Historic Hailstorm at Lafayette

July 2nd, 2014 at 3:01 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

Spotty showers are still possible for this evening tonight with brisk northwest winds, lots of clouds & lows of 55-60 after the 70s of today.

Tomorrow looks much brighter with 70s & brisk north winds.

July 4th looks unchanged with 50-54 in the morning & around 80 in the afternoon with lots of sunshine.

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This date was marked by continued clean-up from the far east part of West Lafayette to the city of Lafayette & even areas on the Wea Plains southwest of Lafayette.  An historic hailstorm, which may have been the costliest weather event in the history of Lafayette, bombarded the city on June 30, 1877.

This was a part of a much larger severe weather outbreak in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio & Kentucky with large hail, wind & tornadoes.  By today’s standards, this would have been a high-risk day for the Midwest.

The hailstones measured that day in Lafayette were the largest on record I have uncovered for the city, with records back to 1833.

June 30, 1877

Largest hailstones & most destructive hailstorm on record for the Lafayette 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.

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