October 19-20, 1989 brought a historic early-season snowfall to our area. Up to 14.0″ of heavy, wet, gloppy snow fell at the Romney, Throckmorten Purdue Ag Farm site, per State Climate Office. 10.5″ fell at Kokomo. 6.7″ fell at the Purdue University Airport with 6.0″ at the Purdue Agronomy Farm northwest of West Lafayette & 9.5″ at the city COOP site. The heaviest band seemed to set up from Romney to Rossville to Kokomo. 10-14″ fell in that band with the greatest amount of tree damage reported. This was the most significant October snowfall event before the 30th (across central & north-central Indiana) since the historically cold, snowy October of 1869 & the great October 1805 snow (when Native Americans were “frightened on account of it” & “never seen the like” at the White River fort). 8″ fell at Fort Wayne with the 1989 event, 12″ was measured in October 1805, according to diary at the White River fort.
October 19-20, 1989 an “Inside Runner” storm brought unseasonably early & heavy snowfall to the region. Even with very warm temperatures (Purdue Agronomy Farm was 84° on October 15…….just 3° from the record high of 87 set in 1938!), snowfall intensity was such that accumulations of up to 10.5″ occurred. Snowfall water content topped 1.80″ in places, meaning that if this storm would have occurred in the winter with a colder ground, 18″ could have accumulated.
Gusty winds steady at 15-25 with gusts to 35 mph resulted lots of tree damage across the region due to the weight of the snow on the foliated trees. Power outages were widespread.
Interestingly, less than a week after the snowstorm, temperatures were in the upper 70s to around 80! For example, Delphi hit 79° on October 24 after 7.0″ snow & highs only near 33° on October 19! After 10.5″ of snowfall, Kokomo had a high of 76° on October 24!
It is a beautiful, warm, windy day! Some readings are now at 70! Cumulus are on the increase & skies will gradually go mostly cloudy with time this evening-tonight with time. A couple sprinkles/showers are possible with the increasing clouds. Temperatures will fall pretty quickly as the stratocu/cu move in.
Fall color should peak this week/next weekend!
As of October 20, some of you have seen your first 32, but a lot of the area has not. The left graphic show the normal first occurrence of 32 degrees in the fall.
Spotty showers continue to pass through the eastern part of the viewing area, while the west is drying & clearing as our breezy Alberta Clipper zips through. It is not out of the question that a couple of showers pop this evening as area of cumulus clouds pivots in on back side of system. With the breezy to windy conditions, highs today will rise well into the 60s.
Looks like perhaps a couple sprinkles/showers Tuesday with statocumulus on back side of this clipper with another clipper with a few spotty showers Friday & another around October 29 with dry, pleasant weather with cool nights in-between. Some patchy frost is possible on a couple of nights & tomorrow will not be as warm as today or late week.
There is really no active weather on the way now-October 30. There is a weak clipper late tonight/tomorrow & Thursday night/Friday with a couple of spotty showers & that is it. There may be another clipper around the 29th. Next good potential of more widespread rainfall is either at end of Halloween or in early November, followed by the first widespread freeze of the year.
In terms of temperatures, above normal temperatures will dominate to the first of November. After 34 this morning, this week will feature highs largely in the 60s with a couple of days in the upper 50s to around 60.
Friday will begin very nice warm-up with 62-68 then. It is possible that we may reach 70 in parts of the area Saturday (66-71) & 68-75 in some next Sunday. Overnight lows will be cool (still a couple nights this week with patchy frost at 35-38, regardless of relatively mild days), but with sun & warmth, soils will dry nicely for area farmers.
Behavioral changes are evident in our bird life in response to shortening day length & approach of winter. Some species only seen in fall & winter are returning now.
I saw the first “snowbirds” today (Dark-eyed Juncos). They breed up north & migrate southward to winter in our area. You will find them scratching around your bird feeders, in leaf litter around your house to around your lawn & woodland edges in fall & winter. They like millet scattered on the ground at a feeder.
They have a distinctive of twittering call & expose the white on their tails when flushed.
This is the first time I have heard red-winged blackbirds in full call since July. It is the first time I have seen them congregate in flocks since spring. They do this as they make movements in the fall. Most of our head south, residing in massive flocks in the marshes & agricultural fields of the southern U.S.
I noticed about a dozen Pied-billed Grebes at the lake in our neighborhood today. This is a sign of the change to colder weather. They usually stay in marshes with abundant vegetation & are seldom seen in spring & summer. In the fall, they turn from the gray breeding plumage to more brown & tend to go to more open water areas & seem to congregate in pairs or groups of 3-5. These small groups may make up one of several groups on a lake.
I observed about 6-8 Ruddy Ducks (most of them were females) on our lake in the neighborhood today. Thing is Ruddy Duck do not breed here & don’t even winter here. Why were they here? They were passing through from their breeding grounds (prairie potholes of the Plains & mountain/basin lakes/ponds of the Rockies) to the marshes of the southern U.S.
The individuals that I saw today could have been from the Dakotas/Manitoba/Alberta on their way to the Carolinas or perhaps the oxbow lakes of the Ohio/Mississippi confluence.
I also spotted several buffleheads on the lake. They are largely a Canadian species where they next around ponds/lakes of northern spruce forests with aspen & birch from Alaska & the Yukon to Ontario & Quebec. They are only known to breed in the U.S. in northeast Minnesota, northeastern Washington & northern Idaho & in high-elevation lakes with fir & spruce in a few areas in the Rockies.
They winter in our area on ponds & lakes. I frequently see flocks at Celery Bog in fall & winter.
These are the first of the season.
Lesser Scaups were noted. I see these at the Bog & at our neighborhood lake in the fall. They do not spend winter here, but only a brief fall period on their migration from Canada, Alaska & the northern Rockies/northern Plains to the southern U.S., Mississippi Valley to Mexico & the Caribbean.
Drizzle/sprinkles/few showers will transition to a wave of scattered showers this afternoon. High will remain cool with breezy conditions & temperatures falling into the upper 40s to around 50.
Frost is likely tonight. 32 is possible in the north with 33 Lafayette & 34-35 south. Clouds hanging on would prevent this, as would wind, but data continue to point to clearing trend with diminishing winds.
Sun & 55-60 is likely tomorrow.
A few showers early in the week & perhaps late in the week will be light & scattered. After seasonable upper 50s to 60s & lows in the 30s to 40s, mid to upper 60s may arrive for Friday.
A windy, cool, mostly cloudy Saturday is ahead with a few spotty sprinkles/patches of drizzle/light showers. Northwest winds may gust to 34 mph at times.
Winds will calm tomorrow evening & with clearing skies, frost still looks likely.
This will beat a lot of the low temperatures for coldest so far this evening.
With lots of sun, Sunday looks warmer with less wind.
Next week will begin a drier pattern, except for a few spotty showers Monday to perhaps Tuesday & perhaps a few Friday. Highs will run near normal to a bit above normal (normal for next week is around 60-61 with normal lows around 38).
The next widespread rain is still shaping up for near Halloween to early November. A widespread killing freeze is likely in early November.
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 around 95 mph. It would take such a gust to totally remove the roof from the church.
No hail or tornadoes were produced.
A even more widespread, significant severe outbreak occurred just 12 days later on October 29, 1996.