Local Weather History: Mid-July 1995 Memorable Period of Weather For the Area

From intense heat wave to intense storms, mid-July 1995 was interesting!

Posted: Jul 17, 2019 3:46 PM
Updated: Jul 17, 2019 9:09 PM

14 people were killed in Indiana directly from an intense heat wave known for its extreme heat indices (dew points) & very warm overnights in mid-July 1995. Dew points were as high as 83 degrees. This, combined with temperatures near 100, resulted in some of the highest heat indices ever experienced (+120 degrees). 6 consecutive days were in the 90s with 2-3 days near 100 in the viewing area.

Kentland peaked at 103, City of West Lafayette, Delphi & Morocco hit 101, Rensselaer & Logansport 100, Perrysville, Boswell & Maron 99 with Winamac & the Purdue Agronomy Farm peaking at 98. The morning low on July 14 at West Lafayette was just 81 degrees, one of the warmest overnights on record & the warmest overnight low since 1983.

It all began with a very wet spring & significant planting delays over the area.  In fact, other than 1996, 1995 saw the worst planting delays & wettest early summer conditions since 1979.  1995 was not surpassed until 2019 as the most delayed planting season.  1957 & 1958 bear resemblance with the lateness, as well.

Prior to that, you have to really go back to 1943, then 1927 to find similar widespread, consistent, very wet field situations so late in the planting season.

This led to a lot of unplanted fields in 1995 with large expanses of bare, brown fields that had been sprayed or worked mixed with tasseling corn by July.  Many areas southwest of us were also still very wet, though we were drying out.

This led to a combination of the already-hot air of the sinking upper ridge with hot, dry heat-soaking brown fields with humidity water vapor-releasing actively-growing corn & beans mixed with areas of still wet soil to enhance the heat.

So, it is already a hot situation made worse by large-scale surface conditions.  The high humidity & stronger winds at night made it very difficult to cool down, resulting in unusually warm low temperatures, especially in urban areas.

This lead to a widespread, deadly heat wave from the Midwest to the East Coast with Chicago being hit especially hard.

It was one of the worst weather disasters in Illinois history with more than 700 deaths.

At Chicago, the heat wave peaked on July 13-14 with a max temperature of 106, a low of 84 & a max heat index +120.

This particular data table courtesy of Illinois State Climate Office:

STATION: CHICAGO_MIDWAY_AP_3_SW, IL (Station ID: 111577)

Precip- |<--temperature->| Snow Snow
itation High Low Mean Degree Fall Depth Observe
Year Mo Dy (in) (F) (F) (F) Days (in) (in) Time Source
1995 07 01 0.00 77 60 69 4 0.0 0 MID F
1995 07 02 0.00 78 57 68 3 0.0 0 MID F
1995 07 03 0.00 83 63 73 8 0.0 0 MID F
1995 07 04 0.28 86 69 78 13 0.0 0 MID F
1995 07 05 0.09 87 67 77 12 0.0 0 MID F
1995 07 06 0.00 81 69 75 10 0.0 0 MID F
1995 07 07 0.00 81 63 72 7 0.0 0 MID F
1995 07 08 0.00 84 60 72 7 0.0 0 MID F
1995 07 09 0.04 85 66 76 11 0.0 0 MID F
1995 07 10 0.00 90 64 77 12 0.0 0 MID F
1995 07 11 0.00 90 73 82 17 0.0 0 MID F
1995 07 12 0.00 98 76 87 22 0.0 0 MID F
1995 07 13 0.00 106 81 94 29 0.0 0 MID F
1995 07 14 0.00 102 84 93 28 0.0 0 MID F
1995 07 15 0.47 99 77 88 23 0.0 0 MID F
1995 07 16 0.00 94 76 85 20 0.0 0 MID F
1995 07 17 0.00 89 73 81 16 0.0 0 MID F

This extreme upper ridge led to a sequence of derechos in the "Ring of Fire" during this period.

Per usual with these ridge, the derechos followed the periphery of the intense heat.

There were a total of four.

Image courtesy of SPC:

Here are the two worst ones. 

Derecho #1 developed late on July 12 & lasted until late July 13.

All plus signs are were severe wind gusts were observed or measured.

Images courtesy of SPC:

Derecho #2 developed late on July 14 & last until early July 15.

This heat wave came to a close with intense, pulsey storm clusters on July 15.

In the boiling heat & extreme instability, pulsey storms evolving into a cluster caused severe weather late on July 15 once the cap broke here.

You can see the tops of the storms in this IR sateillte image from the evening of July 15 as the hot upper ridge began to break down.

An extreme microburst hit Miami County with an unconfirmed 136 mph wind gust recorded over the Grissom Air Reserve Base weather observation site, the highest wind gust ever actually measured in our viewing area (Near Montmorenci a measured gust of 103 mph was recorded in September 1999). Lightning struck 2 homes in Kokomo, leading to $90,000 in damages. Damaging winds downed trees & powerlines around Buck Creek, in the city of Kokomo & at Monticello, which capped off a deadly heat wave for the area.

Article Comments

West Lafayette
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Gradual warm-up ahead........
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