Tonight-Monday Forecast……..On These Dates In Local Weather History March 4-May 6March 7th, 2013 at 9:40 pm by Chad Evans under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog
Slow erosion & break up of the stratus overcast continues in the area. In fact, where patches of stratus remain, temperatures are steady at 31 or 32. Where skies have clearing, temperatures have dropped into the 20s.
A few ragged chunks of low stratus may hang on & migrate around the viewing area overnight-Friday morning underneath inversion, but Friday overall looks mostly sunny. However, tonight-early Friday morning, patchy freezing fog may develop along with heavy frost & patchy black ice.
Lows tonight will run 15-21 with highs Friday at 39-46. Saturday will feature windy conditions (southeast to south-southeast winds at 15-35 mph) & high temperatures at 45-54.
With any chunks of stratus burning off Friday morning, the next round of cloud cover will arrive as high cirrus Friday evening-night. This will thicken to altostratus with perhaps some virga (brief wave of rain evaporating before it reaches the ground) Saturday morning. This will be followed by altostratus/cirrus/altocumulus (mostly cloudy) skies with some dim sun off & on. Winds will be strong from the southeast with this & will remain strong Saturday night as low stratus deck arrives. Periodic showers will arrive Sunday morning & last into the afternoon. By evening, I would not even rule out a couple t’storms.
The most widespread rainfall will likely pass Sunday night Monday morning with temperatures going from a high Sunday of 55, down to around 50 for a bit Sunday evening, then rising to 62 Sunday night-early Monday morning. Temperatures will fall all day Monday with stiff west wind to 35 mph, rain tapering & mostly cloudy to cloudy skies. Temperatures will be in the 40s most of the day with 30s by late afternoon.
Total rainfall may run 1-2″, which will lead rivers & streams exceeding flood stage some.
March 4, 1880
Severe weather outbreak occurred in the viewing area & over a good chunk of Indiana.
A tornado, likely an EF2, is said to have struck the “northwest side” of Lafayette area. Coming from the southwest, it struck at 9 p.m. & was “600 yards wide”. Splinters of wood were found a “great distance” from the twister as the tornado began on the northwest side of Chauncey, continued northwestward, doing heavy damage to barns & homes, heavily damaging a bridge over Wildcat Creek, then two ice houses, 56’ high 107’ long & 70’ wide (with 2500 tons of ice), were “blown to splinters” with debri blown over a mile. Many stables & farm builders were completely destroyed.
A tornado hit Indianapolis at approximately 10:30 p.m. with substantial damage, while “considerable damage” was reported in Lafayette from very strong winds & heavy rainfall from the storm passage around 10 p.m.
A tornado near Alto, in Howard County killed one & injured 9 when the twister destroyed a house shortly after 10 p.m.
Other damage occurred in Warren, Fountain & Clinton counties with numerous downed trees with outbuildings damaged, even destroyed.
On this same night, a major tornado “caused immense damage” (2 fatalities, numerous injuries) in part of Toledo, Ohio at 11:15 p.m., while tornadoes likely hit Spencer, Indiana at 10 p.m. & Liberty, Indiana “in the early morning hours” of the 5th. A “great loss of property” from damaging winds was reported at Madison, Indiana (just north of Louisville) at 5 a.m.
Widespread wind damage occurred 40 miles southwest of Bloomington, Indiana near Odon. It was written that wind leveled many old buildings & blew down fences & orchards.
This appears to have been a racing squall line with a bulge in the line in the Warren to Howard County areas with an embedded tornado likely at the top of the line kink, which may have produced damage at Lafayette & then the bigger damage at Alto. The storms hit at the same time at Spencer & Lafayette & if you drawn a line they line up nearly due north & south, meanwhile the Howard County storm hit shortly after 10 p.m. with Indianapolis getting hit with a tornado at 10:30 p.m.
March 5, 1828
The growing seasons were so long & the winters so mild in the mid & late 1820s that settlers raised cotton in Indiana. In fact, a cotton gin was built at Springfield, Illinois & Worthington, Indiana. The cotton industry collapsed in the early 1830s when a series of hard winters & uncommonly late frosts crushed the early investments in the Midwest. The winter of 1827-28 was exceptionally mild & appeared to rank up with the very mild winter of 1875-76 & 1889-90 in the Midwest & Ohio Valley. Daffodils were in blossom & American elms budding at Lexington, Kentucky in late January 1828. Peaches were reportedly blossoming in Arkansas in January 1828.
However, the coldest air of the season in many 1820s winters hit in late February or early March, before a nice, warm spring commenced.
March 6, 1956
A significant outbreak of severe weather occurred in the viewing area with 6 confirmed tornadoes. Golfball- to baseball-sized hail fell in a swath from near Radnor to south of Bringhurst to northwest of Burlington while an F2 tornado in Carroll County ripped through areas 1-1.5 miles northwest of Delphi.
An F2 tornado near Dunnington, in Benton County, injured 3 people & caused $1/4 million in damage, while another F2 injured 1 person as it tracked 2 miles from northwest of the Route 18/Co. Road 500E intersection to north to north of Galveston Airport to Co Road 700E.
Yet another F2 tornado touched down between Amboy & Converse in Miami, while an F2 did damage to farms northwest of Windfall. In White County, an F2 tornado did $3,000 in damage by side-swiping farms 1-1.5 miles northwest of Monticello. In Grant County, a significant F4 tornado killed 1 & injured 31 people as it tore through homes. A $¼ million in damage was done (1956 dollars).
March 7, 1961
Clean-up continued after 6 confirmed tornadoes roared through Warren, Tippecanoe, Clinton, Howard & Boone counties during the early morning hours of the 6th. All were F1’s & F2’s, but 2 large F3’s hit Howard County. 1 person was killed & 5 were injured while damage amounted to nearly $600,000 (1961 dollars).
March 8, 1943
Coldest March weather since 1868 occurred in our northwestern counties (Rest of the area, 1872 was the coldest March weather on record). Many of the records were not even broken by the 1960 Arctic blast. Wheatfield had a low temperature of -15, Frankfort -13, Rensselaer & Kentland both dropped to -11, Kokomo bottomed out at -10, Whitestown -8, & West Lafayette -3.
March 9, 1868
Heavy vegetation damage occurred after this early false spring.
March was called “very warm & pleasant” in 1868. March 4-12 was said to be very warm & spring-like. The first spring peeper frogs were calling March 4 & “all signs of spring [were] abundant” in early March with daily highs in the 60s & 70s.
However, late March & the first week of April was cold with early blooming, leafing & budding trees heavily burned by uncommonly hard frosts & lows of 20-25.
March 9, 1945
1945 was generally an early spring & warm summer with ample rainfall, leading to a very, very productive growing season. This was the earliest last date in spring with a temperature at or below 30 degrees at West Lafayette. Interestingly, the next year was also an early spring with one of the earliest last occurrences of 30 or less on March 11.
March 10, 1828
Today was the first of two main crests on the Wabash in the flooding, stormy spring of 1828 in the viewing area. Wabash is said to have been 27’ above low water mark south of Perrysville. As of 2011, the crest on March 15 is the 4th highest crest on record at Terre Haute with 28’. River is said to have been “well above flood” at Lafayette to Logansport.
March 11, 1962
An F3 tornado tracked through northern Boone County from near the 47/I-65 interchange to southwest of Kirklin. Much of the tornado’s path was over rural farmland & woodlots, but damage to a couple of farms amounted to $25,000 (1962 dollars).
March 11, 1990
A very rare potent early warm spell occurred, but was largely known for its incredibly warm nights. The overnight low temperatures were above 60 for 5 nights in parts of the area. 5 days with the temperature staying above 60 with highs of 75-80, is an extremely rare feat in early March.
At West Lafayette, overnight lows of 63, 62, 62 & 62 with highs in the mid to upper 70s occurred after intense t’storms & 66 degrees dumped 3.85” of rainfall on March 10.
Highs of 65 or greater occurred March 10-16 with 4 days in the upper 70s & lows of 64, 63, 63 & 62 March 12-15. Even at Wheatfield, 4 days peaked with 79 on 12 with lows of 59, 60, 61, 62 & 60.
Such warmth caused vegetation to rapidly bud & bloom prematurely. After hard freezes with lows in the teens & highs only near 32 by March 20, magnolia, forsynthia, red maple & Bradford pear blossoms were wiped out. Clusters of flower buds on fruit trees were burned by the cold.
I just remember the tulip tree leaves at home as big as a squirrel’s ear being covered in snow & ice at the end of the month & all of the green, leafed-out spirea bushes wiped out.
March 12, 1976
1 person was killed & 17 injured when 7 tornadoes descended in the WLFI viewing area in the late afternoon & evening of March 12, 1976. The strongest tornado was an F4 in Carroll County. An F3 in Jasper County & another F3 in hit Newton County. The Newton County was the only killer tornado with the 1 death in Newton County.
The WLFI viewing area wasn’t the only region to see tornadoes that day. A tornado damaged part of O’Hare airport in Chicago, killing 2 people. Numerous homes were damaged or destroyed in a tornado in the southwestern suburbs of Chicago & a supercell storm produced a tornado in Kankakee County, before the twister crossed into Newton County.
Interestingly, only 7 days later, an F4 tornado struck Tippecanoe County, injuring 6. Another 2 were injured in Carroll County by this same twister. This was apart of another outbreak which produced 18 tornadoes in Missouri, Illinois & Indiana, killing 8 & injuring 66 total.
Mid-late March 1976 was warm with numerous days in the 60s & 70s, contributing to the April & May-like severe weather.
March 12, 1991
Great ice storm of 1991: Numerous roads were closed by fallen trees, limbs & snapped power poles as 1.5-2” of ice covered all surfaces. A State of Emergency was declared across the viewing area with shelters opening after thousands lost power. 80% of Clinton County lost power while, 75% of Jasper County lost utilities. The icing was not as bad in Fulton & Miami counties, where there was more snow & sleet, than freezing rain.
At West Lafayette 2.80” of precipitation was recorded with most of it freezing rain (only about 0.10” of it was snow [1” measured). At Romney, 2.24” of precipitation was measured, but only around 0.06” of was likely snow, as just 0.6” of snow was measured.
It was the worst ice storm in the viewing area since January 26, 1967.
March 13, 2006
A supercell (with origins in Kansas on the 12th) merged with two supercells to form one main, monster storm of large hail & tornadoes. Moving at an average speed of 44 mph, it produced a total of 18 tornadoes across 7 states, killing 3 people. Moving out ahead of a developing squall line, the monster storm’s twister count included a pair of damaging F2 tornadoes with widths of around 0.4 miles at Springfield, Illinois. The storm then produced a funnel cloud at Kentland with 1” hail after midnight on the 13th. A swath of 0.88-1.5” hail fell through Newton, Jasper & Pulaski counties. The storm produced extensive wind damage in Marshall & Kosciusko counties with buildings damaged & trees & powerlines knocked down.
March 14, 1872
Major March cold wave; the worst since 1833 (1868 in our northwest counties)…………similar to 1960 & 1943. Widespread temperatures below 0 occurred in Indiana & Illinois with readings as low as -12 in the viewing area.
March 15, 1971
An F2 tornado cut through fields 1-2 miles southwest of the Route 47/U.S. 52 intersection in Boone County. Two people were injured when the twister hit their house. A wind gust of 58 mph was reported at Old U.S. 231 & South Beck Lane. Winds gusted to 60 mph southeast of Kirklin & near Sheridan.
March 16, 1906
+1” snow was on the ground March 11-25 with a peak depth of 9” March 19 & 20 in West Lafayette. March 1906 was unusually cold & snowy with single digit temperatures on the 12th, 17th, 18th, 19th & 22nd. The warmest temperature of the month with 55 on the 26th & every night was at or below freezing for the month except 4.
The temperature reached it lowest levels on the 16 or 17th in the viewing area with 1 at West Lafayette, Kokomo hit -1 (0 on two other mornings), Marion 3, Crawfordsville -1, Whitestown -8 (3 mornings below zero).
March 17, 1868
St. Patrick's severe outbreak: This event had widespread wind damage that “extended over much of Illinois & Indiana” with significant damage from the “hurricane” at Springfield, Illinois. No tornadoes were reported, but lots of what appeared to be straight-line wind damage occurred.
March 17, 1989
St. Patrick’s Day severe weather event brings damaging straight-line winds & some 0.75” hail to Tippecanoe , Clinton, Warren counties, downing trees, power lines & outbuildings.
March 17, 1989
St Patrick’s Day severe weather event brings damaging straight-line winds & some 0.75” hail to Tippecanoe , Clinton, Warren counties, downing trees, power lines & outbuildings.
March 18, 1906
A late-season snowstorm began with 8.3” of snowfall accumulation by March 19 at West Lafayette. Marion picked up a whooping 12”, while Kokomo measured 11”. This heavy band extended southward with 13” at Bloomington, Indiana. Crawfordsville had 9”, Whitestown 8”, while 6.5” fell Rensselaer & 7” at Winamac.
March 19, 1948
Severe weather outbreak hit the viewing area & throughout the Midwest. Wind gust of 100 mph was measured at Kokomo & wind cups were blown off of the anemometer at the Indianapolis airport with a measured gust of 95 mph.
Widespread, significant wind damage occurred from Tippecanoe to Howard County as a squall line blasted through the area.
Damaging tornadoes occurred in Illinois & Missouri. A total of 52 people were killed & 300 were injured in the Midwest. Just 7 days later another severe outbreak would occur with a long-track, violent tornado near Indianapolis & tornadoes in Warren County.
March 19, 2012
The last of the substantial cold usually occurs around this time. The average last occurrence of 20 at Crawfordsville is March 18, Romney, West Lafayette, Delphi, Logansport & Whitestown March 19, Frankfort & Winamac March 20, Rensselaer, Rochester & Perrysville March 22, Kokomo March 23, Kentland & Marion March 24, Wheatfield & Peru March 26.
March 20, 1866
Tornado outbreak blasted through the viewing area.
A railroad bridge destroyed by tornado at Lafayette caused a train derailment. An ice house was destroyed & several buildings damaged in the city of Lafayette
Lebanon, Indiana Tornado: “Tornado left scene of run never before witnessed on morning of March 21st. Came like an avalanche, hurling fragments of trees and buildings in every direction.” Another damaging twister reportedly occurred at Connersville.
In Montgomery County, near 7 p.m., a large tornado roars through Scott Township. Originating “three quarters of a mile north of the southwest corner” & moved “diagonally” across the township. The noise of the twister could reportedly “be heard for miles”. Several homes & farms were “demolished” with others on the edge suffering roof & structure damage. Three children & one wife of a family were killed, while another resident was blown “100 yards & most seriously wounded. Many were more or less injured.” A 12-acre cornfield of A.W. Armstrong was nearly swept clean of stubble & fodder. Debri, machinery, clothes & building material were found “miles away”. A pitched roof of a residence was found 15 miles away from the tornado track. A bureau drawer was found 8 miles from the tornado track & a tin-wash boiler was found in the forks of an oak tree 35’ from the ground. This tornado track is said to have run all the way to near Terre Haute, destroyed vast amounts of timber & killing many animals in its path.
Hail was reported at Rensselaer.
March 21, 1976
Clean-up continued after a large, multi-vortex F4 tornado tore through areas just northwest of West Lafayette. Several farmsteads were damaged & one home was totally destroyed. This tornado was photographed & researched greatly by Purdue Geosciences Professors E.M. Agee, J.T. Snow, F.S. Nickerson, P.R. Clare, C.R. Church & L.A. Schaal who documented the many suction vortices within the parent funnel. This supercell originated near Charleston, Illinois.
March 22, 1916
One person was killed at Monon & another at Logansport by one, possibly two nighttime tornadoes. The damage was the worst, reportedly, in northern White County. Two others were killed in the tornado path from collapsed buildings & a total of 100 people were injured.
Additionally, a narrow path of destructive damaging winds was reported in southern Newton & Jasper counties with additional damaging winds outside of the tornado in Cass & Miami counties. A train was blown off the track & toppled. Property damage was immense for the time. The Weather Bureau Monthly Weather Review reported “conservatively estimated” damage at “$1,000,000 to $1,500,000” (1916 dollars).
This was part of a much larger, major tornado outbreak that killed 112 people & injured 741 from the Midwest to southeast U.S., 58 tornadoes were confirmed, 27 of which were killer tornadoes.
March 23, 1907
The viewing area was in the midst of some of the warmest March weather ever experienced. Today was the third day the temperature reached 83 at West Lafayette & the morning low was only 61, when the average HIGH is 51. Another high of 83 would occur at West Lafayette on the 26th, forcing vegetation into bud & flower. Marion had 4 days in the low to mid 80s with 84 on 23rd & 85 on the 26th, while the low temperature on the 22nd, 27th & 28th was in the lower 60s.
Crawfordsville had 4 days in the 80s, including 85 on the 21st & 84 on the 22nd.
Remarkably, the low temperature at Whitestown on the 28th was just 67.
March 24, 1975
Between 2:15 & 2:35 a.m., a squall line of damaging winds of 60-75 raked Fountain, Montgomery, Clinton, Carroll & Boone counties as a strong low pressure pivoted through Iowa.
The strong, occluding low brought strong winds of up to 40 mph during the day of the 24 with sunshine in the dry slot in the morning with a low stratus cloud deck pivoting in the afternoon with falling temperatures through the 50s.
March 25, 1836
There was 6-8” of snowfall on the ground in the Lafayette area, though this was regarded as the first decent day with more spring-like weather in months. This was the first day at sap reportedly ran from the sugar maples. Even March 19, the Wabash in Lafayette was said to be “full from bank to bank of floating ice”.
March 25, 1884
A severe weather outbreak occurred in Indiana with damage reported from Brookville & Seymour, Indianapolis to Monticello. A destructive storm unroofed homes, destroyed barns & knocked down numerous trees around Dayton, Tippecanoe County at 6 p.m. with the “greatest damage was done at points south & east of this city”.
A tornado wiped out the town of Scipio in southern Indiana, but no tornadoes were reported in the viewing area. Other tornadoes occurred in Fayette, Jefferson & possibly Hancock County in Indiana.
March 26, 1913
Record crest on the Wabash in downtown Lafayette at 32.9’. Wildcat Creek crested a whooping 15.4’ above flood stage at 25.4’ on 28th.
March 27, 1948
Clean-up began after several tornadoes struck Indiana on March 26. 20 people were killed in Coatesville, Indiana (west of Indianapolis) as a tornado hit the town head-on. Two tornadoes occurred in Warren County, one southwest of Pine Village & another northwest of Williamsport. Numerous trees were toppled & several farms were damaged.
March 28, 1902
A high of 69 at West Lafayette, 71 at Crawfordsville & 68 at Kokomo fueled a squall line along a surface cold front & rapidly-developing surface low. This produced damaging winds of up to 75 mph across the viewing area knocking tree & limbs, as well at fences down. Heavy damage occurred to business, trees & homes from Peru to Fort Wayne, especially. 5 were killed & 11 injured by a tornado near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from this storm system. Other tornadoes with fatalities occurred in the southern U.S. with one significant tornado near Crowley, Louisiana.
March 29, 1910
March 1910 was incredibly warm & remains as one of the warmest Marches on record, still, for the viewing area. It was also the driest March on record for a large portion of the viewing area.
Some of the warmest temperatures on record for the month of March occurred this month with 87 at Rensselaer & West Lafayette, 86 Marion, 85 Kokomo & Crawfordsville & 84 Whitestown. Logansport & Delphi hit 87.
West Lafayette, Crawfordsville, Rensselaer & Marion hit +80 4 times during the month, Kokomo had 3 & Rochester 2. Only 1986, 1942 & perhaps 1921 & 1915 rivaled the hot temperatures so early in the season.
Remarkably, not a single drop of rain fell at Kokomo during the month & just 0.11” of rainfall occurred at Whitestown in April 1910, making it still the driest Aprils on record at those locations. Just 0.33” fell at Rochester, making it the driest of record, while the 0.34” was also the April record driest. A measly 0.05” of rainfall at Marion still remains as the driest April on record.
March 30, 1999
For a good chunk of the viewing area 1999 had the earliest last freeze on record. This was the earliest last freeze on record at Delphi, Frankfort & Perrysville when the average last freeze date is generally around April 25, nearly a month earlier than normal. At Attica, the record early last freeze occurred March 28 & at Rensselaer at March 29. Spring 1941 is another year noted for an unusually early last freeze. The latest freeze on record at West Lafayette & Crawfordsville occurred March 30, 1941 & on April 4, 1941 at Kokomo.
March 31, 2012
The high temperature at West Lafayette on this date was just 57 degrees, one of only 3 daily high temperatures below 60 in the warmest March on record.
The main feature of the month was an historic “heat wave” in mid- to late-March which brought incredible temperatures for the time of year. It was the warmest period for March since 1910. For 9 consecutive days, high temperatures either near or in the 80s occurred in the viewing area.
At the Purdue Agronomy Farm COOP station, highs in the 80s occurred on 9 consecutive days March 14-23 with 82, 82, 80, 80, 82, 84, 86, 87 & 82. The 87 on March 21, tied for the all-time maximum temperature reading for the month of March in the 1887-2012 West Lafayette data set.
At WLFI-TV, this period had highs at 82, 82, 81, 79, 81, 84, 85, 87 & 83. Kokomo COOP had 80, 80, 80, 75, 82, 82, 84, 86 & 84.
Rensselaer reached 87 on March 21.
Winamac COOP station hit 82, 80, 80, 78, 80, 82, 84, 86 & 84 during the “heat wave”.
Plymouth had 82, 82, 80, 78, 82, 82, 84, 87, 84.
The nights were also very warm. Overnight lows did not drop below the 60s at the Ag Farm for 3 consecutive nights & WLFI had 5 nights in the 60s. Even Winamac had 3 consecutive nights that did not drop below 60.
The very warm weather forced vegetation into leaf & blossom nearly a month ahead of schedule. At West Lafayette, Flowering Dogwoods reached the peak of blossom by March 31, White & Black Oaks had leaves the size of a squirrel’s ear on March 29. The lilacs were in bloom March 22 & Eastern Redbuds blossoming on March 18. Some tuliptree leaves were near full growth by March 27.
April 1, 1845
The first commercial telegraph line was opened on this date. This made the science of weather forecasting possible as observations could be gathered in real time, plotted on a map and forecasts drawn from the data. Communities could also be warned about approaching severe storms and tornadoes.
April 1, 1877
Three miles northwest of Onward, Cass County, a tornado destroyed the United Brethren Church.
April 1, 1875
The first daily newspaper weather map was published by the London Times. The first American newspaper weather map would be published on 5/12/1876 in the New York Herald. Weather maps would first appear on a regular basis beginning on 5/9/1879 in the New York Daily Graphic.
April 2, 1941
Other than 1999, 1941 is regarded as having the earliest last freeze on record for parts of the viewing area. The earliest last freeze on record at West Lafayette was April 2, 1941.
April 2, 1837
Large, historic winter storm pivoted up the Mississippi & Ohio Valleys, dumping 17” of snow on downtown St. Louis & 24” in surrounding areas & 9” at Minneapolis (then Fort Snelling). A glaze of ice thickly accumulated in central & northern Indiana to Michigan.
April 3, 1911
Thunder & lightning occurred in burst of snow in Lafayette. Same phenomenon reported in Frankfort.
2” of snow fell at Rensselaer, 2.7” Kokomo, Crawfordsville 1.9”, 1” West Lafayette & 1.5” Whitestown.
April 3, 1974
Super Outbreak of 1974: A long-lived, violent supercell produced damage from eastern Illinois to Warren County then northeastward through Tippecanoe, White, Cass & Fulton counties. An extremely long track tornado was produced with this supercell from Warren to La Grange counties with a large, wedge, multi-vortex twister of F4 frequently observed. Rainsville in Warren County experienced damage as the tornado first developed with the first initial touchdown from the storm near Pence.
Monticello was the hardest hit community with significant destruction wrought. The Monticello was the longest-track tornado of the outbreak at 109 miles. The twister narrowly missed Chalmers, but directly hit Monticello, then heavily damaged Rochester & nearly completely destroyed Talma. 8 people were killed in White County & 6 in Fulton. As a testament to the tornado’s strength, the historic White County courthouse was so heavily-damaged, it had to be demolished, a steel railroad bridge was obliterated northeast of town with mangled pieces found in Lake Freeman & railroad ties (weighing 250 lbs. each) were found from this bridge 10 miles away in farm fields.
April 4, 2007
Devastating freeze burned off tender vegetation & cost fruit farmers millions of dollars in the region.
12 days of 70s, even 80 in the viewing area March 14-April 4, allowed vegetation to advance rapidly for the time of year. Not only this, but some insect-eating bird species returned early, including swallows & swifts.
It was on this date, the coldest April temperatures since 1982 roared in, causing catastrophic damage to Indiana’s fruit crops & significant damage to blooming & foliating trees. Most trees did not recover until May & even some light snow fell with several days of highs at 29-32 & lows of 18-22.
April 5, 1843
After a very warm January, the very backward spring continued with very cold & snowy weather February, March & April of 1843 with a very late spring (almost as late & as cold as spring of 1857). Lakes were reportedly completely frozen over enough to walk across in our northern counties. Over a foot of snow was on the ground in Fulton County & up to 18” of snow was on the ground in Lake County, Indiana. Large ice floes continued to float down the Wabash at Lafayette in early April 1843 with “no grass for cattle”. By May 8, “vegetation only slightly advanced; cattle barely find sufficient food”. However, this was said to be the last of the cold in the “the hard winter”.
April 5, 1909
Severe weather outbreak occurred in north-central Indiana. Several homes & buildings were damaged by a tornado when it hit Galveston, while another tornado began in Miami County hit Wabash, Indiana directly. One person was killed by that tornado with several homes were destroyed by the estimated low-end EF3 strength.
77 killer tornadoes occurred, nationwide, in 1909, the highest number in the U.S. on record (since 1895) until 1917.
April 6, 1857
April 1857 was the coldest on record, by far, in the state of Indiana. In fact, the overall temperature at Indianapolis was 6.37° colder than February 1857. 8 days had mornings in teens or lower, including single digits on the 6 & 7th with “snow drifts as in mid-winter” on the 6th. The thermometer never exceeded 70 the entire month with accumulating snows on 3 days. Even on April 28, the sunrise temperature at Lafayette was 23° & 25° at Indianapolis. It was a very dry month, similar to the very dry months of 1856 where less than 1” of precipitation occurred. Record at Indianapolis stated, “westerly wind have prevailed [this month]………wind was west or northwest 15 of the 30 days of the month.
April 7, 1860
Very warm start to April ensued in 1860, not seen at such a level until 2010. Temperatures registered 82 at 2 p.m. at Crawfordsville & Rensselaer. Lafayette hit a high of 84. This warm spell referenced by many early pioneers stating that forests leafed & greened up in a matter of a week. One wrote of the “summer heat” & how the sky was “bronzed & hazy as if burned by a brick kiln.” This may be a smoke reference due to the dry, windy, warm month with the prairies ablaze. This was followed by 6 consecutive days of freezes area-wide April 24-29.
April 7, 1948
Tornado tracked from near Rob Roy to Odell, a total of 10 miles. 4 people were injured with numerous buildings damaged or destroyed in the two communities & in-between. A trooper explained that it looked like “a lazy column of smoke rising from the center of the field.”
April 8, 1906
2 miles southeast of Royal Center, Cass County, a tornado destroyed Emanuel Evangelical Church. 6 people were injured by at least 2 tornadoes in Illinois.
April 9, 1873
60’ feet of railroad track was washed out between Montmorenci & Otterbein by waves of heavy rainfall 6 p.m. Sunday (April 6) to 1 a.m. Wednesday (April 9). The Wabash rose rapidly at a foot an hour for a while on April 8, before overflowing over the bottomland. In the city of Lafayette, many basements were flooded & gullies of up to 6’ deep were formed east of Fourth Street to Kossuth to the railroad tracks. At Fifteenth & Congress, a large, deep gully washed out.
Three surface lows caused widespread rainfall & t’storms April 6-7 with highs near 70 & lows only around 60. April 8-9, surface low tracked to our south & widespread heavy rainfall overspread area with temperatures in the 40s.
4-8” of rainfall occurred during this 3-day period.
April 9, 1953
Two supercells carved a path of destruction across the viewing area. The first one popped an F2 tornado in Newton County, damaging areas near Goodland. The other produced a long-lived, violent F4 with a path across Warren, Tippecanoe, Clinton & Tipton counties. 5 people were killed & 22 injured in Warren County, where some farmsteads were nearly obliterated. The tornado damaged parts of Frankfort & Tipton where 1 person was killed & 6 injured. Interestingly, the first hook echo, with a supercell north of Champaign, was observed with the new, early, pioneering weather radar installation at Champaign.
April 10, 1995
A late-season ice storm struck our northern counties on the night of April 9 to the early morning hours of April 10 with power outages & limbs broken in Jasper, Newton, Pulaski & Fulton counties.
April 11, 1940
During the evening, an unusual 2.7” of snow fell at Lafayette atop budding & blooming trees & plants. Numerous accidents were reported between Earl Park & Fowler, causing back-ups. A 21 on the following morning, with heavy frost damaged emerging plants, leaves & blossoms. This followed 80 degrees measured on April 3.
After 79 degrees on April 3, 5.6” of snow fell at Rensselaer with a low temperature the night of the snow at 19. After 82 on April 3, 5.0” of snow fell at Kokomo. A low of 17 damaged trees & plants. Plymouth had 79 measured on April 3, but picked up 4.2” of snowfall with a low of 17 degrees. The 81 at Crawfordsville was proceeded by 4.5” of snow & a low 20 on the morning of April 12. Whitestown, in Boone County, had 80 on April 3, only to pick up 3.7” of snow on the evening of the 11th & drop to 15 degrees by the morning of April 12. Again, like all other areas, any emerging vegetation was greatly damaged.
April 11, 1965
Palm Sunday Outbreak: Two monster HP supercells carved a 47- & 45-mile path of destruction across the viewing area. Supercell#1 carved a 47-mile path with 3 separate violent F4 tornadoes from Tippecanoe to Clinton & Howard counties. 18 were killed & 600 injured in Howard County alone with 90% of Russiaville damaged or destroyed. The second supercell carved the 45-mile path from Fountain through Montgomery, Boone & Hamilton counties. 28 people were killed & 136 injured. 11 were killed in Lebanon alone when 54 homes were destroyed.
April 11, 1872
Montmorenci Methodist Church was destroyed by a “wind storm”. Other tornadoes occurred in central & southern Illinois. Temperatures rose into the upper 70s with a strong surface low passing from Jefferson City, Missouri to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, dragging a strong surface cold front through the area.
April 12, 1907
Major damage was done to blooming fruit orchards & budding/flowering trees. An unprecedented cold snap for mid-April hit the area with accumulating snowfall.
Record warmth in late March & mild weather into early April forced & advanced plants far forward, contributing to the damage (low to mid 80s for several days in March).
2.5” of snow fell at West Lafayette April 13-14. A total of 1.6” of snow fell in the cold snap at Kokomo with 5.3” at Marion. Temperatures dropped 18 at Whitestown, 20 at Kokomo, 25 at West Lafayette, while Marion had 21 on the 15th.
April 13, 1863
Snow flurries were reported at Rensselaer & Lafayette in the morning as a cold wave nipped foliating & blooming trees. Highs struggled to 40 on this date with a gloomy, unseasonably cold day. Interestingly, it was back well into the 70s in the area on the 17th. The Rensselaer weather diary says, “Very warm. Butterflies make their appearance” on that date. The first chimney swifts & bumblebees were recorded at Rensselaer on the 18th.
April 14, 1968
In White County, an F2 tornado heavily damaged several farms southwest of Reynolds amounting to $¼ million in damage, while an F1 tornado touched down northwest of Tipton. North of Romney, at South Raub, winds gusted to 60 mph.
April 15, 1987
Clean-up continued after an F1 tornado began near Sharpsville in Tipton County, crossed Route 26 near Oakford in Howard County & lifted near County Road East 200 South about 2 miles northwest of Hemlock. Farms & homes were damaged with the tornado occurrence on the afternoon of the 14th.
April 16, 1870
A very late snowfall of 2-5” occurred across the viewing area.
April 16, 1961
An incredibly late significant snowfall event occurs with highly-unseasonable cold since March 29. Even on the 10th, the high was 36………the 13th 41…..even April 2 had a low temperature of 21.
On this date, with a high of just 33, 5.0” of snow fell on West Lafayette.
8.3” at Rensselaer & 8.0” Winamac, while 7.0” accumulated at Kentland, Rochester & Marion, 6.6” at Delphi, 6.0” Logansport & 5.4” Romney. Whitestown measured 4.9” of snow. With a high of just 36, Frankfort measured 4.5” of snow.
April 16, 1860
At 8:30 p.m. a “brisk gale from the northwest…………..with heavy thunder & zig-zag lightning to the southwest” observed at Rensselaer. He reported a hard storm northwest of Otterbein. Another reported explained that a tremendous “hurricane” was reported to have caused damage northwest of Otterbein, while strong winds knocked trees down near Battle Ground & Lafayette with some store fronts damaged by wind & hail.
April 17, 1926
6.5” of wet snow fell with heavy snow & very large flakes making visibility very difficult at Lafayette. 6.5” was also measured at the Purdue Agronomy Farm northwest of West Lafayette. Snow fell near noon to evening. With temperatures around 32-33, a lot of the snowfall melted as it hit the ground with warm ground temperatures. It was reported that the snow was so heavy that it probably would have accumulated 12” if it were colder & not late April. Regardless, it was the heaviest snowfall on record for so late in the season.
The heavy, wet nature of the snow broke many tree branches & blanketed greening trees & plants in wet clinging to every single twig & branch. By noon the next day, the snow had largely melted, except for shady spots, however.
3” fell at Rensselaer (24 after snowfall), 4” at Kokomo (26 after snowfall), nothing at Crawfordsville (just rain), but temperature dropped to 26 after the system. At Whitestown, 1.5” of snow fell with the temperature dropping to 25 degrees after the system.
April 17, 1963
A large F4 wedge, violent tornado raced through Newton, Jasper & Pulaski counties 5-5:45 p.m. injuring 20 people. Owing to its visibility on the tail of the storm during daylight, no one was killed, however. Damage amounted to $2.75 million (1963 dollars).
April 18, 1922
13 people were killed & more than 150 injured by a violent late afternoon tornado in Warren County from northwest of West Lebanon to Williamsport. “Many buildings were laid in ruins [in Williamsport]”, according to reports. Numerous farmsteads were also destroyed in the county with the town of Hedrick almost entirely destroyed.
April 18, 1875
The coldest temperatures so late in the season equaled the unusual April cold of 1857. Temperatures dropped to unprecedented single digits & around zero in southern Michigan.
After a brief warm-up of 70s with severe weather around April 8 with a deadly tornado southwest of Springfield, Illinois & a long-lived wind event from Illinois to Indiana (derecho), extreme cold wiped out any budding vegetation by mid-April in our viewing area & throughout the Midwest & East.
New York City had 10” of snow on April 13 & Washington D.C. had a high of only 33 on April 17.
At Lafayette & Logansport, lows of 18 were reported on April 16, 17 & 18th. Indianapolis had 21, 19 & 19 on the 16, 17 & 18th. Only 1857 had such cold weather so late. Overall, the spring & summers of 1875 were cool & wet, but the 1875-76 winter was the warmest on record – a record that still stands to this day for the region.
April 18, 1856
An outbreak of severe weather occurred in our viewing area on this date with additional severe weather to our east with damaging tornadoes reported in far northwest Ohio, York, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & Wilmington, Delaware(spawned by the same system) on April 19. In fact, at Philadelphia, 224 dwelling were written to be damaged or destroyed by the twister with 6 churches & 19 factories damaged. 9 people were injured by it.
April 19, 1881
Called the “severest tornado & hailstorm to strike Cass County” in the History of Cass County, a half mile wide tornado, frequently accompanied by large hail, tore through Cass County.
Many buildings & chimney were heavily damaged in Logansport with “hundreds” of window glass panes blown out. It is said to have “destroyed everything movable in its tempestuous pathway.” “Tearing up trees” and “demolishing outbuildings” it killed numerous livestock. Reports state that the funnel was full of the tops of trees, shingles, roofs & numerous personal objects were said to have been “carried a long distance through the air.”
A severe windstorm hit Wabash County with damage to buildings, while a tornado hit Evergreen, Indiana (DeKalb County), damaging or destroying 17 buildings.
April 20, 1896
Severe weather outbreak occurred in the viewing area with wind damage reported in Tippecanoe, Cass, Montgomery, Fulton & Miami counties. Reportedly, “Roof & chimneys were damaged by the high winds; crops & fences were blown down; cellars flooded & considerable loss was entailed upon electric companies by blowing down of their wires & poles.” Storm damage was reported in Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio & northwestern Pennsylvania April 18-21st. Though only one tornado was officially reported (in northern Ohio west of Cleveland), it is likely there were more, based on the damage reports. Rather weak surface low tracked from southeast Nebraska to eastern Michigan, dragging a surface cold front through the area.
This followed some of the warmest temperatures ever recorded in April with 85-90 on April 18-20th. Up to this time (since 1870), this was the warmest April on record in the region. Amazingly, highs in the lower 90s occurred in the mid-Atlantic & upper 90s in the Carolinas.
April 21, 1895
A late, significant spring cold snap brought lows of 19-25 in mid-April. This decimated the Eastern Phoebe populations in Indiana. The Eastern Bluebirds also took a hit. These bird species, along with other migrating birds starved to death in this freeze.
Two major cold snaps in the brutal winter of 1894-95 (-20 in two cold snaps in late December & mid-February) evolved into a warm, early spring. The late, hard freeze put the icing on a rough, snowy winter, but they were not as rough as the 1884-1889 winters (& the horrendous winter of 1881-82).
April 22, 1912
10 are killed & 27 injured by a late evening tornado at Morocco. Another 50 were “bruised by flying debris”. 20 homes were reportedly destroyed in Morocco with the tornado hitting town “from end to end” Two more people were killed east of Morocco by the twister with an additional 20 farmsteads destroyed.
April 23, 1978
A storm with 1” hail produced a brief F1 tornado (300’ wide) that caused extensive damage to 22 mobile homes in Lafayette north of St. Elizabeth near Greenbush. This amounted to $1/4 in damage (1978 dollars). Another F1 tornado touched down in Howard County.
April 24, 1852
Tornado of “such destructive & terrific character” hit Burnettsville “completely demolishing” the Baptist Church, “a large frame structure sixty feet long & thirty feet wide”. The home of John McCormick was “completely demolished……except for the floor” & many homes were “blown off their foundations”. The track was said to be narrow, though the storm was “severe on either side of the [tornado] track”, but damage was “slight”.
April 25, 1983
Today marked the end of the extremely backward spring of 1983. The winter was extremely mild with very little snow & lots of 50s & 60s. A false spring began in early March with 70s & overnight lows only in the middle to upper 50s.
However, March 23-April 25 was unusually cold with nearly every day in the 40s & 50s. Highs on April 16, 18 & 19 were only in the 30s with lows of 20-25. An amazing 90% of the overnight lows March 9-April 25 were in the 20s & 30s & lower. The latest first occurrence of 80 degrees occurred in 1983 with 80 on June 6! The first temperature above 80, 82, occurred on June 9!
Interestingly, the summer of 1983 was long, brutally hot & very dry with a record number of 90-degree days in parts of the viewing area.
April 26, 1957
A squall line of severe t’storms, with origins in Nebraska, Iowa & Minnesota, blasted through the viewing area around noon. It spawned 3 tornadoes & several swaths of damaging straight-line winds. An F1 tornado occurred 5-6 miles southwest of Wheatfield, in Jasper County, while another F1 touched down 1-2 miles north of Denver, in Miami County. In Fulton County, an F0 touched down 6-7 miles northwest of Rochester.
April 27, 1994
This was the 85th tornado of this outbreak that began on the afternoon-evening of April 25 in Colorado & Nebraska.
This outbreak was known for one of the strongest tornadoes in the country that year occurring near West Lafayette; a strong F4 with winds of up to 210 mph. Today, on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, winds over 200 mph would be an EF5, the highest category for tornadoes.
11 homes were totally destroyed by this twister, when it roared through after midnight of the 27th, with 17 sustaining major damage & 7 having minor damage. 88 mobile homes were damaged or destroyed, in addition, 13 multi-family dwellings that sustained heavy damage. Lafayette Venetian Blind & two gas stations near U.S. 52, motel at I-65 & 43 & the State Police Post sustained moderate to heavy damage. This violent twister continued on a 14-mile track from Klondike to southeast of Springboro in Carroll County with material losses that amounted to at least 5 million dollars. Three people were killed & 70 people were injured.
This same storm produced damaging straight-line winds on its northside of up to 70 mph, at Pine Village (northern Warren County) & Templeton (southeastern Benton County), which felled numerous trees. At its end, it produced a 60 mph straight-line wind gust at Flora after making a slight right turn to the east after a continuous northeastward track.
Another long-track tornado, with winds of up to 157 mph blasted Pulaski & parts of Fulton County along its 20-mile path. The tornado that the storm produced was labeled an EF2 on the original Fujita Scale, but by today’s revised Enhanced Fujita Scale it would be an EF3. Beginning just southeast of Francesville, the twister continued through Pulaski & far northwest Fulton counties before lifting as it entered far southwest Marshall County. At the end of its track, the storm produced a damaging, very intense microburst, that downed numerous trees & destroyed a storage building (resulted in 50,000 dollars in damage). Although this twister traveled largely over open, rural farmland, it did level several farm buildings & grain bins & one farm house was damaged. Also, a mobile home was lifted up by the tornado & thrown onto a car, destroying both. No deaths or injuries were reported, but damage exceeded 1/2 million dollars. The development of this tornado coincided with an intense hail core in the storm that produced golfball-sized stones (1.75″) north of the tornado track.
Another tornado, an F0, with winds up to 72 mph damaged two barns, as well as irrigation equipment north of Medaryville, in Pulaski County.This particular tornadic t’storm produced numerous reports of 0.75-1″ hail in Newton & Jasper counties. Damaging straight-line winds of up to 72 mph destroyed a barn & broke, uprooted several trees near Rensselaer.
The squall line BEHIND the supercells also produced damage (& several tornadoes in Illinois). Lightning caused a major fire at Cooksey Sawmill in Williamsport, that amounted to 1/2 million dollars in damage. Numerous trees were felled by straight-line winds across northern Clinton County.
A 1/2 million dollars in damage was done to a Subway restaurant & adjacent store due intense straight-line winds of up to 100 mph at Crawfordsville. There was also heavy damage to trees & powerlines with many windows blown out of other businesses. As the roof was blown off the Subway, the flung roof damaged several other businesses nearby.
Interestingly, this same system caused 5 million dollars in damage to the Indianapolis Raceway Park by extreme straight-line winds that did much structural damage.
April 28, 1971
Farm work & planting was done in a very timely manner in 1971; it was the driest April on record for many areas. It was the all-time driest April at Monticello with just 0.93”, Logansport with just 1.08”, West Lafayette with 0.70”, Wheatfield 0.69”, Romney 0.48”
2010 was on track to beat 1971 for dryness before substantial rainfall occurred late in the month.
I spoke with a farmer who remembered the dry April very well. He was preparing a field at the time with a cultivator hooked to a cabless tractor. He explained that that dust stirred up by the cultivation of the dry soil was so bad, he could hardly see or breath & that the silty dust of the soil totally encompassed & covered him in dry, powder. He explained how unusual he thought it was to get into the wet spots in April & have the ground work like it would during the hot, dry summer days.
April 28, 1893
A severe hailstorm hit the Purdue campus with large stones.
April 29, 1963
A tornado touched down in Carroll County at 7:49 p.m. & quickly strengthened to F2 with peak at F3 status. The twister was on the ground for 18.6 miles.
April 30, 1962
Significant severe weather outbreak occurred with winds officially gusting 60-110 mph in central Illinois with unofficial gusts to 135 mph, while winds gusted as high as 85 mph in the viewing area. The line of storms brought widespread wind damage & 4 confirmed tornadoes.
5 people were injured by an F2 tornado in Newton County, while an F2 tornado in Jasper County did ¼ million dollars in damage. An F0 tornado in White County also did ¼ million dollars in damage. An F1 tornado roared through Miami County, while winds gusted to 85 mph in Cass County & 70-80 mph winds struck Benton, Warren & Fountain counties.
May 1, 1838
A large tornado is said to have taken a similar path as the Palm Sunday tornado of 1965 near Russiaville north of “the prairies [called Indian Prairie at the time, a wet, marshy prairie]” of Prairie Township in Tipton County through southern Howard County.
May 2, 1870
Today began a long period of warmth & dry weather with 16 of 31 days in the mid 80s. Of these, three days were in the 90s at Lafayette & Rensselaer. Rensselaer was 92 at 2 p.m. on May 22. Lafayette hit 94 degrees. The lowest temperature of the month was 47 on May 12 at Rensselaer. Mean temperature for the month was 66-70 degrees area-wide.
May 3, 1835
A 1/4 mile wide tornado passed just south of Lafayette (just village at that point) in the evening with heavy damage to “valuable timber”. It unroofed a barn near present-day Route 26/U.S. 52 intersection. A two-story brick home was demolished nearby with at least 3 farms being damaged/destroyed. Remarkably only 1 person was injured.
May 3, 1852
When land for the new town of Windfall (Tipton County) was surveyed in 1852, a large windfall path of destruction through the forest caused the town to be named “Windfall”. It is unclear when this tornado passed through that area at the time, though a road was surveyed to be built from Tipton to near this location in 1849 with no mention of a large windfall from a tornado in the forest.
May 4, 1902
The third consecutive day of record warmth occurred across the viewing area with 87 at Rensselaer, Kokomo, Crawfordsville & Whitestown, 86 at West Lafayette & 85 at Crawfordsville.
May 5, 1836
The newly-completed, first White County courthouse in Monticello was destroyed by a tornado in May 1836, 138 years later, the courthouse was destroyed again in the Super Outbreak of 1974.
A part of this same severe event, a long-lived, large tornado was reported to have struck Grand Rapids & Kent County, Michigan as well. Pioneer farmsteads were reportedly leveled with home debri strewn over a mile away. This was reportedly still a topic of conversation with the earliest settlers of that area in 1881.
May 5, 1870
A severe t’storm with very high, damaging wind reportedly struck Rensselaer around 9:30 p.m. from the northwest. The rainfall continued until 11:30 p.m.
Another intense, damaging storm would strike late month.
Overall, however, May-July 1870 was very hot & dry.
May 6, 1909
Severe storms blast area with West Lafayette very hard hit by tremendous hailstorm & flooding.
Storm made the city totally cut off from water pumping station for 12 hours.
Hailstones the size of walnuts accompanied torrential rainfall, which caused severe flooding in the storm with rainfall 3:45-5 p.m. with the height of the storm at around 4:15 p.m. The flooding in the Happy Hollow area was reportedly the worst ever seen “by the oldest in habitant”.
600 panes of glass of a greenhouse were shattered on north Salisbury Street by the hail. 58 panes of glass were broken at Purdue greenhouses on campus. Tree foliage was reportedly heavy shredded with streets nearly covered in leaves & branches from the hail. The leaves & branches clogged many drains, only increasing the flooding issues.
May 6, 1960
Severe t’storm winds of 80-85 mph blasted through parts of Benton County. At 4:42 p.m. a wind gust of 81 mph was measured 2 miles north of Otterbein.