Hey Everyone!March 8th, 2013 at 10:56 pm by Chad Evans under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog
I will be gone with family until Sunday. I will have another posting Sunday afternoon. Thank you everyone & have a great weekend! -Chad
For those in the mood for spring & summer here is local weather history March 9-July 15.
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 latest 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, 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.
Interestingly, a very late snowfall of 2-5” occurred on this same date in 1870.
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.
May 6, 1876
An outbreak of severe weather occurred in the viewing area & the region.
At least 4 tornadoes were reported in Indiana & Illinois. From southern Hamilton to Madison County, Indiana, at 5 p.m. a tornado shaped like “an hour glass” & “colored dark black”, cut a destructive 20-mile track. This tornado destroyed homes & barns & killed numerous sheep, pigs & cattle. A tornado hit the southern Illinois city of Carbondale, as well as Neoga, Illinois with heavy damage wrought. The central Illinois town of Anna was hit. Chicago was also hit by a twister, at ¼ mile wide, which heavily damaged & even demolished parts of the city.
Interestingly, at 3:15 a.m. early on the morning of the 6th, a twister struck part of Leavenworth, Kansas damaging buildings.
May 7, 1839
Early-mid May 1839 was very warm in the Midwest (with a warm, warm spring & summer to fall, overall with drought). Early May 90s were recorded on numerous days at St. Louis, while Fort Snelling Minnesota (present-day Minneapolis) had upper 70s to 80. Early Logansport record had unseasonably warm 88, which would be a record high for the date by today’s NOAA COOP data set. Hot weather was also measured at early U.S. government weather stations at Newport Barracks (Louisville, Kentucky) & College Hill, Ohio (Northwest of Cincinnati).
Spring was very early & very warm in the Midwest & Plains with “the first week of April like mid-May or later” with “unseasonable warmth” in May.
1839 was a hot, hot, dry summer with low water levels reported at most weather stations & rivers in the Midwest with unseasonable warmth through much of the autumn.
May 8, 1840
This is deemed the coldest May day on record in our area. With overcast skies, strong winds & highs only near 40, “overcoats & gloves were needed” amidst “spits of snow”. The system that brought the unusually cold air brought a likely 1 mile-wide EF5 tornado to Natchez, Mississippi on May 7 at 1 p.m. This twister is the second deadliest in U.S. history, just behind the Tri-State tornado of 1925 where 695 people were killed. 317 people were killed, with other severe weather & flooding occurring in the South. Other unusually cold, gray, wintry days in May with highs of only 40-45 occurred in 1940 & 1961.
May 9, 2000
1 person was killed in a moving vehicle at Hillsboro when a tree fell on it. 3 people were injured in Waynetown when another tree was toppled onto another vehicle. Widespread damaging straight-line winds raked the viewing area with numerous trees & power lines being downed by winds up to 80 mph. The strong winds damaged 4 homes at Clark’s Hill & golfball-sized hail pelted Attica, Williamsport, Lafayette & Lebanon. A barn was destroyed near Logansport & trees fell on cars & homes in the city. A construction trailer was flipped over & numerous large trees limbs were downed at Peru.
Damage from this squall line in central & northern Indiana resulted in millions in damage, including $1 million in damage in Whitley County alone with another $1 million in damage to structures in Fort Wayne & $3 million in damage to business & homes at Huntertown, Indiana.
May 10, 1934
Spring 1934 was overall the driest on record for the viewing area. West Lafayette picked up just 3.47” of rainfall in the March-May period. It was also the record-driest at Rensselaer with 3.69”, Monticello with 3.73”, Rochester 4.92” & Kokomo 4.59”. Whitestown’s driest spring occurred in 1932 & Crawfordsville’s driest was in 1901. Wheatfield had 3.85” in the spring of 1934, but was barely beaten in 1958 by 3.79” during the spring for record driest. From Fowler & Kentland to Pence & Perrysville, 1958 had the driest spring on record with 4.30-4.60”.
May 11, 1868
May was hot in 1868 with temperatures in the 90s everyday across most of the viewing area 11-20.
May 12, 1886
Tornado outbreak in the viewing area……
Attica Tornado: F3 tornado began near West Lebanon & crossed the Wabash River at Attica, destroying 200 homes in the city, killing 5 & injuring 12 people. Eyewitnesses reported it sounded like “the roar of a great waterfall.”
Two damaging tornadoes blasted through Tipton County, just missing Tipton by ¾ of a mile & Kempton by ¼ mile. It destroyed the fairgrounds & damaged & destroyed numerous homes & farmsteads, including a well-built two-story brick home. A brick school house was said to have been completely destroyed. “The cries of the injured were heartening and the terror was pictured on every countenance”. One of the tornadoes passed northeast of Tipton, killing at least one person & injuring at least 10. It was also written that widespread damaging winds swept the entire county with the tornadoes with the most widespread wind damage in Prairie Township where “timber & fences suffered terribly”.
Another tornado roared through White County, causing heavy damage from Monon to Bell Center.
At least 7 were killed & 24 injured in central Indiana tornadoes alone that day.
May 13, 1854
Severe t’storm blew down many trees in Lafayette during Saturday night, May 13, 1854. Although summer 1854 featured a horrendous drought with the most extreme heat in a summer since 1846, these storms flooded the city.
Roads & at least one railroad bridge(over Potato Creek) were washed out. Several breaks occurred in the canal. It was reportedly the heaviest rainfall event “in years”.
May 13, 1933
A tornado passed north of Dayton. It destroyed farm buildings & killed one person. About a week later, a Plains & Midwest severe outbreak spawned an F5 tornado near Tyron, Nebraska that caused entire farms to absolutely vanish, leaving just pieces of foundation left.
May 14, 1995
Two high-end F2 tornadoes were confirmed in the area with one destroying 9 homes & damaging 28 others in Lebanon. At Advance, 2 businesses had major damage, while 5 miles south of Crawfordsville, 2 businesses were destroyed, an elementary had major damage with 8 homes destroyed & 9 damaged. A total of 3 people were killed & 5 injured by the twisters.
May 15, 1968
An F2 tornado moved through Tippecanoe & Clinton counties, damaging farm buildings, while baseball-sized hail pelted parts of Montgomery County. Straight-line winds of up to 75 mph blasted Carroll & Clinton counties.
To the intensity of this severe outbreak, a long-track tornado began in Wabash County & did not lift until it was east of Fort Wayne.
May 16, 1857
Spring 1857 was unusually cold. The yellow daffodils did not begin to blossom until May 5 & the “sugar trees” (sugar maples) did not even begin to bud until May 6. Early writings also documented that the sugar maples & apples finally reached blossom on this date (16th), but the beeches did not reach blossom until May 20th. Locust trees were still bare on May 24. Walnut & sycamores did not reach full leaf in the forests until June 19 & as of June 1, notes from the Indiana State Board of Agriculture state that the “forests were not yet in leaf” in Central Indiana.
May 17, 2012
Several reference to Midwestern & Plains tornadoes were made by our Native American peoples, as tornadoes have been ravaging the Midwest & Plains for thousands of years.
The Kiowas explained in a legend that……………
“the first twister came about when ancient tribes people attempted to mold a horse from clay. ‘The beast took shape’, recounted one storyteller, ‘but it was a terrible thing: It began to writhe, slowly at first, then faster & faster until there was great commotion everywhere. The wind grew up & carried everything away. The Kiowas were afraid of that awful thing & it went running about, talking to it. And at last it was calm.’ Ever after, when the black clouds began to swirl, Kiowas knew the monster was approaching: Lightning cames from its mouth, & the tail, whipping & thrashing on the air makes the high, hot wind. Kiowas speak to it, saying, ‘Pass over me.’ And in time, it does.”
May 18, 1883
A major tornado outbreak hit Missouri to Illinois & Indiana with Illinois hit the hardest. There, it was the 5th largest outbreak on record with at least 14 EF3 to EF5 & 5 EF1 & EF2 tornadoes in central & northern Illinois. 98 people were killed with 221 injured.
These storms gelled into a squall line that raked the area with damaging straight-line winds that passed after midnight on May 19 well ahead of a cold front.
All of Tippecanoe County is said to have suffered “serious damage”. Factories were unroofed in Lafayette with numerous large trees uprooted & snapped. Homes were unroofed or damaged & many large trees were downed across the county. A heavy wagon was thrown 300 yards. It is said the “west side” of the city suffered the worst damage (probably present day Chauncey Hill, West Lafayette).
A testament to the intense updrafts of the storms, pebbles were found in the large hailstones southwest of Springfield, Illinois. A teaching certificate was carried 50 miles from a tornado in Missouri.
May 18, 1926
Tornado struck areas west of West Lafayette at 5:30 p.m. Twister appears to have been on the ground for about 6.5 miles from 3 miles south of Newman Road/Route 26 to present-day Morehouse Road (near Kalbarer). The worst of it is said to have existed at Route 26 & Newman Road.
At the Minor Morehouse farm, a chicken house was picked up & thrown 900’, while the entire house was shoved 6” off the foundation with the chimneys blown off. A garage was destroyed & large trees were uprooted. If not uprooted, trees had their tops twisted off. Along the entire “cyclone” path, trees were either uprooted or badly damaged, electric poles were snapped & barns were destroyed.
“Scores of trees” were blown down across West Lafayette & Lafayette with electric poles. “There was hardly a street in the city where trees were not damaged by the wind…………………”numerous signs were destroyed in the city & country”.
May 19, 1977
May 1977 was the hottest May on record for the area after a brutally cold winter, but a warm, early start to spring in March & early April. May 1977 temperatures were more like June, not May. In fact, the temperature for this May exceeded the average temperature for June in many areas.
It was the warmest on record at Winamac, Wheatfield, West Lafayette, Attica, Romney, Rochester, Rensselaer, Kentland & Delphi with May 1911 a close second to the this warmest May on record.
May 20, 1870
Severe t’storm hit Rensselaer very hard. Dr. John Loughmilder stated in his weather diary, “Hail at 5:30p Hail in great quantities & masses……..Some 3” in diameter…..Broke many windows.”
It was also reported that an aurora appeared at 11 p.m. as skies cleared.
May 21, 1956
An F2 tornado crossed Route 14 & 49 northeast of Rensselaer before dissipating near Asphaltum, in Jasper County. Significant straight-line wind damage was reported about 5 miles northeast of Remington & north of Onward in Cass County.
May 22, 1958
Between 1:45 & 3 p.m., a line of storms produced widespread straight-line wind damage from White & Pulaski, through Fulton, Cass, Miami & Howard counties.
May 23, 1870
“Very bright Aurora [Borealis]” or Northern Lights were reported in the viewing areas, specifically at Rensselaer in late May 1870. Another Northern Lights episode was reported on February 23 at 11:30 p.m.
May 24, 1901
Driest spring on record comes to a close at Crawfordsville with just 6.07” March-May. This preceded the extremely hot & dry summer of 1901, which still ranks up with the 1934 & 1936 as one of the hottest on record.
May 25, 1839
Significant severe weather event hit Illinois & Indiana. Gigantic, record-breaking hailstones were measured in west-central Illinois with numerous animals killed (including hogs & sheep) & one woman severely injured by the hailstorm.
The hailstones of New Greenfield, Illinois on this date in 1839 measured 17” in circumference & weighed an average of 1.2 pounds, or were the size of a cantaloupe.
In comparison, the record U.S. hailstone weight was measured at Vivian, South Dakota in 2010 at 1.9 pounds (8” diameter & 18.62” circumference). At Aurora, Nebraska, in 2003, the record largest U.S. hailstorm was measured at 18.75” in circumference.
These storms produced tornadoes & wind damage in central & eastern Illinois & violent storms at Logansport & Lafayette with “hail of extraordinary size”.
May 26, 1911
Record early-season heat wave underway with highs in the 90s & even around 100 degrees 25-28th. On this date Rensselaer hit 97, Kokomo 95, Crawfordsville 93, West Lafayette 96, Whitestown 96, Logansport & Delphi 98. It was also a rather dry month with 1-2” of rainfall area-wide, when the normal is 4-5”.
May 27, 1961
The decade of the 1960s was known for cold snaps late into spring with unseasonable late last frost & freeze dates. The latest freeze on record for most of the viewing area occurred in 1961. Young corn seedlings & garden plants were burned by the unusually late frost/freeze. It was the latest freeze at West Lafayette, Frankfort, Crawfordsville, Kentland, Romney, Logansport & Rochester, while Delphi & Winamac had a freeze even on May 30.
May 28, 1955
A significant high-end F2 tornado tore through eastern Howard County, injuring 3 people & producing damage amounting to $2.5 million (1955 dollars). The tornado began northeast of the Kokomo Municipal Airport, travelled northeast, heavily damaging several farms & destroying farm buildings. The tornado crossed Route 18 & 19 before lifting northwest of Converse, just west of Route 513.
May 29, 1869
At 7:15 a.m. severe t’storms struck the area, specifically Lafayette/West Lafayette as the winds were described as “very violent”. It was “one of the most severe ever known in this vicinity”. “Whirlwinds appear to have been formed, uprooting & breaking off trees, & doing a great deal of damage. Almost every square was marred by some wreck.” Many trees were toppled & many others were heavily damaged.
May 29, 1966
Late May-early June 1966 had 5 consecutive nights of patchy frost in the viewing area with 34-40. Winamac dropped to 32 on May 29.
May 30, 2004
Severe weather outbreak occurred with 7 confirmed tornadoes in the viewing area: F0 near Kentland, Veedersburg, Romney & Atlanta, an F1 at Brook, F2 near Dayton & an F3 at Peru. Two homes were nearly destroyed on Halifax Lane near Dayton with winds up to 150 mph (would be EF3 by today’s modern Enhanced Fujita Scale). Two F0s occurred in cornfields near Romney & Veedersburg with no structural damage. An F0 near Kentland damaged buildings, blew down an antenna, destroyed & fence & grain bins, while snapping two power poles. A barn was damaged & wagon rolled over by an F0 tornado near Atlanta.
An F1 tornado moved through Brook, damaging homes & buildings, uprooting trees, & toppling power poles. A machine shed was destroyed northeast of town & another had its roof taken off. A large tree was toppled near Route 55.
The F3 Peru tornado was the worst of the outbreak with heavy damage to the northwest side of Peru with winds near 160 mph (on the old Fujita scale). Homes & factories were heavily damaged, even destroyed with a large NIPSCO communication tower felled.
There were also damaging straight-line winds with a few embedded microbursts. One of these microbursts heavily damaged a church near Logansport, while a semi truck was overturned by a 63 mph wind gust at Remington. Winds gusted 60-70 mph Benton County & around 60 mph in Newton & Jasper County with 0.88” hail reported at Boswell.
The HP supercells & following squall line produced 2-5” of rainfall, as well, resulting in flash flooding across the area.
May 31, 1858
Tornado hit Lafayette with a storm accompanied by strong winds, heavy rain & hail. It is said to have “come up from the southwest up the Wabash River & switched over towards the northeast along the line of the old canal. The Wildcat Valley seemed to be their objective point.” It has been written that “[the] tin roof of the Salem street Depot was blown off, rolled up like a scroll, carried two hundred feet away & deposited in the commons.” The Wildcat bridge was heavily damaged & numerous homes received at least minor damage with trees uprooted. Another tornado on this day killed 19 & injured 60 in the west-central Illinois town of Ellison.
May 31, 1895
Hottest Memorial Day on record for the viewing area with highs of 95-100. West Lafayette reached 97 after a morning low of 67.
June 1, 1860
This began a very hot, dry early-mid summer after a very warm & dry start to spring. Very little rain reported in the first 27 days of June at Rensselaer. A 0.25” of rain fell July 2, but after that, no rainfall was observed until July 16 when 0.30” fell.
June 1, 1934
The earliest 100 on record was recorded at West Lafayette (104). Widespread record heat occurred in the area with readings as high as 107. This was the beginning of the long, very hot & dry summer.
June 2, 1833
A tornado of up to 1/2 mile wide blasted through Union & Wea Townships south & southeast of early Lafayette in the early morning hours. Trees, fences & barns were completely demolished & thrown great distances.
June 2, 1980
Three rounds of severe weather affected the area with one being a major one with a combination of large hail, severe straight-line wind swaths, microbursts & tornadoes. Widespread damage occurred across the viewing area.
Round one occurred 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the 1st. A combination of golfball-sized hail, driven by winds to 72 mph caused significant tree damage at Crawfordsville. In the bottoms south of River Road to 25 to Old 231, golfball-sized hail fell in Tippecanoe County, while golfball hail pelted vehicles near I-74 & Route 75 near Jamestown.
The second was major, which occurred in the 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. time frame on the 2nd. 1 person was killed & 16 injured by an F3 tornado in Montgomery County. An F1 hit Tipton County. Widespread damaging straight-line winds occurred with several of the winds cores likely families of microbusts & macrobursts. Many farm buildings were damaged or destroyed & several homes sustained minor damage. Hail as large as 2” in diameter accompanied some of the storms.
A third round of severe storms occurred in the 5-6 p.m. time frame & was confined to our northeastern counties with hail to golfball size.
1980 was a very hot, humid & stormy summer, similar to the very stormy summer of 2010.
June 3, 1933
An incredibly, early, intense heat wave began in the viewing area. The 90s began the month, but from June 6-12, 100 or greater occurred in the viewing area, a substantial feat in mid-summer, let alone early June. Rensselaer hit 105 on June 7, 10 & 11, while Logansport hit 105 on the 7th & Delphi 103. West Lafayette had 100 or greater on 3 days, with 101 on June 7th.
June 3, 2011
Squall line with widespread, damaging straight-line winds of up to 70 mph blasted area & broke near-record/record heat with temperatures in the upper 90s to around 100.
After recently heavy rainfall on late-planted fields (due to wet spring) potent soil crust developed on all area fields, baked by the recent heat. Intense t’storm winds picked up dust off this crust & caused a massive wall of rust across nearly the entire viewing area to race eastward. With arrival of severe wind, preceding the rain, the sky assumed a green/yellow/gray/brown appearance with visibility down to 0.25 mile in rural areas. Muddy rain was followed by a wind-driven downpour, dropping the temperature down from 98 to 66 at WLFI.
Wind gusted to 70 mph in Miami & Carroll counties, 60 mph at Mullberry, 58 mph at West Lafayette & 82 mph at Lowell, Indiana.
June 4, 2008
Golf ball to tennis ball-sized hail pelted areas in a long swath from northwest of Francesville to 1 mile north of Monterey, in Pulaski County. The 21-mile strip of significant large hail amounted in millions of catastrophic crop & also minor home & vehicle damage.
June 4, 2002
A severe weather outbreak occurred as an intense squall line crossed the viewing area, downing trees, powerlines & barns in every county. Several semis were overturned on I-65 & Route 26. A 92 mph wind gust was measured northeast of Pyrmont in Carroll County, which overturned 2 cars.
$1/4 million dollars in structural damage was done from the straight-line winds in the city of Lafayette, alone.
Golfball-sized hail fell in Rochester & Roann.
June 5, 1805
A significant round of tornadoes occurred in Missouri, Illinois & Indiana. Early settlers of Montgomery County a few miles southwest & south of Crawfordsville found a massive path of leveled & “prostrated” forest. In this path trees of largely black walnut had sprung up. The giants that had been toppled in the tornado path were still not totally decayed. The age of the new trees matched up with the tornadoes of June 1805. Another such path existed across Marion County between Eagle Creek & White River. The trees were all the same age.
A similar path existed in parts of Illinois & Missouri where a large, violent, long-lived tornado passed on June 5, 1805.
For years afterward, the area southwest, south & southeast of Crawfordsville was called “the fallen timber country” by aging early settlers.
June 6, 2010
6 tornadoes occurred during the early morning hours, injuring two & causing damage from near Monticello to Yeoman, Walton, Deacon & Bunker Hill. The strongest twister, an EF3 occurred in Cass & Miami counties.
June 7, 1965
Swath of golfball-sized hail damaged crops from Tippecanoe County to north of Frankfort. Winds gusted to 63 mph at Green Hill (between Pine Village & Shadeland). An F2 tornado produced $25,000 in structural damage near Atlanta (1965 dollars).
June 8, 1859
Tornado hit Monticello on this Wednesday, which damaged buildings & destroyed a doctor’s office. “The storm did no damage away from the immediate vicinity of the town. “Only one man was injured”, according to local press. “The citizens of Burnettsville not injured by the tornado are contributing to repair the damage.”
Just the day prior, the same storm system produced a violent storm with a damaging tornado at Council Bluffs, Iowa. The storm produced “torrents of hailstones….three wagons were smashed to atoms”. A tree was reportedly carried 7 miles by the twister, but no deaths were reported.
June 9, 1897
Early season heat wave continued with 98-102 on this date in the viewing area. Kokomo hit 104 on June 8 with 102 at Lafayette & 101 at Logansport. On this date, temperatures were as high as 106 in central Illinois.
A “Ring of Fire” pattern was in place with violent storms with flooding rainfall & damage reported (even one killer tornado) in northern Minnesota, Wisconsin & Michigan to Ohio & the mid-Atlantic June 3-14 (5 rounds of severe, violent storms). An upper ridge with cap & intense heat occurred underneath the upper ridge in our area.
June 10, 1963
Severe weather outbreak in Indiana produced an F1 tornado near Romney. Winds of 86 mph were measured just west of the Purdue University Campus.
June 11, 1971
Widely-scattered, (likely elevated or slightly-elevated) supercells along a warm front, separating temperatures in the 70s with dew points in the 50s from temperatures in the mid 90s & dew points in the mid 70s, pelted Clinton County with a tremendous hailstorm. North & northeast of Frankfort, baseball-sized hail wiped-out corn crops over hundreds of acres.
This & other storm gelled on the boundary from Frankfort to Indianapolis. At Indianapolis International Airport, a t’storm wind gust was measured to 63 mph.
June 12, 1858
The Great Flood of 1858 was in full swing with a crest of 28’ on the Wabash River at Lafayette. As of 2011, the June 11 crest is the 5th highest crest of the Wabash at the Brown Street overlook. Numerous covered bridges were destroyed from Peru to Logansport to Lafayette to as far south as Terre Haute. The Wabash was in flood early May to late June 1858. South of Perrysville, at Eugene, Indiana, the Wabash is said to have been “28’ above low water mark”. This was “1’ above the 1828 flood”. The 1858 floods were especially high & destructive in the viewing area with aqueducts, bridges & dams of the Wabash-Erie Canal destroyed around Wea, Shawnee & Wildcat Creeks.
June 13, 1851
A tornado in Bethlehem & Adams Township, Cass County, tore a path through forest, uprooted the apples tree of an orchard & the ripped the roof off Isaiah Kreider’s barn.
June 14, 1880
The town of Cyclone, in Clinton County, was named for a destructive tornado that struck the area on June 14, 1880. A 1913 county history states,
“[It was] the most destructive storm that ever visited the county, either since its settlement or in traditional history. It was a genuine cyclone with a “funnel shaped cloud,” which swept over a curved path of over forty miles in this and adjoining counties, leaving desolation in its wake. It was estimated to have done $200,000 damage in this county. The present town, which was located about that time as a railroad station, was in the path of the storm and was named for it.”
18 people were killed in central Indiana by tornadoes on this day. At least five violent twisters were documented with significant damage.
June 15, 1950
Widespread damage occurred in Tippecanoe County from straight-line winds. “Hundreds of trees” were felled by winds of up to 65 mph at West Lafayette & Lafayette. The heaviest damage occurred in Shelby Township where tree, crop, power pole & building damage was extensive.
June 15, 1975
Crop damage was immense from baseball-sized hail & two F0 tornadoes in Benton County on the 14th. F0 tornadoes were also confirmed in White & Fulton counties with surveys conducted on this date.
June 16, 2010
Clean-up & damage surveys continued on this date after (on June 14) a classic supercell produced two microbursts of 100 mph embedded in 60-75 mph winds in Benton County. The microbursts were accompanied by grapefruit-sized hail that totally obliterated crops over thousands of acres. Several large trees were snapped at the base with some farm buildings destroyed. The same supercell turned southeast into southwest Tippecanoe County, producing golfball to orange-sized hail, two microbursts (65-75 mph) & two gustnadoes. Crop damage was significant here also with a home damaged & a hog barn destroyed.
June 17, 1992
Spring & early summer 1992 was quiet severe-weatherwise. The first severe weather event of the season did not occur until June 17, but it was a substantial one. Widespread straight-line wind damage & tornadoes occurred in Indiana with an F1 tornado (9-mile path) in Carroll County doing $1/4 million in damage (1992 dollars). Golfball-sized hail was also reported in Carroll County with wind damage from speeds of 60-70 mph reported in every county of the viewing area except Pulaski & Fulton.
June 18, 2010
A derecho passed with winds of up to 80 mph on this evening. Originating in central Nebraska near 5 a.m., the matured derecho reached the viewing area by 5 p.m. & continued to central Ohio before weakening in central Ohio at 10 p.m. Trees & powerlines were reportedly toppled in every county. Numerous large oak & hickory trees were uprooted northwest of the Purdue University campus. A measured wind of 64 mph occurred at WLFI.
June 19, 1897
4 killed, 5 injured in barn collapse at Lincoln, Illinois. Severe storms OK, KS, MO, NE 17th & early a.m. 18th “with no decrease in intensity.”
Severe storms in “the mountain regions of PA” on June 19.
A tornado hit Lafayette, picked up a young boy, carried him 20 feet & threw him unto a gutter on Fourth Street, while the wind caused a chimney to collapse into a building on North Sixth Street. Southwest of town, heavy damage was done to farms & homes with many barns destroyed & crops obliterated. The tornado was accompanied by “hail & torrents of rain”. No one was killed, however.
June 20, 1974
Between 7:20 & 8:35 p.m. a fast-moving squall line produced straight-line wind damage in every single county in the viewing area. Winds gusted 63-75 mph. The storms began as supercells & multi-cells in far northern Indiana that produced F3 & F1 tornadoes in Lake & Porter counties.
June 21, 1951
Large, 1-mile wide violent F3 tornado tears through Pulaski & Fulton County, injuring 2 people & producing $2.5 million in damage (1951 dollars).
June 22, 1992
An unprecedented June frost occurred with some damage to corn, soybean & other warm-weather crops. Attributed to the Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption in late 1991 (which lowered the global temperatures due to the ash cloud reflecting sunlight), 1992 had a cool, wet summer, overall. Crawfordsville dropped all the way down to 33°, Kokomo dropped to 34°, West Lafayette to 35°, Tipton 35°, Wheatfield 35°, Whitestown 35°, Delphi 36°, Winamac, Frankfort 36°, Jamestown 36°, Romney 36°, Rochester 37°, Logansport 38°, Attica 38°, Perrysville 39°, Rensselaer 39°.
June 23, 1874
June 1874 was hot with persistent upper ridging in the eastern U.S. It ranked up with 1934 for record hottest. 90s occurred over most days after June 15 in the viewing area. To this day, 1874 was the hottest June on record at Indianapolis & several other Midwestern cities have a toss-up between 1874, 1933, 1934 & 1952 for the hottest June on record.
June 24, 1934
The torrid June of 1934 rolled on with the hottest days ever recorded for June. This occurred just one year after a June that was near record hot in 1933. It ended up as the hottest June on record for Frankfort, Kokomo, West Lafayette, as well as Whitestown.
June 25, 1978
4 right-turning supercells producing 7 tornadoes, golfball hail & microbursts in eastern & central Illinois moved into Indiana during the evening. Two F3 tornadoes with path lengths of 18 & 9.4 miles roared through Tippecanoe & southwest Clinton counties. An 80 mph microburst was produced east-northeast of Lebanon. Another supercell produced 1” hail & a funnel cloud in Tipton & Clinton counties. A long-lived supercell with a history of microbursts produced 0.88” hail at Covington before weakening.
My father-in-law explained to me how the storms took the roof off of their grain dryer factory at Beech Grove, Indiana & that the wind blew grain dryers unto I-465, which shut the interstate down.
June 27, 1812
“Violent tempest of the whirlwind order” reported in Cass County.
This was the day of significant tornado event in Indiana & Ohio. Destruction was reported near the southeast of present-day Indianapolis. Other tornadic activity with destruction to timber & structures occurred “eight miles north of the town” [Dayton, Ohio] with a width of ½ mile. It was regarded as “one of the most dreadful tornadoes ever experienced in this state [Ohio]” at the time. Areas near the fledgling town of Xenia were hard hit with “everything in its course destroyed or blown down” by a tornado of “half mile in breadth”. Pine, laurel, chestnut & cypress branches were found along the tornadoes’ paths. The closest populations of cypress were in southwest Indiana, laurel & chestnut south-central Indiana & pine, far southern Illinois. The area was sparsely settled but “several deaths” were reported. “The timber was so torn and splintered that it was utterly useless, and the path, about half a mile wide, could be plainly seen for many years.”
June 28, 1870
It was “uncommonly hot” in late June 1870. The high temperatures were 95-100 June 24-30th. Extremely high humidity accompanied the heat. On June 28 at 11 p.m., observer recorded a temperature of 87 degrees at Rensselaer. On June 29, the temperature was 85 at 7 a.m. at Rensselaer. July 16-28th had 90s at Rensselaer with readings around 100 on 4 of those days.
June 28, 1836
The summer of 1836 & 1837 was extremely wet. Timothy Horton Ball in his History of Northwestern Indiana 1800 to 1900, stated that 1836 was “a very wet summer” & 1837 “was an excessively wet one”. David Owen, early Indiana state geologist, wrote about flooding during the summer of 1837 with frequent bouts of heavy t’storms.
June 29, 1902
According to the Indiana Monthly Weather Review from the Weather Bureau, the statewide rainfall of all 57 stations in June 1902 averaged out to an extraordinary 12.45”, which is 8.73” LESS than the statewide average of 3.72” for June of 1903. Delphi recorded 13.14” of rain for the month, while Winamac had 12.94” (still the wettest June on record) West Lafayette 8.18”, Marion 7.99”, Kokomo 7.63”, Whitestown 6.38” & Crawfordsville 6.29”.
June 29, 1890
A severe t’storm with very high winds unroofed the “main building” (University Hall?) on the Purdue University campus. 2.61” of rainfall also fell. Numerous trees were damaged & downed in West Lafayette by the storm.
It is written that the storm’s wind damaged shade trees in the city of Lafayette & that lightning struck several structures & caused fires.
At least four people were shocked by strikes of lightning nearby. Lightning burned out a switchboard at Brush station, dynamos were fried & several electric poles & wires caught fire.
June 29, 1870
Intense heat wave underway. At Rensselaer, temperature measured 85 degrees at 7 a.m. & 98 degrees at 2 p.m. Mean temperature for the last 7 days of June was a record 84.5 with several days near/above 100.
June 30, 1877
Largest hailstones & most destructive hailstorm on record for the Lafeyette area occurred in the late afternoon hours.
“Extraordinary hailstorm” lasting “5 minutes” pounds far eastside of present-day West Lafayette to Lafayette on this date with stones of ping-pong to softball-size. Though “the average size of the stones was between a hen’s & goose’s egg” (2-3” diameter). Damage was immense to trees, crops, gardens & structures. Some of the stones reportedly weighed one pound.
Of the stones picked up, examined by residents & measured, the following measurements were made:
St. Nicholas: 1.5” diameter = 6” circumference = weighed 3 oz.
Taylor’s Lumberyard: 2.25” diameter = 9” circumference = weighed 5 oz.
Picked up directly off main street: 4” wide & 5” long.
Some stones were “as large has half brick” in parts of the city.
All skylights in the city were busted & all greenhouses had their glass panes shattered. Almost every south & west side of every building had their window panes shattered. Southwest of the city on the Wea, goose egg hail was reported (3” diameter), but the hail at Stockwell was reportedly much smaller. The intense storm did not extend to much beyond the east side of the city limits at that time, however.
“Violent t’storms” occurred across eastern Missouri, Illinois, Indiana & Ohio with tornado east of St. Louis & one particularly devastating tornado in southeast Illinois & southwest Indiana.
July 1, 1845
A tornado crossed the Eel River and damaged numerous homes & buildings in Logansport, including the unroofing of the new Cass County courthouse. The first market house in the city was reportedly destroyed west of 5th Street between Broadway & North & the Methodist church was heavily damaged. According to resident Enion Kendall, the “whirlwind” caused much “gasp & stare”………”it stretched its course toward the ski [sky] and swept the river nearly dri [dry].”
July 2, 1978
On the northern edge of an outbreak of damaging winds & some tornadoes, a F2 tornado tracked from southeast of Mulberry to near Frankfort, or 8.3 miles. The tornado was over farm fields most of the time, though $25,000 in damage was done to farm structures.
July 3, 2011
Rare heat burst occurs in Tipton County at midnight. Decaying line of t’storms collapses with downdraft rain evaporating in the dry air, which hits the ground with gusts of 40-45 mph. Temperature near Atlanta suddenly rose from 73 to 81 & dew point dropped from 71 to 62. Other heat bursts occurred in the Indianapolis area.
July 4, 2009
The coolest Independence Day since 1869 occurred with highs only in the upper 60s. Rain fell most of the day with temperatures falling to around 62 with a cool east wind.
2009 was a cool summer, overall, with parts of the viewing area seeing its coolest July on record. Most pools were closed for much of the summer with many days in the 70s & many nights in the 50s.
July 5, 1921
Early morning derecho blasts through northeast half of the viewing area with widespread straight-line wind damage. Winds reportedly gusted 60-100 mph. Windows were blown out of homes east of Walton & a cottage was heavily damaged at Lake Cicott. Damage was reported in Cass, Fulton, Miami, Carroll & Tippecanoe counties with narrow strips of intense damage embedded in widespread less substantial damage. This occurred after highs of 98-104° on July 4.
July 6, 1844
Major flooding occurred on all river systems in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky & Arkansas in early summer 1844. Peak crests on the Missouri & Mississippi at Kansas City & St. Louis occurred in late June. At Lafayette, the main Wabash flood was in early July. According to an observer in Lafayette, “This past week has been one of disaster. The rain has descended in torrents much of the time-and the streams have been swollen to a most unprecedented height. On Friday morning at the feeder lock at Wildcat commenced giving away, and in a short time some two thousand cubic feet of embankment were swept away……………..”Wildcat is said to have been higher than it was ever known”. The mills & bridges are said to have “suffered greatly” by the flooding Wea Creek. “The Wabash has been all over the bottomlands……….three people drowned”. The Wabash-Erie Canal was “closed for two months” due to the flood.
July 7, 1957
A swath of golfball-sized hail northwest & north of Newtown caused heavy crop damage, while winds gusted to 70 mph in Montgomery County. A F2 tornado did 25,000 to a farm on Route 32 a couple miles east of Lebanon, but mainly roared over fields. The path through fields destroyed the corridor of corn.
July 8, 2001
A significant derecho, originating in eastern Nebraska, blasted through Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina & northern South Carolina before diminishing.
Wind gusted to 69 mph at Fowler & Enos, 68 mph at the Purdue University Airport, 67 mph 3 miles south of Wolcott & 64 mph at Greentown. Gusts of 70 mph were reported in western Boone County. An embedded microburst produced an unconfirmed gust to 100 mph near Bunker Hill. Widespread wind damage occurred with trees & powerlines downed with some barn & roof damage in nearly every county. In Clymers (Cass County) a garage was blown off of its foundation & 5 homes were damaged. Windows were blown out of the Howard County courthouse. In Lafayette, a girl’s neck was broken when a tree fell on her car. A measured gust of 81 mph was recorded at the Anderson, Indiana municipal airport & a gust of 85 mph was recorded in southern Madison County with damage to a farm. Indianapolis International Airport measured a wind gust to 60 mph.
The derecho continued on to produce winds of 60-80 mph in southern Indiana & Kentucky. Even at Asheville, North Carolina a measured gust of 81 mph occurred as the derecho passed.
July 8, 2003
Historic flash flooding occurred after waves of torrential t’storms pounded the viewing area. Up to 15” fell in Cass County. Many, many roads collapsed &/or were closed due to flooding. 10.27” of rainfall occurred at Flora with much of the town submerged. Other totals included 10.10” at Flora, 9.92” Francesville 9.57” at Delphi, 6.49” Chalmers & 3.84” at Boswell.
July 9, 1950
A 600’ wide F1 tornado struck Fountain County, hitting a farm northwest of Waynetown. The tornado was on the ground for 4.3 miles & did $25,000 in structural damage (1950 dollars).
July 10, 2003
The great summer flood of 2003 transitioned from flash flooding to a large river flooding event.
Some of the worst summer flooding on record occurred on the Wabash River & Wildcat Creek areas. The Wildcat was just one foot shy of the all-time record crest set in 1913. Deer Creek inundated parts of Delphi & the Tippecanoe River flooded severely. Several waves of torrential t’storms along a stationary front during the week dropped a total of 7” of rainfall on Lafayette with isolated locations in Cass County receiving 15” of rain.
July 10, 1861
Severe weather outbreak occurred in Illinois & Indiana. It appears straight-line wind damage occurred with a damaging tornado west of here at Champaign, Illinois.
July 11, 1838
“Exceeding drought.” Ohio River was not navigable July 1838-January 1839 due to low levels & Wabash was said to be “extremely low” at Lafayette. Rev. T.H. Ball stated, “So scarce was water that musk rats driven out by their usual haunts were found wandering about in search of it and even went into houses and about wells to find some water to quench their thirst”. There were numerous days at or above 100° in the St. Louis observational data set at Jefferson Barracks.
July 12, 1995
14 people were killed in Indiana directly from an intense heat wave known for its extreme heat indices (dew points) & very warm overnights. Dew points were as high as 83 degrees. This, combined with temperatures near 100, resulted in some of the highest heat indices ever experienced (+120 degrees). 6 consecutive days were in the 90s with 2-3 days near 100 in the viewing area.
Kentland peaked at 103, City of West Lafayette, Delphi & Morocco hit 101, Rensselaer & Logansport 100, Perrysville, Boswell & Maron 99 with Winamac & the Purdue Agronomy Farm peaking at 98. The morning low on July 14 at West Lafayette was just 81 degrees, one of the warmest overnights on record & the warmest overnight low since 1983.
July 13, 1858
After a very wet spring of floods, it turned off very dry & hot from July to August. On July 8 & July 9, the temperature is said to have hit 100 at Lafayette & Logansport. Even a diary from Crown Point, Indiana read, “July 8th and 9th-Mercury 100”. Crops, which were planted very late, are said to have been suffering with ground “hard as stone” by late July.
July 13, 1883
Two people were killed, including a tweleve-year old boy on horseback, as severe storms blew up in the central parts of the the area in the late afternoon. Arriving from the west, severe wind did heavy damage to barns, crops, trees & fences in northern Tippecanoe & southern White counties. Heavy damage to crops, trees & barns was also done from Stockwell & Clark’s Hill to Frankfort & Rossville.
Torrential rainfall accompanied the storms with flooding reported in White, Tippecanoe & Clinton counties. Although Lafayette proper did not see the serious wind damage, they saw the torrential rainfall with flooding streets & overflowing sewers.
July 14, 1881
In the midst of an historic heat wave, a severe storm with likely microburst hit Lafayette’s Springvale cemetery area. Trees were torn up, snapped & uprooted, while fences were damaged.
July 14, 1936
An unprecedented, historic heat wave reaches a climax with an all-time state heat record of 116 near Rensselaer (Collegeville). Wheatfield & Whitestown hit 112, West Lafayette 111, Kokomo & Delphi 110, Crawfordsville 109, Rochester & Marion 108.
Rensselaer remarkably reached 110 or greater on 7 days July 6-17 of 100 or greater. In a stretch of 13 consecutive days at or above 100, July 12, 13 & 14 hit or exceeded 110. At Wheatfield, of 11 days at or above 100 degrees, an amazing 6 days were at or above 110. Exceptional drought gripped the region & many deaths were reported from the heat.
July 15, 1868
July 1868 was very hot with several days with temperatures of 99-104 in the viewing area. The hottest day appears to be July 15 with 105 at Rensselaer & 103 at Lafayette.
July 15, 1995
An extreme microburst hit Miami County with an unconfirmed 136 mph wind gust recorded at Grissom Air Reserve Base, the highest wind gust ever measured in our viewing area (Montmorenci had a measured gust of 103 mph in September 1999). Lightning struck 2 homes in Kokomo, leading to $90,000 in damages. Damaging winds downed trees & powerlines around Buck Creek, in the city of Kokomo & at Monticello, which capped off a deadly heat wave for the area.