We are indeed maximizing sun in many parts of the area. As of 2:50 pm it is 66 at WLFI. This is the warmest day since tying the a time record high of 71 in December ( at leat 1887-2012 in west Lafayette).
We are indeed maximizing sun in many parts of the area. As of 2:50 pm it is 66 at WLFI. This is the warmest day since tying the a time record high of 71 in December ( at leat 1887-2012 in west Lafayette).
February 22, 1912
Storm dumps 12” of snowfall on West Lafayette & Kokomo, 11” Whitestown, 10.1” Marion, 8” Crawfordsvile & 6” Rensselaer.
February 23, 1956
In Boone County 210’ wide F2 tornado did $25,000 in damage to farms.
February 24, 1839
February 1839 was mild in the Wabash & Ohio Valleys, but late February was very warm with t’storms. In fact, diaries state that both February & March 1839 were warm & wet. Temperatures reached 68 on February 21st & 22nd in Cass County. 14 of the last 21 days of the month reached the 40s & 50s at Minneapolis, Minnesota.
This was followed by a major cold snap to end the month & more into early March with lows of -5 to 0 (Minneapolis, Minnesota down to -22).
In the book Savage Frontier, diary entries indicate this cold wave was a “Blue Norther” with a major winter storm in central & southwest Texas in late February-early March with unusually cold weather.
February 24, 1990
1-5” of dry snow in the area, driven & followed by wind gusts up to 50 mph created near zero visibility in the viewing area. Ground blizzard conditions occurred south of an Earl Park to Monticello to Rochester line, while true blizzard conditions were met in Newton, Jasper & Pulaski counties.
February 25, 1965
Blizzard of February 1965; Purdue closed & areas schools were out for a week after 7-18” of snow, driven by strong winds, falls area-wide. The heaviest band occurred from near Indianapolis to Kokomo to La Grange, where up to 19” fell in places. The 12.5” at Indianapolis remains as the heaviest 24-hour snowfall total on record at Indianapolis. 18” fell at Kokomo, 11.5” Whitestown, 10” snow fell at Crawfordsville, 9.3” Delphi, 9” Winamac, Frankfort & Logansport, 9” was reported in the city of West Lafayette, 8.4” Romney, 8.3” fell at Rensselaer.
February 25, 1870
A large meteorite illuminated the entire sky in Renssleaer, according to the Smithsonian weather observer. So large, many though it had landed in a field, but it was never found.
February 26, 2000
This & February 11, 1999 are generally regarded as the warmest February day since February 4, 1890 in the viewing area.
West Lafayette hit 73, which tied with 1999 for the highest temperature recorded for the month of February in the 1901-2011 period. Wheatfield & Rochester hit 73 while Romney, Perrysville & Whitestown reached 74.
February 27, 1812
According to the Elfreth family, one of the earliest families to come to Cass County (Quaker Family from Pennsylvania), 1811-1812 was the coldest winter 1800-1922. Adding credence to this information, an early settler in southwest Indiana (History of Odon, Indiana) stated that there was a large bison die-off in 1811 from the rough winter with no bison east of the Mississippi after that point.
February 28, 1932
The least snowy winter (December-February) on record occurred with just 0.5” of snow in West Lafayette. Snowfall finally occurred in March with the heaviest snowfall event of the winter occurring on March 22 with 3”. A total of 8.5” fell in March with 0.2” of snowfall on April 1.
The winter of 1931-32 was very, very mild. The lowest temperature in February was just 18, while just two days in January dropped into the single digits (7 & 9). However, 5 days in March dropped into the single digits (lowest was 5 degrees).
February 29, 1857
The winters of 1811-12, 1819-20, 1856-57, 1976-77 & 1977-78 overall are generally regarded as the coldest winters of the past 200 years. Each were incredibly snowy with numerous days area-wide below zero. Great hard ship occurred on settlers to modern-day residents from these winters. The Wabash froze solid enough to easily navigate across in all of these years.
March 1, 1960
Coldest March temperatures on record for parts of the viewing area occurred. Only March 1833, 1868, 1872 & 1943 had temperatures this cold. The 1960s were known for their cold Marches with very cold weather occurred in 1964 & 1967, as well.
Romney dropped to -14, West Lafayette, Logansport & Peru to -12, while Frankfort had -11, Rensselaer -8. Delphi had -7, while Crawfordsville bottomed out at -4.
A deep snow pack of 7-14” resided across the area from late February through the first 8 days of March.
March 2, 1833
Early March 1833 was the coldest March weather until 1872. Andrew Jackson’s inauguration was done inside the hall of the House of Representatives as the Arctic air races east & southeastward.
There are indications that mid-March 1814 had a major cold wave. In fact, the temperature was 4 degrees at sunrise near Cincinnati, Ohio on one of the March mornings & readings were reportedly below zero at Chicago.
March 3, 1983
Winter & early spring was a big tease in 1982-83. The winter of 1982-83 was a very mild reprieve from the winters of deep snow & bitter cold in the late 1970s & early 1980s. A false spring also arrived early in 1983. Today would mark a 5-day stretch of temperatures in the 70s in the viewing area with overnight lows unseasonably mild in the mid to upper 50s. However, the coldest temperatures of the entire winter would occur March 23 with lows of -5 to 3, killing the fresh, new unfurling leaves & flowers of the trees & shrubs.
March 4, 1880
Severe weather outbreak occurred in the viewing area & over a good chunk of Indiana.
A tornado, likely an EF2, is said to have struck the “northwest side” of Lafayette area. Coming from the southwest, it struck at 9 p.m. & was “600 yards wide”. 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 “considerable damage” was reported in Lafayette from very strong winds & heavy rainfall from the storm passage around 10 p.m.
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.
March 5, 1828
The growing seasons were so long & the winters so mild in the mid & late 1820s that settlers raised cotton in Indiana. In fact, a cotton gin was built at Springfield, Illinois & Worthington, Indiana. The cotton industry collapsed in the early 1830s when a series of hard winters & uncommonly late frosts crushed the early investments in the Midwest. The winter of 1827-28 was exceptionally mild & appeared to rank up with the very mild winter of 1875-76 & 1889-90 in the Midwest & Ohio Valley. Daffodils were in blossom & American elms budding at Lexington, Kentucky in late January 1828. Peaches were reportedly blossoming in Arkansas in January 1828.
However, the coldest air of the season in many 1820s winters hit in late February or early March, before a nice, warm spring commenced.
March 6, 1956
A significant outbreak of severe weather occurred in the viewing area with 6 confirmed tornadoes. Golfball- to baseball-sized hail fell in a swath from near Radnor to south of Bringhurst to northwest of Burlington while an F2 tornado in Carroll County ripped through areas 1-1.5 miles northwest of Delphi.
An F2 tornado near Dunnington, in Benton County, injured 3 people & caused $1/4 million in damage, while another F2 injured 1 person as it tracked 2 miles from northwest of the Route 18/Co. Road 500E intersection to north to north of Galveston Airport to Co Road 700E.
Yet another F2 tornado touched down between Amboy & Converse in Miami, while an F2 did damage to farms northwest of Windfall. In White County, an F2 tornado did $3,000 in damage by side-swiping farms 1-1.5 miles northwest of Monticello. In Grant County, a significant F4 tornado killed 1 & injured 31 people as it tore through homes. A $¼ million in damage was done (1956 dollars).
March 7, 1961
Clean-up continued after 6 confirmed tornadoes roared through Warren, Tippecanoe, Clinton, Howard & Boone counties during the early morning hours of the 6th. All were F1’s & F2’s, but 2 large F3’s hit Howard County. 1 person was killed & 5 were injured while damage amounted to nearly $600,000 (1961 dollars).
March 8, 1943
Coldest March weather since 1868 occurred in our northwestern counties (Rest of the area, 1872 was the coldest March weather on record). Many of the records were not even broken by the 1960 Arctic blast. Wheatfield had a low temperature of -15, Frankfort -13, Rensselaer & Kentland both dropped to -11, Kokomo bottomed out at -10, Whitestown -8, & West Lafayette -3.
March 9, 1868
Heavy vegetation damage occurred after this early false spring.
March was called “very warm & pleasant” in 1868. March 4-12 was said to be very warm & spring-like. The first spring peeper frogs were calling March 4 & “all signs of spring [were] abundant” in early March with daily highs in the 60s & 70s.
However, late March & the first week of April was cold with early blooming, leafing & budding trees heavily burned by uncommonly hard frosts & lows of 20-25.
March 9, 1945
1945 was generally an early spring & warm summer with ample rainfall, leading to a very, very productive growing season. This was the earliest last date in spring with a temperature at or below 30 degrees at West Lafayette. Interestingly, the next year was also an early spring with one of the earliest last occurrences of 30 or less on March 11.
March 10, 1828
Today was the first of two main crests on the Wabash in the flooding, stormy spring of 1828 in the viewing area. Wabash is said to have been 27’ above low water mark south of Perrysville. As of 2011, the crest on March 15 is the 4th highest crest on record at Terre Haute with 28’. River is said to have been “well above flood” at Lafayette to Logansport.
March 11, 1962
An F3 tornado tracked through northern Boone County from near the 47/I-65 interchange to southwest of Kirklin. Much of the tornado’s path was over rural farmland & woodlots, but damage to a couple of farms amounted to $25,000 (1962 dollars).
March 11, 1990
A very rare potent early warm spell occurred, but was largely known for its incredibly warm nights. The overnight low temperatures were above 60 for 5 nights in parts of the area. 5 days with the temperature staying above 60 with highs of 75-80, is an extremely rare feat in early March.
At West Lafayette, overnight lows of 63, 62, 62 & 62 with highs in the mid to upper 70s occurred after intense t’storms & 66 degrees dumped 3.85” of rainfall on March 10.
Highs of 65 or greater occurred March 10-16 with 4 days in the upper 70s & lows of 64, 63, 63 & 62 March 12-15. Even at Wheatfield, 4 days peaked with 79 on 12 with lows of 59, 60, 61, 62 & 60.
Such warmth caused vegetation to rapidly bud & bloom prematurely. After hard freezes with lows in the teens & highs only near 32 by March 20, magnolia, forsynthia, red maple & Bradford pear blossoms were wiped out. Clusters of flower buds on fruit trees were burned by the cold.
I just remember the tulip tree leaves at home as big as a squirrel’s ear being covered in snow & ice at the end of the month & all of the green, leafed-out spirea bushes wiped out.
March 12, 1976
1 person was killed & 17 injured when 7 tornadoes descended in the WLFI viewing area in the late afternoon & evening of March 12, 1976. The strongest tornado was an F4 in Carroll County. An F3 in Jasper County & another F3 in hit Newton County. The Newton County was the only killer tornado with the 1 death in Newton County.
The WLFI viewing area wasn’t the only region to see tornadoes that day. A tornado damaged part of O’Hare airport in Chicago, killing 2 people. Numerous homes were damaged or destroyed in a tornado in the southwestern suburbs of Chicago & a supercell storm produced a tornado in Kankakee County, before the twister crossed into Newton County.
Interestingly, only 7 days later, an F4 tornado struck Tippecanoe County, injuring 6. Another 2 were injured in Carroll County by this same twister. This was apart of another outbreak which produced 18 tornadoes in Missouri, Illinois & Indiana, killing 8 & injuring 66 total.
Mid-late March 1976 was warm with numerous days in the 60s & 70s, contributing to the April & May-like severe weather.
March 12, 1991
Great ice storm of 1991: Numerous roads were closed by fallen trees, limbs & snapped power poles as 1.5-2” of ice covered all surfaces. A State of Emergency was declared across the viewing area with shelters opening after thousands lost power. 80% of Clinton County lost power while, 75% of Jasper County lost utilities. The icing was not as bad in Fulton & Miami counties, where there was more snow & sleet, than freezing rain.
At West Lafayette 2.80” of precipitation was recorded with most of it freezing rain (only about 0.10” of it was snow [1” measured). At Romney, 2.24” of precipitation was measured, but only around 0.06” of was likely snow, as just 0.6” of snow was measured.
It was the worst ice storm in the viewing area since January 26, 1967.
March 13, 2006
A supercell (with origins in Kansas on the 12th) merged with two supercells to form one main, monster storm of large hail & tornadoes. Moving at an average speed of 44 mph, it produced a total of 18 tornadoes across 7 states, killing 3 people. Moving out ahead of a developing squall line, the monster storm’s twister count included a pair of damaging F2 tornadoes with widths of around 0.4 miles at Springfield, Illinois. The storm then produced a funnel cloud at Kentland with 1” hail after midnight on the 13th. A swath of 0.88-1.5” hail fell through Newton, Jasper & Pulaski counties. The storm produced extensive wind damage in Marshall & Kosciusko counties with buildings damaged & trees & powerlines knocked down.
March 14, 1872
Major March cold wave; the worst since 1833 (1868 in our northwest counties)…………similar to 1960 & 1943. Widespread temperatures below 0 occurred in Indiana & Illinois with readings as low as -12 in the viewing area.
March 15, 1971
An F2 tornado cut through fields 1-2 miles southwest of the Route 47/U.S. 52 intersection in Boone County. Two people were injured when the twister hit their house. A wind gust of 58 mph was reported at Old U.S. 231 & South Beck Lane. Winds gusted to 60 mph southeast of Kirklin & near Sheridan.
March 16, 1906
+1” snow was on the ground March 11-25 with a peak depth of 9” March 19 & 20 in West Lafayette. March 1906 was unusually cold & snowy with single digit temperatures on the 12th, 17th, 18th, 19th & 22nd. The warmest temperature of the month with 55 on the 26th & every night was at or below freezing for the month except 4.
The temperature reached it lowest levels on the 16 or 17th in the viewing area with 1 at West Lafayette, Kokomo hit -1 (0 on two other mornings), Marion 3, Crawfordsville -1, Whitestown -8 (3 mornings below zero).
March 17, 1868
St. Patrick’s severe outbreak: This event had widespread wind damage that “extended over much of Illinois & Indiana” with significant damage from the “hurricane” at Springfield, Illinois. No tornadoes were reported, but lots of what appeared to be straight-line wind damage occurred.
March 17, 1989
St. Patrick’s Day severe weather event brings damaging straight-line winds & some 0.75” hail to Tippecanoe , Clinton, Warren counties, downing trees, power lines & outbuildings.
March 18, 1906
A late-season snowstorm began with 8.3” of snowfall accumulation by March 19 at West Lafayette. Marion picked up a whooping 12”, while Kokomo measured 11”. This heavy band extended southward with 13” at Bloomington, Indiana. Crawfordsville had 9”, Whitestown 8”, while 6.5” fell Rensselaer & 7” at Winamac.
March 19, 1948
Severe weather outbreak hit the viewing area & throughout the Midwest. Wind gust of 100 mph was measured at Kokomo & wind cups were blown off of the anemometer at the Indianapolis airport with a measured gust of 95 mph.
Widespread, significant wind damage occurred from Tippecanoe to Howard County as a squall line blasted through the area.
Damaging tornadoes occurred in Illinois & Missouri. A total of 52 people were killed & 300 were injured in the Midwest. Just 7 days later another severe outbreak would occur with a long-track, violent tornado near Indianapolis & tornadoes in Warren County.
March 19, 2012
The last of the substantial cold usually occurs around this time. The average last occurrence of 20 at Crawfordsville is March 18, Romney, West Lafayette, Delphi, Logansport & Whitestown March 19, Frankfort & Winamac March 20, Rensselaer, Rochester & Perrysville March 22, Kokomo March 23, Kentland & Marion March 24, Wheatfield & Peru March 26.
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
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.
Hail was reported at Rensselaer.
March 21, 1976
Clean-up continued after a large, multi-vortex F4 tornado tore through areas just northwest of West Lafayette. Several farmsteads were damaged & one home was totally destroyed. This tornado was photographed & researched greatly by Purdue Geosciences Professors E.M. Agee, J.T. Snow, F.S. Nickerson, P.R. Clare, C.R. Church & L.A. Schaal who documented the many suction vortices within the parent funnel. This supercell originated near Charleston, Illinois.
March 22, 1916
One person was killed at Monon & another at Logansport by one, possibly two nighttime tornadoes. The damage was the worst, reportedly, in northern White County. Two others were killed in the tornado path from collapsed buildings & a total of 100 people were injured.
Additionally, a narrow path of destructive damaging winds was reported in southern Newton & Jasper counties with additional damaging winds outside of the tornado in Cass & Miami counties. A train was blown off the track & toppled. Property damage was immense for the time. The Weather Bureau Monthly Weather Review reported “conservatively estimated” damage at “$1,000,000 to $1,500,000” (1916 dollars).
This was part of a much larger, major tornado outbreak that killed 112 people & injured 741 from the Midwest to southeast U.S., 58 tornadoes were confirmed, 27 of which were killer tornadoes.
March 23, 1907
The viewing area was in the midst of some of the warmest March weather ever experienced. Today was the third day the temperature reached 83 at West Lafayette & the morning low was only 61, when the average HIGH is 51. Another high of 83 would occur at West Lafayette on the 26th, forcing vegetation into bud & flower. Marion had 4 days in the low to mid 80s with 84 on 23rd & 85 on the 26th, while the low temperature on the 22nd, 27th & 28th was in the lower 60s.
Crawfordsville had 4 days in the 80s, including 85 on the 21st & 84 on the 22nd.
Remarkably, the low temperature at Whitestown on the 28th was just 67.
March 24, 1975
Between 2:15 & 2:35 a.m., a squall line of damaging winds of 60-75 raked Fountain, Montgomery, Clinton, Carroll & Boone counties as a strong low pressure pivoted through Iowa.
The strong, occluding low brought strong winds of up to 40 mph during the day of the 24 with sunshine in the dry slot in the morning with a low stratus cloud deck pivoting in the afternoon with falling temperatures through the 50s.
March 25, 1836
There was 6-8” of snowfall on the ground in the Lafayette area, though this was regarded as the first decent day with more spring-like weather in months. This was the first day at sap reportedly ran from the sugar maples. Even March 19, the Wabash in Lafayette was said to be “full from bank to bank of floating ice”.
March 25, 1884
A severe weather outbreak occurred in Indiana with damage reported from Brookville & Seymour, Indianapolis to Monticello. A destructive storm unroofed homes, destroyed barns & knocked down numerous trees around Dayton, Tippecanoe County at 6 p.m. with the “greatest damage was done at points south & east of this city”.
A tornado wiped out the town of Scipio in southern Indiana, but no tornadoes were reported in the viewing area. Other tornadoes occurred in Fayette, Jefferson & possibly Hancock County in Indiana.
March 26, 1913
Record crest on the Wabash in downtown Lafayette at 32.9’. Wildcat Creek crested a whooping 15.4’ above flood stage at 25.4’ on 28th.
March 27, 1948
Clean-up began after several tornadoes struck Indiana on March 26. 20 people were killed in Coatesville, Indiana (west of Indianapolis) as a tornado hit the town head-on. Two tornadoes occurred in Warren County, one southwest of Pine Village & another northwest of Williamsport. Numerous trees were toppled & several farms were damaged
March 28, 1902
A high of 69 at West Lafayette, 71 at Crawfordsville & 68 at Kokomo fueled a squall line along a surface cold front & rapidly-developing surface low. This produced damaging winds of up to 75 mph across the viewing area knocking tree & limbs, as well at fences down. Heavy damage occurred to business, trees & homes from Peru to Fort Wayne, especially. 5 were killed & 11 injured by a tornado near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from this storm system. Other tornadoes with fatalities occurred in the southern U.S. with one significant tornado near Crowley, Louisiana.
March 29, 1910
March 1910 was incredibly warm & remains as one of the warmest Marches on record, still, for the viewing area. It was also the driest March on record for a large portion of the viewing area.
Some of the warmest temperatures on record for the month of March occurred this month with 87 at Rensselaer & West Lafayette, 86 Marion, 85 Kokomo & Crawfordsville & 84 Whitestown. Logansport & Delphi hit 87.
West Lafayette, Crawfordsville, Rensselaer & Marion hit +80 4 times during the month, Kokomo had 3 & Rochester 2. Only 1986, 1942 & perhaps 1921 & 1915 rivaled the hot temperatures so early in the season.
Remarkably, not a single drop of rain fell at Kokomo during the month & just 0.11” of rainfall occurred at Whitestown in April 1910, making it still the driest Aprils on record at those locations. Just 0.33” fell at Rochester, making it the driest of record, while the 0.34” was also the April record driest. A measly 0.05” of rainfall at Marion still remains as the driest April on record.
March 30, 1999
For a good chunk of the viewing area 1999 had the earliest last freeze on record. This was the earliest last freeze on record at Delphi, Frankfort & Perrysville when the average last freeze date is generally around April 25, nearly a month earlier than normal. At Attica, the record early last freeze occurred March 28 & at Rensselaer at March 29. Spring 1941 is another year noted for an unusually early last freeze. The latest freeze on record at West Lafayette & Crawfordsville occurred March 30, 1941 & on April 4, 1941 at Kokomo.
March 31, 2012
The high temperature at West Lafayette on this date was just 57 degrees, one of only 3 daily high temperatures below 60 in the warmest March on record.
The main feature of the month was an historic “heat wave” in mid- to late-March which brought incredible temperatures for the time of year. It was the warmest period for March since 1910. For 9 consecutive days, high temperatures either near or in the 80s occurred in the viewing area.
At the Purdue Agronomy Farm COOP station, highs in the 80s occurred on 9 consecutive days March 14-23 with 82, 82, 80, 80, 82, 84, 86, 87 & 82. The 87 on March 21, tied for the all-time maximum temperature reading for the month of March in the 1887-2012 West Lafayette data set.
At WLFI-TV, this period had highs at 82, 82, 81, 79, 81, 84, 85, 87 & 83. Kokomo COOP had 80, 80, 80, 75, 82, 82, 84, 86 & 84.
Rensselaer reached 87 on March 21.
Winamac COOP station hit 82, 80, 80, 78, 80, 82, 84, 86 & 84 during the “heat wave”.
Plymouth had 82, 82, 80, 78, 82, 82, 84, 87, 84.
The nights were also very warm. Overnight lows did not drop below the 60s at the Ag Farm for 3 consecutive nights & WLFI had 5 nights in the 60s. Even Winamac had 3 consecutive nights that did not drop below 60.
The very warm weather forced vegetation into leaf & blossom nearly a month ahead of schedule. At West Lafayette, Flowering Dogwoods reached the peak of blossom by March 31, White & Black Oaks had leaves the size of a squirrel’s ear on March 29. The lilacs were in bloom March 22 & Eastern Redbuds blossoming on March 18. Some tuliptree leaves were near full growth by March 27.
April 1, 1845
The first commercial telegraph line was opened on this date. This made the science of weather forecasting possible as observations could be gathered in real time, plotted on a map and forecasts drawn from the data. Communities could also be warned about approaching severe storms and tornadoes.
April 1, 1877
Three miles northwest of Onward, Cass County, a tornado destroyed the United Brethren Church.
April 1, 1875
The first daily newspaper weather map was published by the London Times. The first American newspaper weather map would be published on 5/12/1876 in the New York Herald. Weather maps would first appear on a regular basis beginning on 5/9/1879 in the New York Daily Graphic.
April 2, 1941
Other than 1999, 1941 is regarded as having the latest freeze on record for parts of the viewing area. The earliest last freeze on record at West Lafayette was April 2, 1941.
April 2, 1837
Large, historic winter storm pivoted up the Mississippi & Ohio Valleys, dumping 17” of snow on downtown St. Louis & 24” in surrounding areas & 9” at Minneapolis (then Fort Snelling). A glaze of ice thickly accumulated in central & northern Indiana to Michigan.
April 3, 1911
Thunder & lightning accompanied a burst of snowfall in Lafayette. Same phenomenon reported in Frankfort.
Wind gusts of up to 45 mph are likely in the viewing area tonight. Band of periodic rain and perhaps even an isolated thunder shower or two will accompany passage of strong cold front. Temperatures will drop from 50-55 today to 20-25 tonight to Tuesday morning with some scattered flurries and snow showers. Tomorrow nights lows could dip to 8-12 with wind chills to -7. In terms of rainfall from this front looks like .2 to .40″ at most. I will have maps on the blog this afternoon.
Periodic rain will move in Monday afternoon and end late evening-night.
In terms of thursday afternoon to friday midday, agreement continues to be very good. Timing and precip types all look good. Able to say 1-3″ of snow and sleet with up to 1/8″ ice beforechanging to rain. Will change if need be but analog and all model data look good and in very good agreement. Heaviest snow and sleet would tend to be in our northern counties.
On going forecast for Thursday to Friday looks very consistent. Snow will likely move in Thursday afternoon. It will then change to sleet then freezing rain from southwest to northeast and eventually rain as temps go from 26 to 36 to 28.
In terms of accumulation before a change over to rain it would be good to get a round of really good sampling to input into models before talking about accumulations. Right now storm is in a zone of much less sampling in the pacific.
Regardless model consistency has been surprisingly good. Putting this system against others in an analog data set a snow and ice event is overwhelm impede with no rain. However we need to watch this and see if track changes which will determine precip types and duration of those types
Snowfall data is largely NWS COOP site Purdue Ag Farm. Some of it is combined in some years, as I found in a few “0″ Januaries, there was actually snow in West Lafayette, making some of the “0″ Januaries seemingly inaccurate. For example, in 1990, Ag Farm had “0″ in January, but Purdue & Throckmorton Ag Farm sites had 1-2″ & WLFI has 1.5″, so this may have been a mistake in the data or the snow melted before observation time. Some of the data in the Ag Farm COOP set has 1″ falling on some days & 10″ being on the ground after that 1″, obviously an error, so I had to look at stations around that site to give the most accurate picture of snowfall for the Lafayette/West Lafayette area.
I noticed last year that I would measure 3″ of snowfall at the station for an event & it would all melt off before 7 a.m. the next morning. after falling in the afternoon. At the 7 a.m. observation time the next morning at the Ag Farm it would read “0″ even though we did have 3″, but it had melted. This would mislead you to believe much less snowfall occurred last winter than what actually fell.
So, some of the “0″ months were misleading & I replaced them with the COOP station near Purdue data (FCWOS) with a look at the fragmented WLFI weather records taken during the 1990s & 2000s before I started consistent, daily observations at WLFI in 2009.
Data before 1901 is taken on the Purdue University campus at the original Civil Engineering building. Data prior to 1887 is from Lafayette.
For more information on forecast now-next week check out the post just prior to this one.
TOP LEAST SNOWY JANUARIES IN WEST LAFAYETTE
1. 0 1908, 1932, 1944, 1989
2. Trace 1900
3. 0.2″ 1898, 1916, 1973
4. 0.3″ 1998
5. 0.5″ 1919
6. 0.7″ 1896
7. 0.8″ 1933
8. 1.0″ 1986, 2013
WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THOSE TOP 8 LEAST SNOWY JANUARIES (IN TERMS OF SNOWFALL)
DID DROUGHT FOLLOW IN THOSE YEARS?
Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr.
1896 0 0.7″ 0.8″ 9.5″ Trace (on 3 days)
Drought? No. Very wet summer with normal rainfall in the spring. In July, 10″ of rainfall occurred at West Lafayette with
frequent heavy t’storms & very high dew points August was wet & the fall had normal rainfall. 1894-95 & 1897 were major drought years, however
This was after drought & record heat in the fall of 1891 & major drought & record heat wave in the summer of 1887 after similar conditions in the summer of 1881.
1898 0.2″ 2.9″ 6.3″ 0
Drought? No. Rainfall was normal in the spring & summer with slightly-below rainfall in late fall. 1897 was a major drought year, however.
1908 0 14″ 0 0
Drought? Yes. Significant Drought July-November (1.84″ Aug. 1-Nov. 30)…Reaches Extreme Status
1916 0.2″ 4″ 3.6″ 0
Drought? Yes. August to October
1919 0.5″ 0.2″ 3.5″ 0
Drought? Sort of. Abnormally Dry August-September
1932 0 0.5″ 8.5″ 0.2″
Drought? Yes. April to August
1933 0.8″ 2″ 7.5″ 0
Drought? Yes. Significant Drought (Only 0.32″ in June…….Reaches Extreme Status)
1944 0 9.7″ 3.3″ 0
Drought? Yes. June-December (Reaches Extreme Drought by November)
1973 0.2″ 1″ 2″ 0.5″
Drought? No. Above-Normal Rainfall Over Summer & Normal Rainfall In Fall
1986 1″ 8.3″ 1″ 0
Drought? No. Ample Rainfall Over Summer & Fall (Very Wet May & September)
1989 0 7″ 1″ 0
Drought? No. Ample Rainfall
1998 0.3″ 0 4″ 0
Drought? Sort of. Wet Until July (Very Wet at Times) August-September Only 2.26″ with Abnormal Dryness
2013 1″ ? ? ?
ORE WILL BE ADDED TO THIS & I AM WORKING ON RE-CONSTRUCTING A MAP OF THE SURFACE LOW, COLD FRONT, WARM FRONT, ETC. THAT DAY FROM THE OLD, OLD WEATHER RECORDS & OLD DATA AVAILABLE………………MORE WILL BE ADDED TO THIS………….IT APPEARS THERE MAY HAVE BEEN TORNADOES IN ARKANSAS FROM THIS, TOO. I AM DIGGING MORE INTO THAT RIGHT NOW…………..
In the Annual Report of the Indiana State Board of Agriculture, it states that an “unequaled storm” occurred at Indianapolis on January 20 with hail that “drifted into hills” & that some places “blew a tornado”. The temperature also dropped from 60 to near 0 in 24 hours. In the second image, I have taken reports from the newspapers, early government weather observers, that early tornado survey, as well as diaries to plot storm reports.
Article from the New York Times:
AWFUL TORNADO IN OHIO — THE TOWN OF BRANDON AMLOST SWEPT AWAY — MOUNT VERNON PARTLY INUNDATED — IMMENSE DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY.
Mount Vernon, (Ohio,) Saturday, Jan. 21.
Yesterday afternoon this section of the country was visited by the
heaviest storm of wind, rain, thunder and lightning, that we have experienced since 1828. A perfect tornado was experienced some six miles south of this. The town of Brandon was almost entirely destroyed, scarcely a house being left to mark the site of the place. DR. WHEATON was seriously, if not mortally injured, and a MRS. SMITH was also badly hurt. The tornado was about half a mile wide, tearing up everything in its track, but the full extent of the damage we have not yet been able to learn. Our streams have overflowed their banks, and EBENEZER JENKINS, while attempting to cross Armstrong River last evening, was thrown from his buggy and drowned. BUCKINGHAM & Co’s stable was struck by lightning and destroyed. The lower part of our town was almost inundated by the tremendous quantity of rain that fell, and out streets look more like rivers than thoroughfares. The damage must be very heavy, as the sectioni through which the storm passed was thickly settled.
Here’s a newspaper article from Feb. 14, 1854:
“To-day, about 4 o’clock, P. M., the town of Harrison, (twenty miles northwest of Cincinnati) was visited by a fearful and destructive tornado, tearing down dwellings, stables, &c. The course of the current of air was nearly from southwest to northeast, and the width of its track was about one hundred yards. A thunder shower came on from about N.W., with indications of a heavy rain which was realized. Probably ten or fifteen minutes after the commencement of the rain, the tornado came down the White Water Hills, northwest of town, and about west of GOODLEY’S Mill, and struck the town in the direction of the Presbyterian Church, and crossing the pike near the east end of the town. It left in its track such destruction and desolation as we have never before seen. Houses, stables, fences, trees and out-buildings were prostrated, and in many cases blown into the adjoining lots. We were on the ground in a few minutes after the destruction, and gathered up in a hasty manner the items of destruction and loss. There are of course many omissions in the individual losses. A young man by the name of WM. PRUDEN, had his leg broken, and IRONAS HOMAN was dangerously wounded, and several others are more or less injured; but no lives lost. It is a miracle, too, for several houses and shops were entirely blown down.”
Below is an early NWS-type tornado survey in the the American Journal of Science & Arts of November 1854 from O.N. Stoddard of Miami University in Ohio. He calculated the winds in one particular twister in Knox County, Ohio peaking at 173 mph, based on the damage. This would equate to an EF4 tornado by today’s standards.
Working on this…………..it is partially done. Want to look at absolutely everything & make judgement call based on as much data as possible.
Blue Ash is an interesting tree. When wounded, it oozes sap that turns blue when exposed to air (you can make a dye out of it), the twigs are square-shaped & it has a sweet tooth. That is, it exclusively grows on soils that are “sweet” or limy. Most common in limestone areas, it also is found in areas where calcium carbonate crust is leached within the upper 36″ of soil. Calcium leached deeper than this & higher soil acidity will see Blue Ash disappear in native woodlands. It is this limy soil that gives rise to a unique type of woodland in Indiana made up of trees that have “sweet tooths”. These species include Chinkapin Oak, Blue Ash, Black Maple, Butternut, Ohio Buckeye, Shumard Oak, Honeylocust & Eastern Redcedar. In fact, this exclusive type of woodland is found in several areas of the state with Blue Ash making a substantial part of the forest.
It feels eels most at home & most common in savanna environment, though & on uplands that are rocky, very limy & well-drained.
LIMESTONE HILLS OF SOUTHERN INDIANA
KARST PLAIN OF SOUTHERN INDIANA
BLUEGRASS UPLANDS OF SOUTHEASTERN INDIANA
LIMESTONE CANYONS OF ENTRENCHED AREA OF NORTH-CENTRAL INDIANA
TIPTON TILL PLAIN
Gravelly eskers & kames of calcareous gravels & sands (ground limestone).
“YOUNG” CALCAREOUS LOESS UPLANDS WITH SUFFICIENT LOESS KINDCHEN
Mild winters, specifically 1801-02, excited much comment about a changing climate in the eastern U.S. at the time. There are some very early comments from frontier forts & the earliest towns on this winter in Indiana, too.
”No snow of any consequence” fell at Albany, New York until February 22 & “in January the mercury generally ranged between and 40 to 50 degrees” & was called “a remarkably mild winter”, according to the Annals of Albany by Joel Munsell. The lowest temperature in the winter of 1803-04 was only 12 degrees at Albany, remarkable for any winter in central New York state. In the winter of 1800-01, it was regarded as very mild and “but little snow”.
In the book by Rev. Thomas Smith, published in 1807, there an interesting segment regarding very mild winters (with reference to 1801-02).
“In the year 1714, according to the record of the Swedish mission, the winter was so mild in Philadelphia, that flowers were seen in the woods in February. Since that time we have experienced occasional very mild winters, as 1789-90, 1801-02, and 1805-06, and some very cold seasons, as in 1739-40, 1779-80, 1784-85, 1795-96, and 1804-05.”
In a letter to Philadelphia physician and professor Nathaniel Chapman dated Dec. 11, 1809, nine months after he left the presidency, Jefferson wrote: “The change which has taken place in our climate is one of those facts which all men of years are sensible of and yet none can prove by regular evidence. They can only appeal to each other’s general observation for the fact.
“I remember that when I was a small boy, say sixty years ago, snows were frequent and deep in every winter, to my knee very often, to my waist sometimes, and that they covered the earth long. And I remember while yet young to have heard from very old men that in their youth the winters had been still colder, with deeper and longer snows. In the year 1772, thirty-seven years ago, we had a snow two feet deep in the Champain parts of this state, and three feet in the counties next below the mountains . . .
“While I lived at Washington, I kept a Diary, and by recurring to that I observe that from the winter of 1802-03 to that of 1808-09 inclusive, the average fall of snow of the seven winters was only 14½ inches, and that the ground was covered but sixteen days in each winter on average of the whole. The maximum in any one winter during that period was 21 inches fall, and 34 days on the ground, the minimum was 4½ inches fall and two days on the ground . . .”
Working on this……..