Local Weather History: Historic March 3-4, 1875 Snowstorm

This was a significant snowstorms, which was part of the snowiest March on Record & one of the snowiest months overall on record.

Posted: Mar 7, 2019 6:01 PM
Updated: Mar 4, 2020 10:32 PM

In a classic "Inside Runner" track, major snowstorm struck Texas to the Midwest, Great Lakes & Northeast.

Accumulations were historic in Arkansas & western Tennessee with 17-30"!

High winds accompanied the storm here, but it is unclear whether it could be classified as a blizzard.

12" of snowfall was measured in Lafayette with drifts of up to 5 FEET.  The snow was so deep that trains were stopped & could not run for days.  The area was reportedly "snowbound".

This storm remains the second heaviest March snowstorm on record for Greater Lafayette.  The heaviest occurred just 16 days later in March 1875!  It was quite a March!  That storm brought historic tornado outbreak to the southern U.S.  In a spring of late snows, New York's Central Park picked up an astounding 10" in a historic April 13-14, 1875 snowstorm!  Another heavy snowfall occurred in southern Lower Michigan on May 1!  2" of snow fell at Richmond, Indiana on April 16.

It was the worst snowstorm for Lafayette & the viewing area as a whole since the blizzard in January 1873.  Before that, January 1867 was the big one, then New Years Eve 1863-64.

At St. Louis was reportedly the worst snowstorm since the New Years Eve Blizzard of 1863-64. 

At Knoxville, Tennessee, this storm reportedly capped off the worst winter for cold & snow since 1863-64.  The 1875 snowstorm brought flooding rainfall to the city with the "worst freshet since 1867".  We also saw a flood at the same time in February 1867 with the Wabash among the top 10 highest levels on record.

This occurred after deep snow pack getting established in January to early February, followed by heavy rainfall.

As the storm wobbled & stalled briefly in Arkansas, incredibly heavy snowfall totals occurred in southwestern part of that state.  Snow was accompanied by thunder & lightning at times.  Settlers there reported that no snowfall even came close at any time of year back to 1835.

March 14, 1843 was the last time that a March snowfall came even close to the accumulation experienced in Little Rock, Arkansas.  This was the great historic snowstorm of March 1843 that swept the South after an incredibly warm late winter.  8" fell, followed by record-breaking cold (by modern-day standard records).

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