Chad’s WLFI Weather Blog

Remembering the April 16, 1961 Snow Storm

April 16th, 2014 at 3:34 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

This snow storm would have been significant in January, let alone mid-late April.  The worst of it occurred from the night-time hours of April 15-16 after falling temperatures to 37-41 the day before.  At 1 a.m. on April 15, we were in the mid 50s, showing the incredible change in the weather at the time.  Chicago was 55 at 1 a.m. on April 15!

Even at the height of the storm, temperatures were 31-32, so it was a very heavy, wet, gloppy snow that was just plasted unto trees.  Power outages from the wet snow & very strong winds were widespead.

Howling winds & zero visibility accompanied the driving heavy snow, which closed roads & left thousands stranded.

Winds gusted to 50 mph & drifts were piled 5-10 FEET high.

I would be interested in any of your accounts of this snow storm.

Generally, a 5-9″ snow occurred over much of the area, but totals were less in the southern counties.

April 16, 1870, 3″ of snow fell at Rensselaer & 6″ at Lafayette, followed by a complete change with very, very warm, dry weather the rest of April.  16 of the 31 days of May were in the 90s!

This began a period of significant drought in our region 1870-1872.

April 23, 1910, 2.2″ of snow fell in West Lafayette after one of the warmest Marches on record.  The temperature of 87 in March was not equaled unil 2012, with 87.

April 17, 1926, 6.5″ snow fell at Lafayette from noon to evening.  It reportedly broke many branches & downed powerlines due the rate at which it fell & the heavy, wet, gloppy nature of it.

People commented that it would’ve been 12″ if not for the warm ground, given the rate at which it fell with very large flakes.  Temperatures fell into the mid 20s the night after the snowfall.



Warmer Pattern Ensuing with Eyes On Plains/Midwest Severe Threat April 24-25

April 16th, 2014 at 1:44 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

Current data is indeed suggesting warmer weather than previously forecast for Friday through Sunday.

Looks like just a few scattered showers before 1 p.m. Friday, then a few more showers (& some t’showers) Sunday night-Monday morning.  However, 60s are looking more likely for Friday with near 60 Saturday & 65-70 Sunday, Monday & Tuesday!  Wednesday, highs of 74-77 are looking likely.

It still looks like what could be widespread 80 to the lower 80s Thursday-Saturday.

If current data verifies, then there could be a pretty significant severe weather outbreak from Minnesota to Kansas & Missouri Friday.

It looks like a bit higher probability of getting severe weather here around Saturday the 25th, too.

We will keep an eye on it, but this is a very strong dynamic system with very warm, moist air coming out of the Gulf of Mexico.  Some data suggests a rapidly-deepening surface low from Iowa to Minnesota.  Surface pressure may bottom out at 983 mb over northern Minnesota.

Thoughts On This Spring

April 16th, 2014 at 1:23 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

This has been an interesting spring as a forecaster.  I have had to change the way I forecast.  I have learned to recently forecast like it is mid-late March, not mid-late April.  Lake ice & soil/water temperatures are more like March, not so late in the season.

When you forecast climatological averages way heavily in a forecast & this spring has deviated so much from the normal, that such a mode of forecasting is tending to put numbers out that are higher than what actually occurs.

In March 2012, it was the opposite.  Numbers consistently exceeded forecasts.  In March, it was like forecasting for mid-late April by climatological standards.

May analog data doesn’t seem to gell will actual forecasts, but it gells with forecasts if this were late March.

It has been fascinating to watch such a brutal winter & then cold spring unfold.  The trees & plants are a bit behind normal, but are well over 1 month behind where they were in 2012 at this time!

Today has a south to southeast wind with abundant sunshine, but like we have seen time & time & time again, temperature is struggling to 46 as of 1:22 p.m.!  In fact, looks like our wind is south at 20 mph.  In mid-late April to have wall-to-wall sun & such a strong flow from the south (with struggling temperature in the 40s) that is more like mid-March.  This is a significant deviation from normal climate norms this time of year.

Cold Start to the Day

April 16th, 2014 at 10:09 am by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

Temperatures leveled off at 25-28 overnight with commencement of light southeast wind as surface high moved eastward.

It was still cold, nonetheless!


The Latest Data Regarding the Outlook Now to Late Next Week (April 25)

April 15th, 2014 at 10:30 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

It is a blessing that our vegetation is not as advanced as that in southern Indiana & into Kentucky.

Those with orchards can have some relief knowing that up our way, but it will be a long night for those with orchards well south of here.  A hard freeze is likely all the way to Tennessee.

You can see in this picture from southern Indiana (Brian Jesson) that this crabapple tree is in blossom & covered in snow this morning.  This area, which will be closer to the surface high will drop to near 25 tonight, resulting in tree damage of much more advanced vegetation.

Pic courtesy of NWS Louisville.


Temperatures are already 25-32 across viewing area as of 11 p.m.

These numbers will tend to level off as surface high moves eastward & warm front approaches tonight.  Some high cirrus may even arrive by morning with commencement of light southeast wind.

Regardless, it will still be an unseasonably cold, frosty night at 24-27!


After 20s tonight, strong south winds & abundant sunshine tomorrow will at least pull us into the 50s!

The winds may gust to 35 mph, however.  Unfortunately, it will feel cooler than the actual air temperature due to that wind.


Thursday, warm air ahead of clipper will warm us into the 60s with strong south-southwest winds to 31 mph.  Skies will be partly cloudy.


Bad thing is that clipper will pass Friday with a few scattered showers & t’showers (35% coverage) & the high of 56 may actually fall in the afternoon-evening.

Lows will drop into the lower & middle 30s Friday night.

There is better news for Saturday & Saturday night.  For one thing, Saturday looks warmer & Saturday night now looks warmer, too.  A warm front with clouds will approach, so it now appears unlikely that we will see frost/freezing conditions.  37-42 seems much more likely with an east/southeast wind.

60s will arrive Sunday.

More clouds will arrive Monday with 65-70 with 64-68 Tuesday.  I am considering putting some showers in for Monday, but this far out with clipper or weak system is hard.  Will wait pending more data, given the fact that it is only Tuesday.

After this, it looks dry, windy & much warmer mid- to late-next week.  I think farmers may actually begin fieldwork for planting with multiple days in the 70s to perhaps the first day where much of the area is 80-82 (we were 76-80 Saturday).

Severe weather is possible northwest & west of our area Minnesota to Kansas late next week.  Showers & t’storms appear to arrive here Friday night-Saturday.

Right now, they do not look severe, but we will keep an eye to make sure the severe threat to our west & northwest does not shift east & southeastward.

You can see below that 80s will surge to South Dakota by Tuesday.  Widespread 70s & even 80-82 will approach & overspread our area later next week.


39° As of 5 p.m……………Finally

April 15th, 2014 at 5:07 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

This is the coldest since April 24, 2005 when we hit 39 & had a dusting of snow in the evening, but it melted quickly.  Up to 1.5″ fell in the viewing area.

Up to 1″ of snow fell on April 14, 2007, but 0.1″ was on the ground on April 15.

Light dustings of snow also occurred April 15 in 1962 & 1950.

As recent as April 4, 1994, we have dropped to 9 above after a late-season 5″ snowfall.

The coldest high temperature on record after April 15 at West Lafayette is 38.  Parts of the area, April 16, 1961 was the coldest post April 15 day, while an incredibly late snowstorm hit the area.

The high at Fowler was 39 prior to the snow, while Delphi was 41.  West Lafayette reported 33, but high temperature was taken at 7 a.m., not in the evening.

The coldest May high every recorded was 40 May 1 & 2, 1897.

The coldest June high temperature was 52 on June 1, 1889.

It has never snowed in June (at least back to 1880) , but it has in late May!


We cracked 39 as of 5 p.m. with burst of sun, but it is still unusually cold!  Normal high is lower 60s!

Chuck in Frankfort sent me this pic!  It was originally from Weatherjessie.


Coldest, Snowiest Day So Late In the Spring Since…………

April 15th, 2014 at 3:42 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

As of 3:45 p.m., our high temperature at West Lafayette is unofficially 38 degrees.  This is the coldest temperature so late in the season since April 24, 2005.

Today is also the snowiest day so late in the season since April 24, 2005, when up to 1.5″ of snow fell during the evening hours (dusting at West Lafayette).

April 15, 2007 was also a cold, snowy day for so late in the spring with a dusting to 1″ of snow & high only at 42.

Cold, Cold, Snowy Fall-Winter-Spring

April 15th, 2014 at 1:59 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

This has been a pretty unprecedented fall-spring.

Parts of central & north Texas had their latest freeze on record last night, beating April 13, 1957 freeze.  Freeze line could dip as far south as the Florida Panhandle tonight.

International Falls, Minnesota dropped to a record low of 5 degrees this morning.

Detroit just beat out the 1880-81 winter for the snowiest on record with 93″.  Chicago is now third in line for snowiest fall-winter-spring on record at 82″.

The 1.4″ of snow at Chicago was the greatest snowfall so late in the season since April 14, 1983.  On a side note, 1983 was an incredibly cold spring here with our first 80 not occurring until June 6!  However, it was one of the hottest, driest summers on record after one of the warmest winters on record during the strong El Nino of 1982-83.

Here at West Lafayette, our 65.3″ is second only to the 1884-85 season when 66.5″ fell (1880-present).


Snowfall Totals As of 9:15 A.M.

April 15th, 2014 at 9:18 am by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

Snowfall totals as of 9:15 a.m.:

Much of the area received less than 1″ from wave of snow, but lake effect band dumped up to 3.3″ of snow in northwestern Jasper County!  All in the broken band, as far south as Tippecanoe & Clinton counties, over 1″ fell in spots.


8:40 A.M. Update

April 15th, 2014 at 8:45 am by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

A few spotty lake effect snow showers are passing through in a band through the heart of the area.  These could still put down a quick light dusting.  The rest of the area is turning mostly sunny.

This lake effect band will diminish & the clouds will decrease.

I measured 0.3″ of snow at the station, bringing our October-April total to 65.3″.

Jim in Kentland reported 0.6″.

Map of totals will be coming soon, as I am still gathering all local totals.