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Local Weather History: The Largest Severe T'Storm, Tornado & Flash Flood Warnings Issued In the Viewing Area

We look back at times when nearly or the entire viewing area was under a Severe T'Storm, Tornado or Flash Flooding Warning at once.

Posted: Jun 5, 2020 9:40 PM
Updated: Jun 18, 2020 2:24 PM

Prior to February 1, 2007, the National Weather Service would issue warnings for entire counties, even if the severe storm was in the far southern tip, or north or east edge of a county, the entire county would be put under the warning.  You could literally be under a Severe T'Storm Warning with sunshine & a beautiful evening north of Battle Ground, while Romney was getting a severe t'storm.  It would still be a Severe T'Storm Warning for Tippecanoe County.

Eventually, this system was converted to warning polygons, which were a much more accurate way to warn of severe weather.  The warning could be placed for a small area to only apply to those in the path of the severe storm.

In this research, I examined numerous severe weather & flood events to determine what the largest area was under a particular warning at once in our viewing area.  Data was utilized from all of our local National Weather Service Forecast Offices (Indianapolis, Chicago & Northern Indiana).

I included both polygons & county warnings going all the way back to 1995.

These are the largest warning areas at once in the viewing area:

1.  The Largest Severe T'Storm Warning:

December 6, 1998 Serial Derecho

At one time, every county in the viewing area except two were under Severe T'Storm Warnings as line skyrocketed through in the 9:15-9:50 p.m. time frame.

Radar image below is just prior to warning issuance for basically every county east of US 231.  The black-outlined counties were under warnings from the Indianapolis NWS office at this radar snapshot courtesy of Iowa State University.

This serial derecho passed in 1 hour 45 minutes with widespread straight-line winds of 60-80 mph with cores of 90-100 mph gusts blasted through the area.

University Hall on the Purdue campus had major roof damage totaling $100,000. The wind blew over a 35-car freight train in Carroll County near Rockfield, while the third story of a Total Discount store in Logansport collapsed & fell into a restaurant. A grain bin was blown over near Walton & a barn was partially unroofed. At Peru, several buildings & homes were damaged in the city with the roof blown off a warehouse. A mobile home was destroyed near the city & another was overturned while trees fell on automobiles near Logansport. Widespread tree, powerline& barn/farm damage occurred area-wide. A wind gust of 82 mph was recorded at Grissom Air Reserve Base & 77 mph at West Lafayette. The only hail report was 0.75” at Wheatfield. Record warmth with highs of 68-74° preceded the storms & just prior to storm passage just after midnight, temperatures were still 65-70°.

Image during the evening of December 6, 1998 courtesy of Iowa State University Mesonet archives:

2. The Largest Tornado Warning:

October 26, 2010 QLCS

A "blanket" Tornado Warning, this massive Tornado Warning was issued due to the number of strong low-level meso-circulations in the line for every area east of US 421 at one point.

Such tornadoes are quick, brief & usually rain-wrapped in damaging winds.

Racing through the viewing area in the morning hours, the narrow squall line brought winds to 80 mph in northern Jasper County & an EF0 tornado to Howard County. An industrial ag building under construction was unroofed at Crawfordsville & a radio tower was toppled northeast of Frankfort.

13 tornadoes were confirmed from the line in the Northern Indiana National Weather Service forecast area.

Image of the QLCS courtesy of UCAR:

3.  The Largest Flash Flood Warning:

July 5-6, 2003 Multiple MCSs with Torrential Rainfall (Part of 4-day stretch of historic rainfall, which led to the historic Summer 2003 floods):

From what I glean from records all but two counties were under Flash Flood Warnings at once July 5-6.  I found that only Benton, Warren & Fountain counties were not under a Flash Flood Warning at one time on July 5-6.

Benton, Warren & Foutnain counties did end up with a Flash Flood Warning on July 9.

WGUS53 KIND 051315
FFWIND
INC015-023-067-157-159-051715-

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
FLASH FLOOD WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE INDIANAPOLIS IN
814 AM EST SAT JUL 5 2003

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN INDIANAPOLIS HAS ISSUED A

* FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR...
CLINTON COUNTY IN CENTRAL INDIANA
THIS INCLUDES THE CITY OF FRANKFORT
HOWARD COUNTY IN CENTRAL INDIANA
THIS INCLUDES THE CITY OF KOKOMO
TIPTON COUNTY IN CENTRAL INDIANA
CARROLL COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL INDIANA
TIPPECANOE COUNTY IN WEST CENTRAL INDIANA
THIS INCLUDES THE CITY OF LAFAYETTE

* UNTIL 1215 PM EST

* AT 813 AM EST...WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED VERY HEAVY
RAIN FROM 17 MILES NORTHWEST OF BATTLE GROUND TO 12 MILES SOUTHWEST
OF SHADELAND...OR FROM 18 MILES SOUTH OF RENSSELAER TO 13 MILES
NORTHWEST OF CRAWFORDSVILLE...MOVING EAST AT 20 MPH.

RAINFALL OF OVER 5 INCHES HAS ALREADY OCCURRED IN SOME AREAS.
ANOTHER 1 TO 2 INCHES OF RAIN IS LIKELY THROUGH MID MORNING.

DO NOT DRIVE THROUGH FLOWING WATER. IF IT IS TWO FEET DEEP...IT CAN
CARRY MOST VEHICLES AWAY. VEHICLES WITH LARGER TIRES...SUCH AS
SUVS...ARE MORE BUOYANT AND AT GREATER RISK.

A FLASH FLOOD WARNING MEANS THAT FLOODING IS OCCURRING OR IS
IMMINENT. IF YOU ARE THREATENED BY RISING FLOOD WATERS MOVE TO HIGHER
GROUND IMMEDIATELY. DO NOT CROSS SWIFTLY FLOWING WATERS OR WATERS OF
UNKNOWN DEPTH.

TO REPORT FLOODING HAVE THE NEAREST LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY RELAY YOUR
REPORT TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST OFFICE IN
INDIANAPOLIS.

LAT...LON 4081 8708 4024 8709 4023 8588 4074 8591

Radar image for early morning of July 5 (image from UCAR):

Record levels on stream gauges in the early July flood (from USGS):

Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 57°
Kokomo
Partly Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 52°
Rensselaer
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 54°
Lafayette
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 57°
Danville
Partly Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 54°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 52°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 52°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 54°
Monticello
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 54°
Logansport
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 52°
Freezing to 80s & Storms...
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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 711787

Reported Deaths: 13252
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion970181723
Lake52028950
Allen39414672
Hamilton34709406
St. Joseph34386543
Elkhart27543433
Vanderburgh22109394
Tippecanoe21967213
Porter18043301
Johnson17600374
Hendricks16873310
Clark12728190
Madison12379337
Vigo12248244
Monroe11535166
LaPorte11258204
Delaware10390184
Howard9712211
Kosciusko9184114
Hancock8031139
Bartholomew7925155
Warrick7709155
Floyd7574176
Wayne6921198
Grant6862171
Boone6584100
Morgan6425138
Dubois6101117
Marshall5819109
Dearborn572076
Cass5706104
Henry5591101
Noble544583
Jackson494672
Shelby481995
Lawrence4351118
Gibson429789
Harrison429371
Clinton421853
Montgomery419387
DeKalb414484
Whitley383239
Huntington380480
Miami374165
Steuben368757
Knox367589
Putnam353660
Jasper352946
Wabash348578
Adams338453
Ripley335769
Jefferson318180
White309254
Daviess290199
Wells286981
Decatur279792
Fayette277362
Greene270685
Posey269533
Scott262053
LaGrange256170
Clay255245
Randolph236780
Washington231931
Spencer228231
Jennings225548
Fountain209845
Sullivan208342
Starke206452
Owen192956
Fulton192440
Jay186629
Carroll186120
Perry181436
Orange178553
Rush170824
Vermillion166543
Franklin166035
Tipton161543
Parke144616
Blackford134131
Pike130934
Pulaski114445
Newton104434
Brown100740
Crawford98114
Benton97613
Martin83315
Warren80215
Switzerland7728
Union70210
Ohio56011
Unassigned0408

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