Chad’s WLFI Weather Blog

The October 1840 Newton County Tornado

October 16th, 2014 at 12:01 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

From History of Newton & Jasper County:

In the year 1840, in the month of October, on the southern slope of the Eaglenest Ridge near the north shore of the Iroquois River….

……Crossing the river at the sandy crossing, where a cloud of ducks arose from the water, with their deadening roar of winds and their quack, quack, quack, he took a southeasterly direction through the woods, keeping his course by the sun with its ducky, red face belled by the smoke of Indian summer. There was no path to follow but he knew the general direction he wished to go; therefore he had but little trouble in shaping his course. Bees still swarmed out in search of the few flower that had not been nipped by the early frost of autumn. Frogs croaked, the mocking birds still said their morning carols from the tops of the tallest trees, and the robin red-breasts hopped about in quest of worms. Wild geese, cranes and brants passed constantly overhead or waded and paddled in the ponds at will. The geese darted their heads low in the water in quest of snails, and bus while their feet paddle the thin water to maintain their equilibrium.

The sun rose clear, but was soon obscured by scudding clouds, which betokened rain. A few old Indians, including the father of the unfortunate boy were still feeling fort the body with poles but most of the band were either preparing or partaking of the morning meal, which consisted of hominy, corn cakes and various wild meats.

The sky had become more and more threatening during the time passed in the hut, the wind was rising. The Indiana stepped to note the aspect of the weather. “Big storm”, he said, as he moved quietly outside and ran quickly to each tent, informing the inmates of the impending storm, which was now fast breaking upon them. In a few minutes her returned and began making things secure by fastening the corner of the skins with thongs of deer-hide and bracing the tent with extra pole braces. A great yellow bank of curvetting cloud came rolling down the heavens, which seemed to be followed and pushed ahead by an uneasy power which roared and bellowed like ten thousand maddened bulls. It was something terrific. Ben described it as being equal to a tropical tornado, a real Caribbean cyclone and an African hurricane combined. The trees bowed their tops to the earth in humble subjection to the powers that be, and many were snapped in twain with reports like heavy artillery. Wilder and wilder raged the tempest. The driving rain came down in blinding sheets. A flood of water rushed through the wigwam a foot deep.

Ben and the Indian were using their utmost endeavors to hold braces and thus keep the tent from going away with the blast. The maid sprang up and raised the sick woman to a sitting posture so that her head might be out of the water; but the old crone still sat in the water almost to her waist, crooning sad strains of some sorrow song as she swayed her body back and forth without paying the slightest attention to the warring of the elements. The lodge poles were bent like reeds in the marsh and the rain dashed through the holes and crevices in the skins in great bucketfuls. Vivid flashes of zigzag and sheet lightning almost blinded them, and peal upon peal of thunder seemed to rend the heavens in a million seams, whereby the pent up waters dashed and fell on the earth in oceans of waterspouts. One could not have stood on his feet a second out in the storm.

In the course of half an hour, which seemed almost an age to those who had to stem the storm, the wind ceased, and this cloudy cauldron of wind, water and electricity, each struggling for the masterly, passed away as quickly as it had come The trees lifted their heads, except those whose hearts had been broken, and the water dripped from their leaves and branches. The wind ceased, the sun burst forth from behind a cloud, and nature seemed to smile upon the wreck and desolation everywhere visible. Broad streams, rivulets and rills were still gurgling down the sloping woodland and over the river band into the march lake, with a roar like a Liliputian cataract.

Everything and everybody was drenched; not a dry thread could be found in the whole village. Three of the wigwams had been blown down, two papooses were drowned in the flood, and one was killed by a falling tent pole. Pools were everywhere, and in the level oak openings to the southwest great ponds and even lakes spread out like mammoth mirrors in the sunshine. The whole river marsh was one big lake as far at the eye could reach in the blue vista to the southeast.

After considerable difficulty a fire was lighted and, other borrowing from it, soon each lodge possessed a blasé to dry out the contents.

Bird-eye made his squaw as comfortable as could be expected under the circumstances, which were bad enough at best.

At this juncture, a general shout proclaimed the approach of the search party who had followed the trail of the dauntless rider.

This hero of the day had been found much battered, but not dead.

Wet First Half of October

October 15th, 2014 at 5:51 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

At the station, the 5.16″ of rainfall October 1-15 is the wettest such period in West Lafayette since 1954.  Also, the 11 of 15 days with rainfall this month is the greatest number of wet days since the same number in 1954.

In the Purdue/Purdue Ag Farm, the 4.56″ so far in October is the most since 1955, just a year later.  Then, 5.10″ fell October 1-15.

Oddly, 1956 had not a single drop of rain to October 15, the driest October 1-15 on record, tied with 1963.

No rain fell until October 20 in 1956 & October 17 in 1963.


Gray, Showery Day……..The Latest Weekend Outlook

October 15th, 2014 at 4:07 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

It is a gloomy afternoon with scattered showers all over the area.  The showers are pivoting around the surface low which is centered just southeast of Lafayette.

There will be at least some scattered showers action tonight, though the peak in coverage will occur early this evening with heating.


A few showers are possible even into tomorrow morning, followed by decreasing clouds from northwest to southwest through the afternoon.  Highs look to run 62-67.

After near 50 tomorrow night, Friday looks breezy to windy & warmer with highs of 66 in the northwest to 72 in the southeast. 

With partly cloudy skies with the frontal approach & passage, the temperature may fall a bit later in the day from northwest to southeast.

Lows of 41-46 are likely by late Friday night-Saturday morning.  As for the Friday Night Frenzy, with brisk northwest winds to 25 mph, temperatures will fall into the 50s, so it will be rather chilly after a pretty warm day.

Weekend looks dry & cooler with mostly sunny skies & highs of 57-62 with Saturday overnight lows at 34-39 with some patchy frost.  With some increasing clouds, lows will drop to 37-42, it appears, Sunday night.

Late Monday-Tuesday an Alberta Clipper will pass with more clouds, breezy to windy conditions & just a few spotty showers.  Highs will run in the 60-65 range.  The low Monday night will run 45-50.

Outlook to November 3

October 15th, 2014 at 12:37 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

Drier pattern is about to set in until the end of the month.

A clipper will pass Tuesday & Friday of next week with a few spotty showers, but any rainfall amounts should stay light.

Otherwise, the regime looks bright & periodically breezy to windy with near normal to above-normal temperatures.

An over week-long stretch of above normal temperatures is possible October 22-30.

Conditions will be much more conductive to the fall harvest, compared to the wet & humid conditions of late after that 2-week long dry stretch in early October.

It appears more widespread, soaking rainfall may return either on or just after Halloween before we see a more dramatic cool-off in early November with a widespread freeze.  The entire viewing area could drop below 32 at that point.

6 Tornadoes Confirmed in Illinois……Additional Scattered Showers Here Wednesday

October 14th, 2014 at 9:58 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

So far, 6 tornadoes have been confirmed in Illinois from last night from QLCS squall line.  Just a few trees were blown down in southern Fountain & southwestern Montgomery counties.  Two weak circulations were observed here in Montgomery & Boone counties, otherwise, winds were measured as high as 46 with the line.  We fared very well considering the number of tornadoes & amount of wind damage nearby.


A scattering of showers (perhaps an isolated t’shower) is likely Wednesday with highs of 60-65 with winds turning from the south & southeast to northwest.

Pic of Bald Eagle In Clinton County

October 14th, 2014 at 5:58 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

 Kyra Timmons sent me this pic of a Bald Eagle in Clinton County today:



Rainfall Totals As of 4 P.M.

October 14th, 2014 at 4:05 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

These are the Sunday evening-Tuesday 4 p.m. rainfall totals:


Arc of gusty showers is moving through northern/northeastern areas now, but new showers are forming in southern counties & moving northward.

Isolated thunder, small hail &/or gusty winds are possible.


Gusty Arc of Showers Pivoting Through

October 14th, 2014 at 3:08 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

Gusty arc of showers is pivoting through area.    Measured gust to 34 mph at WLFI at arc came through.



12:38 p.m. Update

October 14th, 2014 at 12:38 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

With some heating, scattered showers & low-topped t’storms are just beginning to re-develop around our low sitting over Illinois.  An arc of showers is lifting northward toward our area.

If additional sun will appear, more will bubble up in that arc with time this afternoon.

I can’t totally rule out an isolated low-topped severe t’storm or perhaps some small hail in a storm pivoting around the pin-wheeling low in Illinois.

Temperature is 65 at the station as of 12:38 p.m.





October 13th, 2014 at 5:05 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

10:30 p.m.

All is clear with scattered severe threat.  Only report I have is two trees down in southern Fountain County northwest of Kingman.

Line continues to be in weakening trend as the moderate rains continue to outrun it.

There is quite a bit of wind damage south of I-70 to as far east as just west of I-65 in the southern half of Indiana.

Given the number of warnings & amount of severe weather nearby tonight & the circulations in the line, two trees down in Fountain County is pretty tame.


(Gusts Measured Over 35 mph)

Two trees down northwest of Kingman

M46 mph  Crawfordsville

M44 mph  West of Crawfordsville

M39 mph  Covington

These are the counties under watches & warnings tonight:



10 p.m.

Still, mesocirculation apparent in storm near Ladoga.  It is not tight, but rotating.  It has been pretty consistent since south of Roachdale in Putnam County.

Attica gusted to 31 mph with passage of line.

Northwest of Otterbein, identity of line is gone.  Line extends from near West Lafayette area to Romney to Ladoga.

Think after 11 p.m., any scattered severe threat will end.



9:33 p.m.

We continue to see these meso circulations or areas of weak rotation through the line.  The circulation northwest of Morocco is strong enough & low enough to warrant Tornado Warning per NWS Chicago.


Also seeing interesting things in LEWP in Montgomery County near Alamo.

Although the circulation is not tight, it is there & another one is present south of Ladoga working northward.  May have Tornado Warning for either or both cells soon of strengthening trend continues.


Gusts 40-50 mph possible near Odell to Shadeland & across much of northern & central Montgomery County.


Check out the two bows of wind in south-central Indiana.



9:15 p.m.

Covington gusted to 39 mph at 9:03 p.m.  Line currently runs from west of Alamo, through Veedersburg to west of Earl Park & Kentland.


There is quite a wall of wind with large bow blasting through south-central Indiana at the moment:



9:05 p.m.

Lots of weak meso circulations & LEWPs in this line that is very sheared.  However, all warnings continue to be south of I-70.  Overshooting anvil rains are still an issue.



8:40 p.m.

Rain continues to outrun the line & disrupt it as it closes in on Covington & Kingman, moving northeast at 35-40 mph.  There are still some gusts in those line cores of 40-50 mph, though.

Severe weather continues south of I-70, though, where rains are not outrunning the line.  This part of the line has greatly bulged into a larger-scale backwards C shape,  slowing the northern part of the line down.  This could be causing a lot of moderate rain to outrun it & overall disrupt its severe potential.

However, the individual kidney bean shapes & nodes in the line with bursts of weak rotation are showing the impressively sheared environment in the low levels.  This & low LCLs (cloud bases) should continue to support brief mesocyclones in the line with brief, weak EF0 tornado potential.  The dynamic enivronment still supports some scattered gusts of severe strength to make it to the ground.

We will continue to monitor, but all has been good so far in regards to severe weather.

This veering of surface wind from south to southeast atop strong south, thin southwest flow aloft continues to make for deep-layer shear overall.



8:20 p.m.

It is still warm with temperatures as 69-73 with dew points at 63-66.

Rains ahead of the line in the anvil continue to disrupt it, but shear remains strong. 

All warnings so far have been south of I-70. 

However, 40-50 mph wind fields are showing up in bulge in the line southwest of Kingman & Covington.



7:44 p.m.

Main part of the squall line with the warning is south of I-70 at the moment.  Line is racing northeastward & should still in into our area 8 p.m. & after.

Line has weakened some up this way as rain surging out ahead of the line with the anvil has disrupted it some.  However, uptick in cloud-to-ground lightning & persistent node in the line northwest of Terre Haute is moving northeastward toward Fountain County & needs to be monitored.

Tornado Warning might go up on this suspicious cell eventually.

Instability has decreased with nocturnal cooling, but low-level shear has strengthened as low-level jet has increased & surface winds have turned more southeasterly, than southerly.  This is also enhancing shear.  This continues to support isolated EFO (maybe low-end EF1) tornado threat & scattered severe gust threat.



7:10 p.m.

Line is moving northeast at 45 mph & is 45 from the Fountain County line, so it will be about 8 p.m. when this starts to move in.

Scattered severe gusts & brief, weak isolated tornadoes are still possible in the 8-11 p.m. time frame.

NWS Indianapolis has locally-extended Tornado Watch to cover Carroll & Howard counties.



6:38 p.m.

Illinois part of Tornado Watch has been locally-extended (per NWS Chicago office) to cover Newton, Jasper & Benton.  Northern Indiana office may follow suite.



6 p.m.

Low-level wind fields are strong, as evidenced by the distinct undulations in the stratus deck over the sky.

QLCS squall line is racing north-northeastward & will barrelling into the viewing area by 8 p.m. & onward.

Scattered severe straight-line gusts & isolated, brief tornado threat (EF0……perhaps low-end EF1) will continue as line races through.



5 p.m.

New Tornado Watch out………….

Watch in effect for Warren, Tippecanoe, Clinton & Tipton counties & southward.  However, I don’t let your guard down north of there.  I think a watch may be issued for those areas later this evening.