Sort of Interesting Weather Day

February 7th, 2013 at 6:39 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

Its been sort of an interesting weather day.  Rain is almost immediately coinciding with the arrival of clouds after a mostly sunny day for much of the area. 

 We saw the process of adiabatic warming today.  This is air starting at a high elevation & then downsloping & compressing.  This heats the air up, dries it out & acts as a cloud eater.  This said, you often gets this on the western & northwestern edge of a hurricane where you have such rising motion inside it, the outflow spreading out from it, or its “lungs” creates a corridor of sinking area on it top & left outer edges.

Today, intense low pressure is developing south of the Appalachians with wind pivoting around this & up & over the Appalachians.  The air then downslopes into the Ohio Valley & eastern Corn Belt with south-southeast wind component.  This actually is a more common phenomenon than you think in places like Louisville, Kentucky where wind downsloping of the “knobs” frequently warms the city & metro area in the Ohio Valley bowl there, compared to areas nearby.  This can occur there with a southeast wind even without rapidly-intensifying surface low pressure nearby.

You also can get some sinking air out ahead of a cold front, as rising air accompanies the front with rain.  The air is being pulled toward it sinks.

Also, a tongue of warm air originating down in Texas was pulled northward too, all pointing to a relatively warm day ahead of our cold & northwest of intense storm developing in the southeast U.S.

Our relatively humidity dropped from 85% at 9 a.m. to 41% by 3:45 p.m.

With adiabatic warming processes gone, we have cooled off to 43 as of 6:37 p.m. at WLFI after a high of 53.  Logansport is already down to 37.  After a high of 58, Crawfordsville is down to 46, even without rainfall.



February 7th, 2013 at 4:36 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

Temperatures have warmed up very nicely in southern counties with 58 at Covington & Crawfordsville.  60s are found in the southern part of Indiana.  Rainfall is slowly coming in from the west.  This will arrive this evening, but is trending as a slow process.

Update for Now-Tomorrow

February 7th, 2013 at 2:24 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

Rain is just sitting near I-57 & barely making progress eastward.  Winds at 10,000′ are becoming paralell to low-level winds, so most of the rain is moving north/northeast, while very slowly advancing east.

This said, skies have been slow to turn cloudy & our temperatures have responded very nicely with dry, down-sloping component to the southeast wind today.  In fact, our high at WLFI, just hit 51.1 degrees!  This, after 29, then slowly rising this morning to 31.

Showers will eventually arrive by late afternoon-evening.

Rain will end by late, late evening-early overnight.  HOWVER, there are signs that there could be a little bit of patchy freezing drizzle late tonight with the low stratus cloud deck & perhaps a few little flurries.  Winds will crank up tonight with southwest winds initially becoming west, then northwest with gusts up to 30 mph. after midnight.

Tomorrow looks windy with low stratus breaking up in the afternoon with skies likely becoming mostly cloudy, then partly cloudy.  Gusts from the northwest may reach 35, mph with sustained winds at 18-22 mph.

Showers This Afternoon-Evening

February 7th, 2013 at 10:57 am by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

We have had a couple isolated rain/sleet showers move through northern Newton & Jasper counties this morning, otherwise the viewing area has been dry. Some nice, dry air has eroded away clouds in a nice big hole in our region, so about 85% of the viewing area is mostly sunny as of 11 a.m.

However, a nice band of showers is residing west of I-57 in Illinois & the solid overcast coincides with it almost immediately there.  So, it may stay pretty nice & bright out until just before rainfall arrival.  Showers should arrive in the afternoon-evening.  High temperatures today will run in the 40s.

Potentially Historic Nor’Easter……….New Info On Potential Snowfall Next Week & Snowfall Beyond Valentine’s Period

February 6th, 2013 at 9:58 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

Temperatures have tanked into the 20s in our eastern, southern & southeastern counties, but readings are already leveling off in our northwestern & western counties.  Thick overcast is overspreading the area from west & northwest to east & southeast with east-southeast winds turning to the southeast & picking up.

All this said, think our northern & western counties have bottomed out for the night & will hold steady, if not rise some.  As for east & southeast, readings may fall a couple degrees, then level off before they begin to slowly rise.

A strong clipper to the north will dump over a foot of snow in Michigan, while its cold front  & strengthening storm system near the Gulf Coast will bring us a wave of scattered showers Thursday afternoon-evening (wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple isolated rain showers/sleet showers in Newton & Jasper counties tomorrow morning that briefly skim by though).  0.13 to 0.25″ of rainfall is likely with this system in our viewing area.  Highs will run from the upper 30s to mid 40s.

Friday & Saturday look dry & partly cloudy with highs in the 30s & 40s.  Meanwhile, potentially historic Nor’Easter may dump 12″ of snowfall in the New York City area & 24″ in the Boston area.  Wind gusts of 60 mph are likely in this region.

Windy, rainy system with warmer air & perhaps even some thunder will pass Sunday-very early Monday morning.  0.50-1″ of rainfall is likely.


We need to watch a potential snow system originating in southern California & moving northeast from Texas next week.  After highs in the 30s Tuesday & Wednesday, it appears a band of accumulating snowfall in the area will be possible in the Wednesday night-Thursday time frame.  HOWEVER, this timing is subject to change.  I would just count on “near Valentine’s Day” right now before timing solidifies.

Although the potential exists for accumulating snow, depending on the track, it is not totally out of the question significant accumulating snow to occur, if this storm can track just right into our area.

It looks like a rather wet, gloppy snow with temperatures near 30-32, but Arctic air appears to roar in behind it with temperatures dropping to single digits to near zero for a few nights with a couple of Alberta Clippers thrown into the regime up to February 22.  These may bring minor accumulating snowfall after this potent snow potential.  Stay tuned for updates on ANY changes to this forecast.  Storm track & associated snowfall amounts &/or precip type may affect amounts here.


Thursday Systems Here Will Blow Up Into Big Nor’Easter with Blizzard In the Northeast U.S. (Up to 24″ of Snow Possible In Boston Area)

February 6th, 2013 at 3:57 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

Clouds are taking longer to arrive today with the leading edge still way up on the Illinois/Wisconsin & Illinois/Iowa borders.  That said, we will have mostly clear skies for a while this evening-tonight.  That with a slower onset of southeast to south wind will allow temperature to drop quickly into the middle 20s.  However, as the clouds arrive tonight & that southeast to south wind kicks in, they will rise to near 30 by morning.

With system & front movement decelerating some, it appears that any showers will not arrive until Thursday afternoon-evening, rather than arriving midday-afternoon, followed by a temperature drop.

Great Question……..

February 6th, 2013 at 3:31 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

Val had a great question here on the blog.

Will the upcoming rain & wet ground make more moisture so we can get more snowfall with the next system that has cold air with it (with dry air eating up a lot of snowfall this winter)?

This is a good point.  Usually our snow eaters have little to do with our moisture, but the moisture west or northeast of us (where our surface air is coming from).  If there is a Plains drought, dry air there may eat up snowfall, but usually it is very dry, cold air originating off large expanses of land.  HOWEVER, Plains drought can veer low-level jet too far to the east & southeast, drastically cutting down on our moisture, instability & even forcing.  On the other hand, this dry, cold air over a large expanse of land usually comes from eastern Canada & then either directly bleeds in or get recycled into our area around high pressure to our east.  If very dry, cold air penetrates deep into the southern U.S., even with a warm up & south wind, that dry, cool air will get  re-pushed/recycled up into our area before robust southerly flow can truly push it out or falling precipitation can moisten up a deeply dry layer.

Southeast breezes are often pretty dry in winter, too.  you tend to get downsloping air off the Appalachians, which can dry air more as it moves towards our area.

These give us our typical snow-eaters or precip eaters here.

Next Week

February 6th, 2013 at 12:20 am by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

Still looks like we need to watch next week near Valentine’s Day for snow, followed by Arctic air.

There are still many questions on track & timing, but we will continue to watch this.




Remembering Charlotte In Monon

February 5th, 2013 at 11:15 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

Charlotte in Monon passed away suddenly Monday evening at the age of 79.

Charlotte was a valuable & very dedicated weather spotter & observer for White County.  I could always count on her rainfall, snowfall totals & high & low temperatures at Monon nearly every day.  She & I, being nature lovers, chatted via email about the birds, first mushrooms, gardens & plants many times over the over 4 years I have been here.

I will miss her kindness, dedication, love of weather & nature & pics.

Thoughts & prayers go to her family & friends, specifically her husband Gene.  Thank you to her son Keith for letting us know about her passing Monday evening very suddenly.

We are all a weather family here & when we loose one of our dedicated spotters, it is hard, as we all get to know each other here & share the same love & passion for our variable Hoosier weather year after year.

Snowfall Information & Reconstructing an 1854 Winter Severe Weather Outbreak

February 5th, 2013 at 9:50 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

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.


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



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″        ?          ?           ?


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:


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.