Top Fall Severe Weather Outbreaks 1950-2013September 23rd, 2013 at 11:24 pm by Chad Evans under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog
We’ve had a lot of fall severe weather events/outbreaks going back in weather history. I selected the worst outbreaks since 1950 for this list, though, based on their impacts, coverage & costliness.
VINTAGE NOAA SEVERE WEATHER PUBLIC PREPAREDNESS HAND-OUT FROM 1950:
September 21, 1950
A severe weather outbreak of wind & large hail heavily damaged parts of the viewing area during the mid to late afternoon hours on this Thursday.
Route 25 was blocked by large amounts of large hail (up to 3″ in diameter in Carroll & Cass counties), as well as trees & power poles. full damage to crops on rich farm land outside the The earlier rain backed up sewers and flooded the High Lincoln and Ruey junior highs and Webster Grade.
All of Montgomery County was reportedly hit by the severe storms with Crawfordsville taking a big hit. Trees were uprooted & snapped & power poles & lines felled. Hail, in combination with the high winds shattered numerous windows. A section of the Monon railroad was blocked by fallen trees & power lines.
Culver Hospital operated under emergency lighting provided by the fire department. Water was shut off & at one point during the storm streets were under two feet of water.
Heavy damage from hail & wind occurred in Howard County, specifically north & west of Kokomo. Windows were shattered in farmhouses & structural damage occurred to some homes & many barns. Corn, soybean & tomato fields were stripped & laid flat by the wind & hail of the storms. “200 telephone poles” were toppled in a swath, while over 2″ of rainfall accompanied the severe wind & golfball- to baseball-sized hail stones. Areas south of Kokomo to Tipton county reported just minor damage from the wind & hail. Reportedly no hail occurred at Tipton, however.
Hail & wind damage also occurred at Deer Creek to Sycamore (Carroll to Howard counties).
Other heavy damage occurred in Miami County, especially near Bunker Hill. The Kokomo Tribune reported:
“area just south of the Bunker Hill Air Base line practically all windows in homes and barns facing the north [were] shattered by the large hail stones. Mrs. Fred Buschbaum, Bunker Hill, [said] the windows in her home which aces north were shattered. The hailstones tipped through the window blinds and tore curtains into shreds. The [hailstones] as large as golf balls shot approximately 24 feet after they entered her home. She took several from under a dining room table and placed them in a freeze.”
“A.N. Kelly, a neighbor of Mrs. Buschbaum, reported considerable damage to the shingles on his roof as well as having all windows facing north shattered. His soybean crop was leveled with many pods completely shelled by the hail. The windows in the home of Kenneth Douglas, who lives on the old Murphy farm next to Kelley were shattered.”
A tremendous, devastating hailstorm pummeled Logansport in this late Thursday afternoon. Damage estimates amounted to $11 million (1950 dollars) as hailstones of 2” diameter (driven by strong winds) broke windows, damaged homes & buildings & broke out street lights. It is considered one of the worst hailstorms on record for the city.
Reports of baseball-sized hail (2.75″ to even 3″ diameter) in other parts of Cass County were reported in newspapers. Large hail was also reported from Anoka to Walton & Onward. “Considerable damage” was reportedly done to Walton High School. The smokestack was partially “ripped off” & water poured into classrooms & the gymnasium as structural damage let the 2″ rainfall event inside. 6″ of water was reportedly on the gym floor after the storm.
No tornadoes were confirmed in this outbreak, but lots of wind & large hail blasted the area. It appears supercells gelling into multi-cell clusters in the warm sector of the storm system produced all of the damaging weather.
September 14, 1965
In the very, very active severe weather year of 1965, an unseasonable tornado outbreak occurred in the viewing area as a rather strong surface low pivoting through central Wisconsin, dragged a surface cold front through the area. Supercells & multi-cells popped in the late evening & gelled into a squall line as they pushed southeastward overnight out of the viewing area. We weren’t the only ones hit hard, Illinois was, too. The northwest side of Peoria was struck by a tornado. Injuring 30 people, the tornado destroyed 3 homes & heavily damaged a school & industrial buildings (damage at $2.5 million [1965 dollars]). A damaging tornado also occurred in Starke County, Indiana.
A tornado, with a peak width of 1200’, touched down ¾ mile south of Shadeland on County Road South 250 West & tracked northeastward, crossing present-day U.S. 231/Route 25 intersection. It lifted near the Elston/Old Romney Road intersection, with damage to numerous homes amounting to $¼ million (1965 dollars).
Another F2 occurred northwest of Camden, in Carroll County. Winds gusted to 65 mph in Howard, Miami, Tipton counties. Wind damage was reported in nearly every county with some hailstones up to 1.25″ in diameter.
An upper jet streak in pretty unseasonably strong upper flow caused a surface low over Missouri to deepen rapidly & race north-northeast before it occluded over northwest Illinois to central Wisconsin.
November 19, 1985: Squall Line: Swaths of Straight-line Wind Damage…….Flooding & Delays to the Filming of “Hoosiers”
Supercell t’storms popped ahead of a strong cold front in central/east-central Illinois on the afternoon of November 19, 1985. Four confirmed tornadoes with damage upwards of 1 million dollars & hail up to 2″ in diameter, in addition to several cores of damaging winds occurred. These gelled into a squall line with small-scale bows of damaging straight-line winds which then progressed through the WLFI viewing area. There were NO tornadoes in the WLFI as the directional shear decreased as the storms moved eastward.
Corn was broken/flattened by the winds, as alot of it was still in the field due to the wet fall.
As the line began to orient itself to mid & upper level steering winds, it began to train, dumping 2-6″ of rain in a short period of time. This, after a wet month, caused flash flooding & river flooding. The Wabash in Fountain & Vermillion counties crested 6-10′ above flood stage.
In fact, the wet November of 1985 caused big film delays while Hoosiers was being filmed at New Richmond, Knightstown & Ninevah (much of the film was originally going to be filmed in Waveland). This is referenced by Angelo Pizzo & David Anspaugh, who wrote & directed the movie. The corn standing in many of the scenes from late October & November depict the very late harvest in November of 1985. In a few of the scenes, the corn is laying down or rather flattened due to the wind from this outbreak of severe weather.
The gray, damp scenes in the movie show scenes of this wet, stormy month.
There is one sunny scene in the movie that was filmed a couple of days before this severe weather outbreak, when temperatures were up around 70. Also, one of the scenes shows a sky of altocumulus castellanus in, indicating increasing instability aloft a day prior to the severe weather outbreak. Another scene was of heavy rainfall. This was filmed the night of November 19 just as the line of severe storms had passed.
September 26, 1981
A bow, embedded in a squall line of storms, of widespread damaging straight-line winds of 60-70 mph swept through parts of the WLFI viewing area September 26, 1981. Trees & powerlines were knocked down in Newton, Jasper, Benton, White & Pulaski counties.
A viewer from White County sent me an email & explained that he was on a school bus headed home when this bow hit. He told me that it was a tremendous storm with the bus completely evelloped in dust off the surrounding plowed & unplowed soybean fields. The bus had to sit at a standstill until the worst of the storm passed.
November 16, 1988 QLCS
A cool-season QLCS blasted through the area with widespread damaging straight-line winds in mainly the northwestern half of the viewing area during the evening of November 16, 1988. Widespread power outages occurred & winds gusted 60-75 mph. For example, winds were measured at 70 mph in Newton County & 64 mph in Benton County. Winds of 70-75 mph were measured in Kankakee & Iroquois counties in Illinois.
No tornadoes were confirmed in the WLFI viewing area, but 6 tornadoes occurred in Illinois with two of them being F3′s, which resulted in millions of dollars in damage (in 1988 dollars), according to the National Climate Data Center archives. 16 people were injured & 1 person killed just by the damaging winds felling trees & damaging structures in Illinois. No injuries or deaths from the tornadoes occurred, however.
It appears, it was a typical QLCS with small-scale bows of damaging straight-line winds & rain-wrapped tornadoes in “S”-shaped LEWP’s in the line.
November 22, 1992 Tornadoes
Two damaging tornadoes tore through Montgomery County on November 22, 1992. Striking in the late afternoon, one twister produced $2.5 million in damage & was rated an F3 with winds up to 200 mph. With a funnel width of one half mile, twister tore through farm after farm in its total 8-mile path, accompanied by ping-pong- to golfball-sized hail on the north flank of the supercell.
The same supercell also produced an F1 tornado with wind up to 125 mph, causing $250,000 in damage. This tornado had a 2.5-mile damage path & maximized its width at 600′. After injuring one person, the tornado lifted southeast of Crawfordsville. Even though the supercell moved northward into Tippecanoe County, it weakened as it out-ran the best instability centered over our southern counties. F3, F2 & F1 tornadoes occurred in Hamilton County with other tornadoes in eastern & south-central Indiana.
This event was vaguely similar to a severe event on November 11, 1885 in our area. After morning rain/storms, the sun appeared in our southern counties in the afternoon, the cumulus bubbled up & supercells initiated quickly. Luckily, Lafayette & northward never really got into the sunshine & unusually warm air (70s).
October 17, 1996 Squall Line with Embedded Supercells
A QLCS with three embedded supercells produced several intense microbursts & macrobursts. 10 homes were heavily damaged near Newport. 5 homes were damaged near New Market & Mace in Montgomery County. One homes was moved 1/2 foot off its foundation & structural damage occurred to a factory. Wind damage was reported in Crawfordsville to near Manson in Clinton County from a narrow swath of straight-line winds north of the microburst & macroburst.
A macroburst occurred near Logansport & injured 3 people via flying debris driven by an estimated 90 mph wind gust. Several homes & businesses were damaged in Logansport & the roof was blown off a church. The worst damage was around the church. There, wind gust likely peaked at 95 mph. It would take such a gust to totally remove the roof from the church.
No hail or tornadoes were produced.
October 29, 1996 QLCS
A QLCS with small LEWPs within it passed through the WLFI viewing area 7:50-10 p.m. on October 29, 1996. In the bulging appendages of the “S’s” or LEWPs, the winds were maximized. The very strong low-level winds that caused those bulges in storm lines, often make it to the ground.
Widespread straight-line wind damage was reported countywide in Newton, Jasper, Pulaski, Fulton, Benton, White, Fountain & Tipton counties with damage in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Numerous trees, tree limbs, powerlines & power poles were downed by the winds & literally hundreds of farm buildings sustained damage area-wide.
A home’s roof was heavily damaged in Crawfordsville, trees fell atop a camper at Concord (Tippecanoe County), hundreds of trees were snapped or uprooted at Newtown. Rensselaer, Monticello, Rochester, Crawfordsville, Russiaville, Lebanon & Windfall all reported significant damage to the communities” trees with numerous homes reporting roof damage. Grain augers were overturned by the winds at Lebanon.
September 28, 1999 – The Autumn HP Supercells
Three high-precipitation supercell t’storms popped on the outflow boundary from morning/afternoon rain/storms to the north & west amidst a hot, humid airmass on September 28, 1999. Ahead of a strong fall cold front that was to usher in the first light frost of the season & under strong jet stream winds amidst substantial wind shear, the cells very rapidly pulsed up & became severe. The first report of severe weather was a 58 mph wind gust at Pine Village. This was the beginning of a long track of destruction across the heart of the WLFI viewing area from as the three supercells evolved into a cluster, then bowing line segment. Flash flooding was an issue with these high-precipitation supercells & 3 corridors of substantial flash flooding developed as extreme rainfall rates occurred. You can certainly understand why this event is one of the top autumn severe events. Imagine +100 mph downbursts, 2-3″ per-hour rainfall rates & golfball sized hail.
Supercell #1: Pine Village to South of Yeoman
Reports of extremely high winds began in northeastern Warren County, then continued east-northeastward, blasting Montmorenci, West Lafayette & Klondyke. The highest measured non-tornadic wind gust on record in our viewing area occurred from this storm with a 103 mph gust near Montmorenci. Hundreds of acres of corn & soybeans that were about to be harvested were totally flattened by the apparent macroburst (damage diameter greater than 2.5 miles). A 5th-wheel camper was overturned, injuring the occupant & 2 dozen homes received damage.
The storm continued east-northeastward & dropped an F1, 105 mph tornado on the southwest corner of the supercell, which tracked 4 miles to east-southeast to near Buck Creek. Up to a half-mile wide, it produced over $300,000 in damage. 3 farm tool sheds were totally destroyed with the structural debri found in the tops of trees as far as 1-2 miles away. With the tornado touchdown, golfball-sized hail began to fall from the storm. A second downburst (in this case a microburst) belched from the storm with a measured wind gust of 64 mph at Buck Creek. There is evidence of wind gusts to 80 mph east of Buck Creek. This combined with golfball hail caused siding & roof damage to several homes & destroyed fields of unharvested crops all the way to western Carroll County. Gaping holes were ripped in roofs by the wind-driven large hail. Route 225 was impassable due to fallen trees.
Supercell #2: South of Attica to Flora
Golfball-sized hail began to fall with this supercell southwest of Lafayette. In Lafayette proper, $100,000 in damage was done (largely to cars). Large hail continued with the storm with northeastward progression. Golfball hail was reported at Radnor & Flora. The first downburst (microburst) with this storm occurred near Radnor with a 64 mph wind gust measured & an 80 mph gust causing substantial tree damage. A barn was destroyed by this microburst.
In White County, southwest of Brookston, the large hail core accumulated a snow-like covering several inches deep. Radnor, in Carroll County also reported golfball-sized hail with substantial hail accumulation with a wind gust to 64 mph, as a third microburst was belched from the storm. A barn was destroyed east of Radnor with estimated microburst gusts around 80 mph. Golfball-sized hail was reported at Flora.
Supercell #3: South of Otterbein to Brookston to Fulton (Storm Continued Northeastward with Sporadic, But Impressive Damage to Near Fort Wayne)
The third severe supercell popped just south of Otterbein, tracked into White County & began to produce a prolific golfball hailstorm. Hail accumulated several inches near Brookston. Entire fields of crops were destroyed & trees were totally stripped of leaves. The storm continued northeastward with several inches of golfball hail in northwest Carroll County. The first downburst (in this case microburst) was belched out northwest of Logansport with a 75 mph wind gust that caused tree & power line damage with crops fields damaged. The storm then belched out the second extreme macroburst of the evening with 100 mph wind gust doing heavy damage southwest of Fulton to Nyond Lake & South Mud Lake. This macroburst alone produced over $125,000 in structural damage. This storms second gust, a microburst, produced tens of thousands of dollars in structural damage north of Macy in Miami County. This same storm produced winds up to 80 mph in Whitley, DeKalby & Allen counties. Significant damage to trees & powerlines occurred in Columbia City with many homes receiving minor structural damage. Much of the city had no power for at least 24 hours.
The damage costs to these supercells were phenomenal. In Tippecanoe County alone, just the hail caused over $100,000 in damage to structures. Damage to automobiles was upwards of an additional $100,000 (Tippecanoe County, alone). +$100,000 was done to structures via damaging winds. $300,000 in damage was incurred by the tornado. Crop damage in Warren, Tippecanoe, White, Carroll, Cass, Fulton & Miami counties mounted into the tens of millions of dollars as thousands of acres of crops were flattened or completely destroyed.
October 24, 2001 QLCS
A QLCS with passed with a main, large swath of significant wind damage in the heart of the WLFI viewing area.
Structural damage was reported in every township in Benton County with many farm buildings heavily damaged or destroyed. A 72 mph wind gust was measured at Fowler. This wind damage swath extended into White County with substantial straight-line wind damage to structures, trees & powerlines occurred in the southern half of the county to as far north as Monticello, where a 70 mph wind gust was reported. A television & radio tower was toppled by the winds at Chalmers, while trees were blocked by fallen trees & powerlines in Monticello. Crops that were not yet harvested were flattened by the wind & all blown down in a west to east orientation by the hundreds of acres. There was no evidence of tornadoes or micro/macrobursts, or gustnadoes, but hundreds of thousands of dollars in crop & structural damage was incurred in Newton, Benton & White counties alone.
Kentland & Roselawn in Newton County were hard-hit with numerous large trees & power poles snapped off & several homes with minor roof damage. A brief EF0 tornado touched down in a harvested field at the intersection of Route 26 & U.S. 41, west of Pine Village with no damage. Another brief EF0 tornado touchdown was reported in a harvested field near Buck Creek with no damage.
At Crawfordsville, the wind caused at least $10,000 in damage to roofs with numerous trees & powerlines blown down at Delphi, Twelve Mile (Cass County), Kempton & Attica. Southeast of Tipton, $10,000 in damage was incurred to several farm buildings & grain elevators. Wind gust to 100 mph (apparent microburst) occurred on the Fulton, Marshall County line, while an F1 tornado injured 14 people & caused 2.5 million in damage in Marshall County.
There were 4 hail reports: Lafayette & Frankfort with 0.75″ diameter or penny-sized hail & Converse (Miami County), as well as Fowler with 1″ diameter or quarter-sized hail.
October 26, 2010 Severe Weather Outbreak (QLCS)
Several discrete, storm line segments occurred ahead of a strong to severe squall line this morning in our area, producing structural damage in four distinct areas & scattered tree & powerline damage area-wide.
Straight-line winds of up to 80 mph occurred in the WLFI viewing area with an EF0 tornado confirmed just east-northeast of Kokomo. Winds with the tornado were up to 85 mph (see storm reports below).
Randy Rogers took these pictures of straight-line wind damage at a home 1 mile east of Frankfort off of Route 28:
These Kokomo wind damage pictures were taken by Jason Thompson:
Howard County EF0 Tornado:
South of Crawfordsville: Ag industrial building under construction unroofed
Wheatfield: Numerous tree tops snapped off
Wheatfield: Trees down & debris on roads in the Rustling Oaks subdivision at 1100N & 400 W
East of Remington: Power pole snapped
1 Mile East of Frankfort: Garage blown off of foundation & flag pole bent over by severe wind gust
2 Miles Northeast of Frankfort: Barn unroofed & 5 homes partially unroofed with building debri blown into trees
2 Miles Northeast of Frankfort: Radio tower toppled unto house
2 Miles Northeast of Frankfort: Trees down with bird house pole bent at 90-degree angle by the severe gust.
Semi overturned on I-65
6 Miles West of Lebanon: Route 32 closed by fallen power lines, trees & debri with grain bin damaged.
6 Miles West of Lebanon: Semi overturned on Route 32
5 Miles West of Lebanon: 70 mph wind gust measured.
I-74 partially closed due to debri in highway at mile marker 49
U.S. 52 partially blocked due fallen tree
3 Miles East-Northeast of Kokomo: Shed & home damaged from sighted, reported, brief tornado.
3 Miles East-Northeast of Kokomo: Trees & powerlines down from reported brief tornado.
Southeast of Greentown: 72 mph wind gust measured
Southeast Howard to Grant County: Numerous trees & tree limbs down
Kokomo: Trees & tree limbs down.
Just north of Atlanta: 66 mph wind gust measured
1 Mile North of Amboy: Power pole down on Route 19
2 miles east-northeast of Rochester: Trees down