 15-16” fell along the Kankakee River in Newton & Jasper counties, while 13.8” of snow was measured at Chalmers & 11” at Rochester.
Damaging ice storm occurred in our southern & southeastern counties with up to 0.3” of glaze, while a mix of snow, sleet & ice brought 6” of accumulation to Attica, 8” at West Lafayette, 9” at Galvestion, 7” near Frankfort, 6” Tipton & 4” at Crawfordsville.
February 3, 1883
Destructive ice storm over northern 2/3 of viewing area, while flooding rains fell in the rest of Indiana, bringing historic flooding to the Lower Wabash & White River valleys. “Incredible tree damage” occurred in White County with “many telegraph poles snapped……..merely by the weight of the accumulation of ice………..saplings were bent down by their burden of ice………..icicles four to five inches in length hung from every little twig”. W.A. Goodspeed stated, “pronounced by many old & observant citizens [of White County] to be the heaviest [ice] they had ever witnessed.”
February 4, 2008
Very dense fog from morning to afternoon in the northwest half of the viewing dropped visibility to near 0. Numerous accidents occurred with several injuries & fatalities. A semi could not see a train or even flashing signals in Boswell, causing it drive straight into the passing train, injuring the two semi occupants critically. Not seeing the semi, a car & pick-up crashed into the semi, trapping a driver. Another semi then struck the pile-up, killing the trapped driver. This was one of many accidents on this day due to the fog.
February 4, 1856
Extreme cold in the area with -22 for a morning low temperature at Lafayette.
February 5, 1890
The highest temperatures ever experienced so early in the season came to an end on this date in 1890. Comparing the modern record, this would be the warmest February temperatures ever experienced in early February with 74 at Lafayette, 74 Crawfordsville & 72 at Logansport. A line of t’storms passed in the evening with hail up to penny size in places.
February 6, 1807
This day became known as “Cold Friday” among the earliest pioneers of the Northwest Territory. In central Ohio, the temperature is said to have dropped 59 degrees with passage of the Arctic Front & storm system accompanied by rain, a “hurricane” & a “violent snowstorm” with a “rapid” snowfall accumulation of “6 inches”. The temperature read -11° on the morning of the 6th with the high temperature only -6° before dropping to -11° at sunset. The Detroit & Chicago thermometers did not warm beyond -8° all day on the 6th accompanied by a “verocious gale”.
February 7, 1925
It was a record-warm day of a 3-day stretch of 60s to even lower 70s in the viewing area. The 73 recorded at Frankfort tied with 1999 & 2000 for the warmest temperature on record for the month of February.
February 8, 1835
Major arctic outbreak comparable with 1899, 1977 & 1994 with extreme cold over the eastern & Midwestern to southeastern U.S. Early Midwest & Ohio Valley weather stations had highs below zero & lows of -30 to -20 with a strong north wind.
Orange trees were killed to the roots in parts of Florida. According to The American Weather Book, temperatures dropped into the single digits in northern Florida. On this date in 1835, a surveyor reported 5” of snow near present-day Pensacola Florida.
This was the major cold wave for the early European settlers to the area (“bitter cold burns & great hardship”). It was reportedly a mild winter “until February; then exceedingly severe weather”. “All old peach trees were lost to the 1835 cold”.
February 9, 2008
February 2008 was an incredibly wet month after a very wet January. This led to widespread river flooding across the area in both months. The 14th highest Wabash crest of record occurred at Lafayette, while the 11th highest crest on record arrived at Covington in early February. Discharge reached a record high at Oakdale Dam in January & second highest in February. At Attica, at least a trace of precipitation was observed on EVERY SINGLE day of February, a first for any month of record. Only 6 were precip.-free out of 29 days at West Lafayette & Kokomo. At Chalmers & Flora, every single day of the month had measurable precipitation, except 8. Much of the rainfall fell February 5-6 with lighter rains & snows for the month. Totals of 3-6” of melted precipitation were recorded for the month.
February 9, 1899
Great Arctic Outbreak of ’99 with -22 on this date at West Lafayette. Temperatures reached as low as -26 in the viewing area. From January 29 to February 14, 12 morning dropped below zero across the viewing area. 3 of the days were at -22, -21 & -20, respectively, at West Lafayette. This was the coldest February weather until another Arctic cold wave in 1905.
February 10, 1977
1977 was by far the coldest February on record. The brutal winter of 1976-77 continued with additional brutal winters in 1977-78 & 1978-79. 1977 remains as the coldest February on record for nearly every single NWS COOP weather station in the viewing area. The average temperature for the month was a mere 7.5 degrees at West Lafayette. Interestingly, 1978 was the second coldest February on record, while February 1979 & February 1980 were among the snowiest on record.
February 11, 2009
A narrow, low-topped squall line on the right side of an intensifying surface low caused damage across the entire viewing area as winds gusted as high as 81 mph. Winds blew a mobile home unto a county road, a roof was blown off a building & a semi overturned on Route 38, all near Dayton with an 81 mph gust.
A barn roof was destroyed by a wind gust to 75 mph in Tipton County.
Numerous trees & power lines were reportedly blown down in Warren, Fountain, White, Cass, Pulaski, Boone, Clinton & Miami counties, while a barn was blown down at Romney. Winds gusted to 75 mph near Lebanon, 65 mph Frankfort, 64 mph at Peru, 60 mph at Lafayette & Crawfordsville, 59 mph at Kokomo & 54 mph at Rensselaer.
February 12, 1862
Flood on the Wabash River deemed “very destructive”.
February 13, 1905
Coldest weather since the Arctic Outbreak of 1899……11 of the 15 days from February 2-16, nightly lows were below zero in West Lafayette. This includes two lows of -14 & two lows of -22.
Kokomo dropped to -20 on this data, as did Marion. Crawfordsville dropped to -22, as did Whitestown. In fact, Whitestown dropped to -22 on three nights during this cold wave. 6-10” of snow was on the ground area-wide during the cold wave.
The February of 1905 remains one of the coldest in the viewing area.
February 14, 2007
A blizzard snow came to an end with 10-17” of snowfall. Strong winds & blowing snow brought the viewing area to a standstill with drifts to 10’ in rural areas. 17” of snowfall were measured at WLFI, making it the second heaviest snowfall on record in comparison to the West Lafayette/Lafayette area dataset. The top 24-hour total was 20.5” on December 19-20, 1929. Logansport, Rossville & Clark’s Hill also measured 17” of snow with 16” at Akron, Attica, Frankfort & Williamsport, 15” at Galveston & Kokomo, 14.9” Crawfordsville, 13.5” at Tipton, 13” at Brookston, 12.1” Earl Park & 12” at Rochester, Rensselaer, Francesville & Royal Center.
February 15, 1909
Disastrous ice storm comes to an end in Benton, Newton, Jasper, Pulaski counties with accumulations of up to 1.5”, which did substantial damage to trees & powerlines.
February 16, 1867
Flood of 1867 with crests 25’ above low water mark at Covington. The Terre Haute crest on the 21st was 25.3’ above low water. River ran high late February to mid-May from “excessive” rains & snows.
February 17, 1883
Flood of 1883 reaches its peak with second highest crest on record at Lafayette with 31.1’ or 20.1’ above flood stage. The fourth highest Wabash crest on record occurred at Logansport on February 1 with 20.3’ or 5.3’ above flood stage.
February 18, 1910
A major snow storm struck Indiana. Although 2” fell at Rochester & 3.2” fell on Rensselaer, parts of the southern & east-central parts of the state picked up nearly 20” of snow (Bloomington 18.7”, Columbus 18”, Richmond 15.6”). 10.8” fell at Marion, 8.8” fell at Kokomo, 8” at Whitestown & 7.5” at West Lafayette.
February 19, 1832
Flood on the Wabash River just prior to the earliest construction of the Wabash-Erie Canal at Fort Wayne. All river systems from the Ohio to the Wabash, White to Whitewater & then the Lower Mississippi were in flood in late winter 1832. Significant flooding occurred all the way to Pennsylvania & even on the Delaware River.
During this time, 6 people were killed when “a storm” damaged a building at Lawrenceburg, Indiana.
Weather records show steady periodic, sometimes heavy, rainfall occurred in our region for about 4 days north of a surface warm front. The heaviest rainfall occurred to our southeast where historic flooding occurred on the Ohio.
February 20, 1885
The 1884-85 winter was a brutal with intense cold & heavy, heavy snows. 33 days were at or below zero during the winter in Newton County. January 22, 1885 was said to have been the coldest night of the winter with -33 recorded at Morocco, tying the record for the viewing area of -33 set in 1887 at Lafayette. A temperature of -31 was recorded on December 19, making this the coldest temperature in the viewing area in the month of December.