Local Weather History: The Record Early Snowfall & Cold of October 9-11, 1906

I did not receive any Friday Feedback questions for last week, so here is a look back at the historic cold spell & snowfall of October 1906. Only 1875 is comparable this chill so early. 1869 is comparable to snow so early.

Posted: Oct. 8, 2018 5:11 PM
Updated: Oct. 8, 2018 10:30 PM

Snow scene at Culver, Indiana:

October 9 snow scene at Notre Dame (with fully-foliated trees):

October 9, 1906

The earliest snow on record fell at Lafayette. The high temperature was a record-breaking minimum high of 39. Other flakes flew at Rensselaer, Delphi, Winamac, Rochester& Logansport. The high reached just 41 at Kokomo, Crawfordsville& Marion. An unprecedented 2-7” of lake effect snow fell in Marshall& Fulton counties. Plymouth received 6” of snowfall & it was reported in the local newspaper that the snow fell before there was any frost & most of the leaves were still green. Rochester reported 7” of snowfall. Most other areas reported a trace. Northern Miami County had 1-2”.

This was reportedly the biggest snowfall so early in the season in northern Indiana since October 15, 1842 with 12" at LaPorte & nearly 24" at South Bend.  In our viewing area, it was the coldest so early since 1875 & snowiest so early since a 9" snow in the Lafayette area in October of 1869.

October 11, 1906

A highly-unusual intense cold snap occurred in early 1906. On this date, the temperature dropped to 20 degrees at West Lafayette. The all-time record low temperature for October was set in 1881 with 16, however this occurred late in the month on the 30th.

The early hard, hard freeze put the kibosh on much fall color as many of the leaves were still green.  Many withered, turned brown & fell in the frosty cold. Plymouth dropped to an eye-opening 16.

Kokomo dropped to 22, while Crawfordsville & Marion bottomed out at 23, Whitestown had 19.

Very oddly, the temperatures would not get that cold again until early December & readings were up to 80 again by the 16th.

Snow was actually caused by a clipper-type system & an Arctic cold front.  Strong Arctic high pressure followed (see in maps below):

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West Lafayette
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Kokomo
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Rensselaer
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Fowler
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Crawfordsville
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Frankfort
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Delphi
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Monticello
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