A Look Back at the January 23, 1873 Blizzard

January 23rd, 2014 at 10:07 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

January 23, 1873 featured one of the heaviest snowfalls ever recorded in Lafayette & in the viewing area as a whole.  This blizzard occurred just 3 weeks after “The Great Blizzard” in the Plains from Kansas to Minnesota with extreme wind & snowfall with that area of the country paralyzed for weeks.  It was a great hardship for early Plains pioneers.   Then, the Great Easter Sunday Blizzard struck the Plains in the spring that dealt a blow to the Plains not seen until the rough winter of 1883-84 & 1884-85.

Here, it was the wind made it a blizzard & was the worst snow storm since the legendary New Years Eve-Day storm of 1863-64. 

Interestingly, 1864, 1867, 1869, 1873 all featured , historic snow storms in the area.  Per data, 1864 & 1873 appear to reach true blizzard thresholds.

15.0″ of snow fell on Lafayette in the 1873 blizzard with drifts 4′ deep in town & over 6′ deep in the countryside.  There was already 3″ on the ground before this storm even began.

The entire region was shut down.  A train became stuck in the snow at Templeton & a train with 4 locomotives blew a cylinder on one, owing to the extreme power needed to plow through the very deep snow.


12 Responses to “A Look Back at the January 23, 1873 Blizzard”

  1. Misty says:

    Thanks for the history lesson Chad! I know that I will be complaing about the Summer temps before too long but this winter has been no fun. Every time the furnace kicks on I see $$$ flying away.

  2. AJ says:

    Love learning about the weather history in Lafayette. That’s what makes Chad such a great weatherman.

  3. Jeana says:

    I like the changing seasons & the variety of weather in Indiana but SERIOUSLY….this is just way too cold! Its actually painful. My poor husband is in PA working outside in this cold too. Now I have yet another Winter Weather Advisory for my area. Sigh…..

  4. JEM says:

    This will all make the spring sweeter when it arrives.

  5. cliff davenport says:

    JEM, Let’s just forget spring and go right to summer!! I’ve had about all I can take of this!! Furnace runs like a freight train!

  6. Jim says:

    Good morning all. Another cold morning -5. Off to re supply the birds looks like something coming as per chad for tonight. Hope every one is safe and warm. MA. Hope today is a better day with your health. ML school to today? Autumn thanks for the kind words yesterday. Stay safe

  7. ML in Rochester says:

    Jim, once again, no school. Feeders are busy today.

    Everyone, please be safe!!

  8. O No Moe says:

    Wow! The wind this morning was brutal. Went out to do my chores and the wind was blowing the snow into my coveralls. My fingers and toes are numb. I can’t feel my face. The blowing snow is finding the cracks in the barn and is making the bedding wet. As soon as I warm up some, I need to seal up the cracks and put down new bedding. I will be paying the heat bill well into summer.

    Chad, please tell us the wind will be dying down. Soon.

  9. Autumn says:

    Welcome Jim

    I’m out of everything.. People food, pet food, bird food, firewood and toilet paper. ;)

    Winds have picked up out here and our north/south road has pretty cool looking snow slithering across.. Snow devils are swirling all around our property like smokey whirlpools.

    ML I saw y’all closed.. Drifting or cold temps or both?

  10. JEM says:

    Ah Cliff – but spring brings working in gardens and flowers on the fruit trees,and that first real nice day that greens up the yard. Spring is where you do all the work so that as summer progresses you get to see all the work you did pay off!!

    Love the seasons, even winter. But I expect some break in February – please?

  11. cliff davenport says:

    I know JEM, And I don’t expect it to be 60 and sunny. I love doing all that, and I do that. But seems in the spring its nice one day then 2-3 inches of snow the next. I want to be planting my large garden I do every year. Just ignore me…I’m an out door guy and just grumpy. I’m NOT like this all the time.

  12. JEM says:

    Oh – I know about the gardens. Mine is decent sized, nothing like you would see inthe country, but about 600 sq feet of mostly vegetables, plus some fruit trees. Yeah spring is, lets say, uneven! Here’s to warmer weather in due time.

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