Violent EF5 tornadoes that obsolutely obliterate everything in their path are not new in their occurrence. History has shown that this massive, violent twisters have been occurring with no uptick or downturn in trends (decade by decade) since the earliest records & reports have commenced in the United States.
Here is a list of those F5/EF5 twisters. The 1952-current data comes from SPC. Prior data is personal research per damage reports (with study of width & track length, as well) & classification by the National Weather Service.
1952-present (courtesy of SPC):
NUMBER DATE LOCATION
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59 May 20, 2013 Moore OK
58 May 24, 2011 El Reno/Piedmont OK
57 May 22, 2011 Joplin MO
56 April 27, 2011 Rainsville/Sylvania AL
55 April 27, 2011 Preston MS
54 April 27, 2011 Hackleburg/Phil Campbell AL
53 April 27, 2011 Smithville MS
52 May 25, 2008 Parkersburg IA
51 May 4, 2007 Greensburg KS
50 May 3, 1999 Bridge Creek/Moore OK
49 April 16, 1998 Waynesboro TN
48 April 8, 1998 Oak Grove/Pleasant Grove AL
47 May 27, 1997 Jarrell TX
46 July 18, 1996 Oakfield WI
45 June 16, 1992 Chandler MN
44 April 26, 1991 Andover KS
43 August 28, 1990 Plainfield IL
42 March 13, 1990 Goessel KS
41 March 13, 1990 Hesston KS
40 May 31, 1985 Niles OH
39 June 7, 1984 Barneveld WI
38 April 2, 1982 Broken Bow OK
37 April 4, 1977 Birmingham AL
36 June 13, 1976 Jordan IA
35 April 19, 1976 Brownwood TX
34 March 26, 1976 Spiro OK
33 April 3, 1974 Guin AL
32 April 3, 1974 Tanner AL
31 April 3, 1974 Mt. Hope AL
30 April 3, 1974 Sayler Park OH
29 April 3, 1974 Brandenburg KY
28 April 3, 1974 Xenia OH
27 April 3, 1974 Daisy Hill IN
26 May 6, 1973 Valley Mills TX
25 February 21, 1971 Delhi LA
24 May 11, 1970 Lubbock TX
23 June 13, 1968 Tracy MN
22 May 15, 1968 Maynard IA
21 May 15, 1968 Charles City IA
20 April 23, 1968 Gallipolis OH
19 October 14, 1966 Belmond IA
18 June 8, 1966 Topeka KS
17 March 3, 1966 Jackson MS
16 May 8, 1965 Gregory SD
15 May 5, 1964 Bradshaw NE
14 April 3, 1964 Wichita Falls TX
13 May 5, 1960 Prague OK
12 June 4, 1958 Menomonie WI
11 December 18, 1957 Murphysboro IL
10 June 20, 1957 Fargo ND
9 May 20, 1957 Ruskin Heights MO
8 April 3, 1956 Grand Rapids MI
7 May 25, 1955 Udall KS
6 May 25, 1955 Blackwell OK
5 December 5, 1953 Vicksburg MS
4 June 27, 1953 Adair IA
3 June 8, 1953 Flint MI
2 May 29, 1953 Ft. Rice ND
1 May 11, 1953 Waco TX
NUMBER DATE LOCATION
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62 September 26, 1951 Waupaca OK
61 May 31, 1947 Leedey OK
60 April 9, 1947 Woodward OK
59 April 12, 1945 Antlers OK
58 June 14, 1944 Summit SD
57 April 29, 1942 Oberlin KS
56 April 28, 1942 Crowell TX
55 March 16, 1942 Lacon IL
54 June 18, 1939 Anoka MN
53 April 14, 1939 Vici OK/Kiowa KS
52 June 10, 1938 Clyde TX
51 April 26, 1938 Oshkosh NE
50 April 5, 1936 Tupelo MS/Gainesville GA
49 May 22, 1933 Tryon NE
48 April 10, 1929 Sneed, AR
47 May 7, 1927 McPherson KS
46 April 12, 1927 Rock Springs TX
45 June 3, 1925 Council Bluffs IA
44 June 3, 1925 Logan IA
43 March 18, 1925 Missouri-Illinois-Indiana
42 September 21, 1924 North-Central Wisconsin
41 May 14, 1923 Big Spring TX
40 March 11, 1923 Pinson TN
39 April 20, 1920 Northern AL
38 March 28, 1920 West Liberty IN/Van Wert OH
37 June 22, 1919 Fergus Falls MN
36 May 21, 1918 Denison IA
35 May 21, 1918 Boone County IA
34 May 25, 1917 Southern KS
33 June 11, 1915 Mullinville KS
32 June 15, 1912 Creighton MO
31 June 5, 1908 Carleton NE
30 April 23, 1908 Pender NE
29 June 5, 1905 Coling MI
28 May 10, 1905 Snyder OK
27 June 12, 1899 New Richmond WI
26 May 18, 1898 Marathon Co. WI
25 May 25, 1896 Oakland Co. MI
24 May 17, 1896 Northeast KS/Southeast NE
23 May 15, 1896 Sherman TX
22 May 3, 1895 Sioux Co. IA
21 September 21, 1894 Northwest IA/Southeast MN
20 July 6, 1893 Pomeroy IA
19 May 22, 1893 Darlington WI
18 June 15, 1892 Southern MN
17 April 1, 1884 Oakville IN (Delaware Co.)
16 March 25, 1884 Scipio IN (Jennings Co.)
15 August 21, 1883 Rochester MN
14 June 17, 1882 Grinnell IA
13 June 12, 1881 Hopkins MO
12 April 24, 1880 Christian Co. IL
11 May 30, 1879 Irving KS
10 May 30, 1879 Jackson Co. MO
9 May 22, 1873 Southeast IA
8 June 29, 1865 Viroqua WI
7 June 3, 1860 Camanche IA
6 June 13, 1857 Christian Co. IL
5 September 20, 1845 Northern NY to VT
4 June 5, 1844 Eastern IA to Northern IL
3 May 7, 1840 Natchez MS
2 July 25, 1838 Alleghany Co. NY
2 May 18, 1825 Central OH
1 September 3, 1821 VT to Northeastern MA
Our 8-day stretch of 80s came to an end yesterday with a high of 75. Today’s 63 occurred at midnight with a morning-afternoon high of 61. Lake front has dropped temperature from 61 to 53 quickly.
Our stretch of 80s in May was the longest since a 10-day stretch (May 22-31) in 2010 at West Lafayette. Before that, 1998 had a similar, long, stretch with 8 consecutive days of 80s.
Spotty showers, chilly north winds & slowly-falling temperatures into the 50s area-wide will dominate today with mostly cloudy to cloudy skies.
Clearing will occur evening-tonight. As “Blackberry Winter” & “Locust Winter” roll on, lows will drop to 38-41 area-wide. Blackberry Winter is a period of cool weather where we see our last 40-45 temperature in late May to perhaps early June as the blackberries are in blossom. Also referred to as Locust Winter, it is the last cool snap until September & often coincides with the last of the Black Locust trees.
It appears that no frost will be able to form in Jasper, Newton & Pulaski counties (where temperatures will be at 38) due to a high likelihood of a north breeze.
Regardless, it will be cold!
Tomorrow looks good with mostly sunny skies & 65-68 area-wide. High & mid clouds will increase tomorrow night as warm front approaches, with lows in the 40s.
The very same low pressure system that produced wave after wave of severe weather over the last week is now located over the Great Lakes. While it will produce another chance of scattered rain today, its foremost effect will be our drop in temperature throughout the afternoon. Temperatures should peak during the late morning before winds shift northward and pick up speed. Our daytime temperature should top out right around 63°, but we’ll fall back to 59° by your lunch hour and even 54° by your evening commute. Wind gusts as strong as 30 mph will pull cool air off of Lake Michigan this evening and drop temperatures as low as 40° overnight. Wind chills tonight, yes wind chills, may be in the mid 30s by tomorrow morning. Alright now that we have all of that behind us, I can start talking about the unreal holiday weekend we have ahead of us! Higher pressure will move in overnight tonight and, while it’s going to be one of the major contributors to our cool down, it will also drive all of our overcast conditions out of the region. Grab the sunglasses on Friday, you’ll need them. Sunny skies will allow us to warm up into the the mid to upper 60s through the viewing area. A few more clouds are possible on Saturday as a weak warm front closes in on the central part of the state. It’s still going to be mostly sunny to partly cloud on Saturday with temperatures remaining in the upper 60s. We’ll break into the 70s on race day and stay there for your Memorial Day. However, with that slow moving warm front, there may be a slight chance for rain during that later part of your holiday. Scattered showers and thunderstorms will return the forecast on Tuesday as the low sweeps to our north. The mercury will hit 82° that day before ascending to 85° on Wednesday.
Strong warm front with some showers/t’storms will pass Monday night-Tuesday. Some data suggest even some showers trying to get in here earlier, but am not sold on that yet.
After that, we will be bathed in heat & humidity with dry weather next week. Highs of 90-93 are a good bet by later next week with lows of 70-72. Humidity levels will cause heat indices to rise to 93-98.
A lot of severe weather will take place to our west & northwest late weekend through late next week.
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. Evidence suggests that this was an EF4 tornado.
This tornado occurred after a tornado hit early Cincinnatti, Ohio, April 11, 1833, damaging buildlings after “unusually warm weather for the season prevailed across Ohio much of the week prior”. That particular day “strong southerly winds swept over Ohio, but evening found conditions somewhat sultry”.
A tornado hit Nashville, Tennessee in 1833, though I was unable to locate an exact date to link up whether that twister apart of the same system that caused this large tornado in Lafayette.
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” on the night of May 3, 1835. 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. Evidence suggests EF3 twister. Remarkably only 1 person was reportedly injured.
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. St. Bonifice cemetery trees sustained heavy damage, though it appears that the twister was EF0 at that point. Based on reports, it appears the greatest damage occurred from Salem & Union to Greenbush. This points towards EF1 strength. There may have been other EF1 strength in the path, but there is not enough evidence to suggest such.
A severe t’storm also reportedly hit Logansport on this date.
Another tornado on this day killed 19 & injured 60 in the west-central Illinois town of Ellison.
Overall, May 1858 was very stormy with flooding rainfall. Some of the highest levels ever observed on area rivers occurred in May-June 1858. Interestingly, it turned very hot & dry mid- to late-summer.
August 3, 1859
A “violent tornado” is reported to have passed through Sheffield Township, moving across Wildcat Prairie, passing just north of Dayton. Two people were injured & several homes were demolished. The tornado is said to have moved right down Haggarty Lane from east of present-day Tippecanoe Mall to north of Subaru to north of Dayton.
Limited evidence suggests this was high-end EF2 (based on the damage reports), but there isn’t enough to push it to EF3 (even with “demolished” wording) or bring it down to EF1. I did not find whether they were two-story homes or whether they were solid brick homes, which made me not classify it as EF3.
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. Evidence points towards EF1 tornado in Lafayette. I will have the track soon.
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. Evidence suggests this was EF4 to perhaps EF5 damage with one report I found of farms “vanishing” just south of Montgomery County. This was likely a Henryville-like (March 2012) tornado in Montgomery County.
Hail was reported at Rensselaer.
December 23, 1871
Pre-Christmas tornado hits Lafayette with narrow corridor of rather heavy damage. Damage path was 0.5 miles long & near 0.2 mile wide. Damage resembled high-end EF0 strength with winds to 85 mph.
A newspaper reporter on South Street & corner of Fifth, saw the twister at 12:30 p.m. as the storm blew in. He said it reminded him “of a great screw driven point foremost shot out of a cannon………southwest traveling northeast” with sound like that of a “minnie ball”. From South Second & Columbia to North Street & North 9th, many buildings were damaged, including Trinity Church with debri thrown everywhere, damaging structures on either side of the tornado. General, damaging straight-line wind occurred over a 2-square mile area prior to the twister to the southwest.
The storms passed in the morning as temperatures rose overnight to spring-like levels & a strong, intense surface low passed through northwestern Illinois.
Cold front was very sharp with temperature dropping from around 61 to the 20s very quickly. Interestingly, the morning low on December 21 was -3, but the intense storm pulled a potent chunk of warm air with strong gusty winds included ahead of & behind, the strong cold front that sliced through the area.
At 4:35 p.m., with howling northwest winds here, temperature was down to 29 at Lafayette, while Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania had 67 & Cleveland, Ohio 59.
March 4, 1880
Severe weather outbreak occurred in the viewing area & over a good chunk of Indiana.
A tornado (likely EF2 with winds to 125 mph) is said to have struck the “northwest side” of the Lafayette area. Coming from the southwest, it struck at 9 p.m. & was “600 yards wide” with the temperature at 68 degrees just prior to it hitting. Splinters of wood were found a “great distance” from the twister as the tornado began on the northwest side of Chauncey, continued northwestward, doing heavy damage to barns & homes, heavily damaging a bridge over Wildcat Creek, then two ice houses, 56’ high 107’ long & 70’ wide (with 2500 tons of ice), were “blown to splinters” with debri blown over a mile. Many stables & farm builders were completely destroyed.
A tornado hit Indianapolis at approximately 10:30 p.m. with substantial damage, while damage from the tornado & straight-line winds was reported in West Lafayette & Lafayette from the storm.
A tornado near Alto, in Howard County killed one & injured 9 when the twister destroyed a house shortly after 10 p.m.
Other damage occurred in Warren, Fountain & Clinton counties with numerous downed trees with outbuildings damaged, even destroyed.
On this same night, a major tornado “caused immense damage” (2 fatalities, numerous injuries) in part of Toledo, Ohio at 11:15 p.m., while tornadoes likely hit Spencer, Indiana at 10 p.m. & Liberty, Indiana “in the early morning hours” of the 5th. A “great loss of property” from damaging winds was reported at Madison, Indiana (just north of Louisville) at 5 a.m.
Widespread wind damage occurred 40 miles southwest of Bloomington, Indiana near Odon. It was written that wind leveled many old buildings & blew down fences & orchards.
This appears to have been a racing squall line with a bulge in the line in the Warren to Howard County areas with an embedded tornado likely at the top of the line kink, which may have produced damage at Lafayette & then the bigger damage at Alto. The storms hit at the same time at Spencer & Lafayette & if you drawn a line they line up nearly due north & south, meanwhile the Howard County storm hit shortly after 10 p.m. with Indianapolis getting hit with a tornado at 10:30 p.m.
June 19, 1897
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.
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.
November 11, 1911
A QLCS squall line/cool-season derecho blasted the area on November 11, 1911 with the storm striking the Lafayette area at 9:11 p.m. Widespread, damaging straight-line winds occurred across the viewing area. It is highly-like that there were embedded meso-vorticies & LEWPs in the line that caused some brief EFO-EF1 tornadoes to crop up. However, straight-line winds were the primary severe aspect. There were a few embedded stronger EF2-EF3 tornadoes in the line near Fort Wayne & in Michigan.
A tornado was reported in Montgomery & it is highly-likely a low-end EF1 struck Lafayette squarely winds winds of 90 mph.
It looks very similar (in terms of damage & storm mode [QLCS meso-vortex or LEWP]) to a tornado at Paoli, Indiana November 14, 2011: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lmk/?n=nov14_2011
There was straight-line wind damage to trees & powerlines in West Lafayette & a livestock barn was damaged, but the substantial structural damage occurred in a 1.3-mile long & up to 0.2-mile wide path in the city. There was also a stretch of significant straight-line wind damage 4 miles south of Lafayette.
Reports show trees as twisted off in Lafayette, than the toppled & damaged trees in West Lafayette. According to Purdue University, old wind anemometer measured winds of 55 mph, but I am not aware of the exposure or height of this anemometer.
The worst damage was near the levee where streets were totally covered in debri & some structures were nearly destroyed. Otherwise, windows were blown out, buildings unroofed with one heavily damaged & homes to churches received damage. A church roof was swirled & then hurled northwest from North 9th & landed on Cincinnati Street. Trinity Church, damaged in the high-end EF0 in 1871, was damaged again.
March 21, 1913
I originally thought this was a tornado, but much deeper examination points towards a widespread, damaging straight-line wind event with embedded microbursts. This squall line, as it roared through 6-6:30 a.m. produced winds of likely 60-100 mph across West Lafayette-Lafayette area. Damage was widespread in the viewing area, but everything seems to have been blown west to east.
However, a killer likely low-end EF4 tornado hit the far south side of Terre Haute on this date, killing at least 19 people & injuring over 200. Many homes were damaged/destroyed there. Many two-story homes (including brick homes), had their entire upper floors removed. Some homes had only foundations & porches left in a sea of rubble. Low-end EF4 looks like a very reasonable classification after analyzing photographs of the damage.
Following this, widespread heavy rainfall trained & trained over the area, with even a round of snow, making any clean-up efforts difficult. It is the training of the heavy rainfall & the snowfall that led to the great Flood of 1913.
May 18, 1926
Likely EF2 tornado struck at 5:30 p.m. & barely made the survey because it just marginally moved into modern-day West Lafayette city limits. However, it is likely it was EF0-EF1 strength southwest of this location in the bottoms, per newspaper reports’ evidence. The EF2 rating was at the end of the twister’s track.
Originating in the bottoms southeast of Purdue University with tree, powerline, barn & chimney destruction, twister moved northeast, hit the old Stingle farm at present-day Route 26 & Newman Roads. There, it shifted the entire farm house off it foundation 6″, destroyed the garage (with splinters of wood from the garage driven into nearby orchard tree trunks), picked up a chicken house & tossed it 300 yards with trees uprooted & ripped apart & wreckage strewn over a large area. Across the roadway, at a Purdue farm, a barn, garage & chicken shed were destroyed (many chickens killed, but amazingly some survived). Fences were blown down & trees uprooted, snapped & twisted off at this location. Damage path continued to the northeast, then lifted near the new present-day Purdue baseball stadium & tennis center.
However, widespread straight-line wind damage occurred in West Lafayette, Lafayette & areas west of town. Hundreds of trees & power poles were damaged or downed. Many signs & fences were destroyed, as well. It was reported that long stretches of power poles were downed along present-day Route 26 (called State Road 6 at the time or Montmorenci Road) west of West Lafayette.
Surface low & cold front passed through area with highs in the 70s to around 80. Rainfall totaled 0.80″ at the Purdue Ag Farm on this day.
June 13, 1953
A brief F1 tornado occurred from Main, along Tinkler Street to Rush Street (just west of Murdock Park) at 9 p.m. on June 13, 1953. The worst damage was right on Cason Street, just west of Asher where brief F1 strength was reached.
Heavy tree damage & roof damage occurred with winds to 100 mph. Widespread, extensive wind damage occurred in Clinton County, too. Entire tops of trees were blown out on the Clinton County Courthouse lawn & a factory was unroofed on Barner Street in Frankfort. The Frankfort damage all points towards straight-line wind damage (winds up to 90 mph where factory was unroofed), but the Lafayette damage supports a tornado. This was confirmed by the U.S. Weather Bureau out of Indianapolis at the time (now the National Weather Service).
This tornado was just west of the 1981 touchdown.
September 14, 1965
On April 11, 1965, a violent F4 tornado occurred from Concord Road, crossed U.S. 52, then Newcastle Road, present-day I-65, Dayton Road & Bethann Lane before crossing Wildcat Creek, then Route 38 south of Dayton. This twister actually continued northeast, crossed U.S. 421, then Route 26 east of Rossville & lifting just before it reached Route 29. This was a major tornado, but it did not make the survey, as it was just out of the modern-day city limits of Lafayette.
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.
A tornado, with a peak width of 1200’, touched down ¾ mile south of Shadeland on County Road South 250 West at 8:15 p.m. & 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 County.
March 19, 1971
An F2 tornado struck Lafayette at 2:03 a.m. on March 19, 1971. If this tornado would strike today in the same spot, it would touch down at Lafayette Bank & Trust & Courtyard by Marriot Inn, damage or take out those high-tension power line towers, knock out the traffic signal at Route 26 & Farrington (where you turn in to go to Chili’s & Spageddie’s), hit Chili’s, Spageddies Italian Restaurant, Fairfield Inn, Chipotle Restaurant, Sylvan Learning Center, Knights Inn, & Arby’s, then continue northeastward, cross numerous homes on Rome Drive, Pippin Lane, Golden Place & Jonathan Way, before lifting at I-65.
Back in 1971 there was very little development here, so damage was sparse. Today, this is a sea of sprawling subdivisions, restaurants & hotels near the highly-developed Route 26/I-65 interchange.
March 12, 1976
This tornado occurred just 8 days before a violent, large multi-vortex F4 tornado would touchdown less than 1.5 miles due north of this tornado’s touchdown. Striking at 3:25 p.m., this moved over largely rural area in 1976, but damaged Tippecanoe Memorial Gardens. It continued northeast into farm fields.
Like so many other tornadoes, this one would have a much bigger impact today. It would go through the most-rapidly developing area of Tippecanoe where subdivisions are popping up like weeds in a summer garden.
Today, a tornado like this would hit homes on Black Forest Lane, then Lafayette Venetian blind directly, the farmstead just south of Klondike school, then hit the subdivisions east of McCormick to near Cook then the gas station at U.S. 52 & Morehouse, Tippecanoe Memorial Gardens. Twister would then move across fields north of Just-Kids Daycare, then pass between two farmsteads on the county road that takes you to Harrison High School. It would then finally lift in fields only about 550′ north of the north edge of the Arbor Chase subdivison.
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 million in damage (1978 dollars). Another F1 tornado touched down in Howard County. It was a narrow, short track, intense in its damage path.
April 23, 1978
This F1 tornado occurred in a very rural area at the time, but would cause much larger impacts today. This twister occurred in now a highly-developing area of subdivisions just of Brady Lane, towards Concord Road. The F1 damage occurred at present-day Sean Court to Commanche Court. Interesting, this is very close to the track of a strong F3 tornado almost 2 months later on June 25, 1978.
1978 may have been the year of the snowiest winter on record & one of the coldest, but it was also the year of the tornado for West Lafayette/Lafayette with 4 twisters in the city limits.
June 25, 1978
This tornado would be disastrous if it took this track today.
This tornado, which peaked at F3 strength (old Fujita Scale), clipped the modern southwest city limits of Lafayette. At this time, this area was rural, unlike now where numerous homes & subdivisions have sprung up, along with businesses. The very rural nature around the tornado track, limited severe damage & likely injuries to fatalities. Compare the early maps to the last one (from 1976).
Damage was largely to trees, barns & powerlines in Tippecanoe County with a few homes unroofed.
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.
July 2, 1978
An F1 tornado struck at 12:15 p.m. on July 2, 1978. This tornado had a narrow path, but heavily damaged & uprooted trees with minor damage to several homes to broken windows to numerous damaged roofs.
June 24, 1981
This short-lived F1 spin-up of a tornado damaged a few homes & knocked down trees east of Murdock Park between Ferry & Cason Streets. The heaviest damage to structures was on North 24th Street.
June 8, 1993
Touching down at 5:40 p.m., this tornado, like many others, would have a much bigger impact if it struck today. Where open farmland existed near the Veteran’s Memorial Parkway corridor in 1993, is now sprawling subdivisions & a highly-developed stretch of road with stores, restaurants, banks, apartments, homes & doctor’s offices.
With F1 strength, this twister was largely over rural areas with damage to crops trees & a few farmsteads. A few barns were heavily damaged. It had a long track at over 9 miles from east of Shadeland, cross Old U.S. 231 & moved over the sod farm, & eventually crossed U.S. 52 at South 500 East & East 450 South. It continued to I-65 & lifted there just north of the Wyandotte Road overpass.
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.
July 4, 1998
An F1 tornado struck at 12:30 a.m., Independence Day 1998. It occurred as three gust fronts popped storms surging in from the northwest & another gust front popped a squall line of storms coming in from the north-northwest & yet another from the north & northeast amidst a hot, sultry, unstable airmass. Where the three suddenly intersected, the tornado occurred. This was apart of a squall line event that brought damaging straight-line winds to the area.
June 11, 2003
First F0 tornado spin-up occurred with a t’storm (heavy rainfall & pea-sized hail) along a stationary front in West Lafayette at 6 p.m. on June 11, 2003.
As an upper low spun in western Kentucky & spokes of showers pivoted around it, line of t’storms popped on a front sitting right atop the area.
With sunshine, some cold air aloft & nice surface convergence with the front and the surface wind shift (shear) on the front, the F0 tornado quickly spun up.
June 11, 2003
Second F0 tornado spin-up occurred with a t’storm (heavy rainfall & pea-sized hail) along a stationary front in West Lafayette at 6:45 p.m. on June 11, 2003. A touchdown occurred along the Wabash & then again between Old U.S. 231 & Poland Hill Road around Rostone Court & Wise Drive.
As an upper low spun in western Kentucky & spokes of showers pivoted around it, line of t’storms popped on a front sitting right atop the area.
With sunshine, some cold air aloft & nice surface convergence with the front and the surface wind shift (shear) on the front, the F0 tornado quickly spun up.
The funnel tracked from near the Purdue Airport, through West Lafayette to 9th Street in Lafayette. The funnel reportedly touched a few times briefly. Sporadic damage was limited to trees from the island in the Wabash to near the Purdue Airport to Old U.S. 231 & eventually 9th Street.
July 21, 2003
A squall line with two distinct bows passed through the area on the night of July 20-21, 2003 around 4 a.m. Where two bowing segments linked-up in a Bookend vortex, this tornado was spun with EF0 strength (winds of 85 mph). Another EF0 appears to have struck Battle Ground, resulting in tree damage.
Otherwise, this was a damaging straight-line wind event after what had been a very, very stormy, wet July with flooding rains.
The tornado may have began as far south as Bishop Woods, but was definite with tree & stoplight damage in the neighborhood just southwest of & right at Teal & 18th. Minor damage occurred at Lafayette Jefferson High School with fence damage & the bleachers picked up & thrown counterclockwise by the brief twister. After this, it lifted.
April 19, 2011
This tornado’s path ended just about directly on the southern city limits of Lafayette, so it barely made the survey. Regardless, this twister heavily damaged the timber of the wooded, picturesque Red Oaks subdivision. Many homes were damaged & one was pretty much destroyed when the tornado’s strength peaked at EF2.
The twister began in wooded areas just north of County Road East 500 South. Progressing northeastward, it crossed Red Oaks Lane, where much of the structural damage occurred, then tracked northeast before lifting near North 9th Street at South Wagonwheel Trail, close to Wea Ridge Baptist Church.
It’s been a gloomy day thus far all in thanks to the impending passage of the cold front now situated to our west. Scattered showers and thunderstorms will develop ahead of the front and may linger even after it passes to our east later this afternoon. Peaks of sun throughout the day will help push temperatures into the mid to even upper 70s later this afternoon, though we’ll stay cooler than yesterday. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma has some our far eastern counties within a slight risk of Severe Weather; however I feel that if there are severe today it will likely occur east of Howard County. Due to the additional sunlight, some of our thunderstorms later today may produce heavy downpours and gusty winds. As the low swings eastward towards Michigan over the next 24 hours, some wrap around rain may be possible through tomorrow morning. Any cloud cover left over from the current system will slowly decrease throughout Thursday. High pressure will ensure that your Friday will be a sunny and warm one. After only topping out at 64° on Thursday, the lack of cloud cover will warm us up to 67°. High pressure will then position itself to our east; this will extend southerly winds across the viewing area. Afternoon highs on Saturday will peak back into the 70s with mostly sunny skies. If youre sticking around Lafayette for Race Day and Memorial day, you can expect partly cloud conditions with highs in the mid to upper 70s. As for next Tuesday, it appears that as we return to work, so will the rain. Plan for scattered showers and thunderstorms for Tuesday with temperatures climbing back above the 80° mark.
With partly to mostly cloudy skies & breezy to windy conditions, scattered showers & t’showers still look like a good bet today. Severe weather is likely from eastern Indiana, into Ohio & all the way through Pennsylvania & parts of New England this afternoon-evening.
Highs will run in the 70s. With a few showers, we will drop to the lower 50s tonight.
With mostly cloudy skies, a few very spotty showers are possible tomorrow with windy conditions & highs in the 60s.
Friday-Monday looks dry with warmer weather gradually moving in after lows of 39-44 Thursday night-Friday night.
The next potential of rainfall after today-Thursday would be Tuesday. We will continue to watch to make sure that rain does not move in earlier to affect Memorial Day activities.
Also, right now, still looks dry with 70s for Race Day.
January 29-30 Night-Time-Early Morning QLCS Squall Line
QLCS squall line raced through in the form of one short segment in our northwestern areas & then the main squall line over most of the viewing area January 29-30. Timing of the lines occurred generally between 9 p.m. & 1:30 a.m.
Sporadic severe wind gusts accompanied the line as high as 65 mph. One tornado velocity signature was seen in Carroll County, but rotation signature was largely mid-level & did not drop enough to low-level to warrant tornado warning per NWS.
Trees were reportedly felled in Montgomery County & Tipton counties with an aluminum shed in Carroll County damaged. A trampoline was blown a considerable distance at this site, with limbs & small trees downed northeast of Flora.
Damaging gusts tended to occur where dew points reached 60-61, while much of the intense wind remained a few thousand feet off the ground in areas with dew points below 60 as buoyancy prevented enough updrafts to tap into strong winds close to the ground & bring them to the surface.
Think of an improperly inflated balloon. No matter how much you try to force it upward, it never tends to rise high on its own (lower dew points, bit cooler air). A properly inflated balloon will rise & tap into air currently well above it & float (dew point 60 or 61 & bit warmer air). Same applies to dew points & their associated surface instability.
+80 mph low-level jet & influx of warmth & higher dew points caused the squall line to organize quickly with +115 mph winds at upper levels aiding in lift. Additionally, record warmth preceded the QLCS squall line in the 60s & heavy rainfall accompanied the line & lasted for several hours behind it. This resulted in 1-3″ of rainfall over the 2-day period with areas of minor flooding.
High-resolution model wind projections several hours prior to event:
Precision 18 Doppler radar wind data during event:
Below shows actual measured wind gusts & a few estimated gusts from spotters:
April 10-11, 2013: Day-time Multi-Cellular Hailers & Night-time QLCS Squall Line
Severe weather event unfolded April 10-11 in two parts. 1-3.5″ of total rainfall fell during the two rounds, resulting in areas of flash flooding. River flooding event occurred several days afterward with Wabash cresting 6-8′ above flood stage Lafayette to Covington. Many other rivers & streams reaching either bankfull or over flood stage during & after event.
24-hour rainfall totals for these days are 7 a.m. to 7 a.m.
3 cluster of largely elevated multi-cellular storms passed through north of a surface warm front in the afternoon-evening of April 10. A few were surface-based south of the warm front, where some gusty winds were able to make it to the surface & accompany the large hail. The multiple rounds also trained over the same areas, leading to some locations receiving over 2″ of rainfall. This led to areas of flash flooding particularly in northern Warren, northwest Clinton, southeastern Carroll.
Trees Down – 1.5 Miles Northeast Kirklin
0.25″ Hail – South Lafayette
0.25″ Hail – Klondike
0.25″ Hail – Battle Ground
1.00″ Hail – Kokomo
1.00″ Hail – Converse
0.25″ – Greentown
0.50″ – East of Greentown
1.00″ Hail – 2 Miles Northeast of Dayton
1.00″ Hail – 2 Miles West of Darlington
0.88″ – Darlington
0.88″ Hail – South of Dayton
1.00″ Hail - East of Dayton
0.25″ Hail – Windfall
1.00″ Hail – New Ross
M51 mph Gust – Crawfordsville
E45 mph – Ladoga
0.50″ Hail – WLFI-TV
A QLCS squall line of t’storms raced through the area Wednesday night-early Thursday morning 12 a.m. to 3 a.m. Several small bow & LEWPs formed in the line, mainly in the southeastern half of the viewing area. There, it warmed up to near 61 ahead of the line.
One particular bow produced sporadic wind damage from south of Covington to Hillsboro to near Crawfordsville to near Rossville. This bow developed an LEWP in the line that produced a low-level rotation signature, prompting a tornado warning for northeastern Montgomery, southeastern Tippecanoe, Clinton, southeastern Carroll & Howard counties.
This line dumped additional rainfall that resulted in a total of 1 to 3.5″ of rainfall across the viewing area. Some roads were flooded by the rainfall in Carroll & Clinton counties.
Trees, limbs down near Hillsboro & farm shed damaged with 3 power poles leading
Many trees & some powerlines down near Mulberry
M64 mph: Rossville WLFI Tower Site Weather Station
Several large limbs down south of tower site weather station
E58 mph: 6 ESE Covington
M52 mph: Crawfordsville
M60 mph: Frankfort
M45 mph: Kokomo
M43 mph: Kokomo Municipal Airport
M38 mph: Burlington
M37 mph: Grissom Air Reserve Base
M34 mph: Pine Village
M33 mph: Michigantown
Damage pics from near Hillsboro in Fountain County (courtesy of Tyler Snider & Sam Harding):
APRIL 17, 2013 SOUTHERN SUPERCELL LARGE HAILERS
Several supercell t’storms formed near/on warm front during the evening of April 17. Producing hail as large as golfballs, gusts of 50 mph also occurred with the storms. One particular storm showed a very pronounced, strong low-level rotation signature. Spotters did reports a rotating wall cloud with this feature, but no funnel developed.
Storms brought torrential rainfall of up to 1″ in a short period of time.
1.75″ Hail 1 Mile South of Ladoga
1.50″ Hail Ladoga
E40 mph Gust Ladoga
1.50″ Hail 3 Miles North of New Ross
1.50″ Hail 2 Miles North of New Ross
1.00″ Hail New Ross
E50 mph Gust Ladoga
Rotating Wall Cloud New Ross
1.50″ Hail Mackie
1.25″ Hail Northeast Mackie
1.00″ Hail 3 Miles Northeast of Ladoga
1.00″ Hail Thorntown
0.25″ Hail Advance
Rotating Wall Cloud 3 Miles Northeast New Ross
Rotating Wall Cloudy 3 Miles Northwest of Advance
0.25″ Hail Antioch
0.25″ Hail Rensselaer
0.25″ Hail Kentland
0.25″ Hail WLFI
APRIL 18, 2013 TWO SQUALL LINES
Squall line on the morning of April 18 produced severe gusts & wind damage in Newton, Jasper, Benton, Warren & Fountain counties. The heaviest damage was in Earl Park where several buildings, including a retirement home, were damaged (along with trees & powerlines).
Weak low-level rotation signature was evident on radar with LEWP in the squall line around Earl Park. However, damage all points towards straight-line wind damage of 80 mph in a narrow corridor embedded in a broader swath of 55-65 mph wind gusts.
This particular LEWP’s bow (tornado signature was embedded in the middle of the “S”-shape of LEWP) did produce a gust to 61 mph at Kentland with trees & limbs downed.
After this, waves of showers & t’storms continue all day, but were not severe.
Second squall line in the evening produced wind gusts of up to 50 mph & torrential rainfall.
The training of this line & heavy bouts of rainfall since the evening before, produced the widespread, significant flooding in the area by the morning of April 19 with the Wabash at Lafayette reaching its highest level since June 14, 1950 & at Covington since January 7, 1950. The Wildcat at Lafayette reached its highest level since July 7, 2003. Record flooding occurred on creeks in Howard, Tipton & Boone counties, while Oakdale Dam discharge caused minor flooding downstream. Widespread field & road flooding also occurred area-wide, specifically in our southeastern counties where rainfall totals ended up being the highest.
A wet winter, snowy March & wet mid-April caused this flood to be significant.
Earl Park Trees & limbs down, powerlines down & building damage……….grain bin downed
Earl Park Part of roof of retirement home collapsed
Earl Park Shed blown onto U.S. 41
Mt Ayr Several power poles blown down onto County Road 200 south between Meridian Road & County Road 100 West.
E60 mph Mt. Ayr
M65 mph Morocco
M64 mph Near Dunn’s Bridge
M61 mph Kentland
M60 mph 4 Miles Southeast of Fowler
M53 mph Pine Village
M52 mph Rensselaer
M49 mph Rensselaer High School
M49 mph Winamac
M44 mph Jasper County Airport
M41 mph Frankfort
M40 mph Attica
M37 mph Covington
M37 mph Purdue University Airport
M37 mph 5 Miles Northwest Rochester
M37 mph WLFI-TV
SQUALL LINE GUSTS:
M50 mph Covington
M50 mph Crawfordsville
M48 mph Atlanta
M45 mph Frankfort
M44 mph Michigantown
M44 mph Kokomo Municipal Airport
M41 mph Kokomo
MAY 21, 2013 SQUALL LINE
Supercells from major tornado & severe weather outbreak gelled into a squall line that raced eastward with a couple of bows in the early, early morning hours of May 21.
Sporadic straight-line wind damage occurred with highest wind seemingly about 3 miles south of Burlington, where 2 chicken houses were reportedly destroyed. There, it appears microburst with winds of 85 mph occurred.
An EF0 tornado was confirmed just south of the Montgomery/Putnam County line near Roachdale. Trees were knocked down, a barn & shed was damaged & irrigation rigs were overturned.
There were 3 reports of hail in Benton & Newton County from penny-size at Kentland, dime size north of Earl Park & pea-sized south of Morocco.
1 Mile Southwest of Hillsboro Barn Destroyed & Trees Down
New Richmond Trees Down
Northwest Boone County Trees Down
Flora Trees & Powerlines Down
Tipton Trees Down
3 miles south of Burlington 2 chicken houses destroyed.
Bringhurst Trampoline in the field. It had been picked up, taken over livestock fence and dropped in the field about 1/4 mile.
It is a windy, nice day with temperatures in the 80s amidst lower humidity & a cap from dry, hot, desert & High Plains air blowing northeastward atop our area. Also, that air is downsloping from higher to lower elevation, leading to compressional heating. So, we have 85.3 degrees as of 4:35 p.m. at WLFI.
Some showers & t’showers will move in tonight from the northern fringes of severe storm clusters to our south. Also, some scattered showers & t’showers may develop as shortwave & surface cold front pivot around upper low to our northwest.
That said, will keep 30-40% POPs in forecast for tonight with increasing clouds.
A few scattered showers & t’showers are possible through the day tomorrow with partly to mostly cloudy skies. Rainfall coverage will run about 30-35%. They will pivot in from the northwest with highs of 70-75 & rather breezy conditions (southwest to west winds turning to northwest at 10-20 mph).