Local Weather History: The Top 10 Highest Measured Wind Gusts In the Viewing Area

These are the top 10 highest gusts measured with an anemometer (not estimated or established after looking at damage).

Posted: Jun 23, 2020 6:29 PM
Updated: Aug 11, 2020 12:29 PM

These are only measured gusts with wind equipment.  There are gusts estimated by obesrevers & by damage review that suggest +100 mph from other events, especially derechos.  For example, it is likely at Serial Derecho in July 1921 produced a 110 mph gust in Cass County.  +100 mph gusts likely occurred in the Summer 1962 outbreak & an apparent derecho in Summer 1943 looks to have produced 100 mph gusts in our northeastern counties.  Future post will only focus on the top 10 worst derechos in our area & they will be classified as Serial, Progressive or the Hybrid Derecho type.  I am just beginning research on that post currently.

1.  136 mph

July 15, 1995

Grissom Air Reserve Base

An extreme microburst hit Miami County with a 136 mph wind gust recorded at Grissom Air Reserve Base, the highest wind gust ever measured in our viewing area.

This ranks up with the May 31, 1998 extreme microburst in Washington County, Indiana with gust to 115 mph & the historic D.C.-area microburst August 1, 1983 with a measured wind gust to 150 mph at Andrews Air Force Base.  That 150 mph gust was the highest measured gust in U.S. history at the time.  This occurred just minutes after Air Force One & President Reagan had landed.  A microburst at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport August 2, 1985 downed a plane.  The crash killed 137 & nearby wind observation showed gust of 80 mph.  The winds were likely higher away from the observation site & area where plane was trying to land.

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.

14 people were killed in Indiana directly from an intense heat wave known for its extreme heat indices (dew points) & very warm overnights. 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.

In July 1929, a microburst was measured at Indianapolis with a gust of 111 mph.

Image courtesy of NOAA archive.

With temperatures 95-102 & dew points 75-80, environment was extremely unstable with 6000 J/kg SBCAPE.  Heat indices were to historic 120-degree levels.

DCAPE was very high.

Result were a series of downbursts in the area.  The collision of three storms in Miami County pulsed into one violent storm over Grissom with that extreme CAPE & dew point +80.

It happened so quickly that at the time, only Tippecanoe County was under a Severe T'Storm Warning.  A warning was not issued for Miami.  By the time the microburst dropped, the storm collapsed within 40 minutes.

Cap was released as outflow boundary from storms south of the area in the afternoon & weak surface trough of low pressure were in the area.

Image courtesy of Iowa State University Mesonet archive.

There was a Severe T'Storm Watch issued, it just did not show up on the map above.

Here are the Severe T'Storm Watches by early afternoon issued by (at that time) the National Severe Storms Forecast Center (precursor to Storm Prediction Center).  Image from the Weather Channel in July 15, 1995 broadcast.

July 15, 1995 storm reports:

2.  114 mph

June 6, 2010

Grissom Air Reserve Base

6 tornadoes occurred during the early morning hours, injuring two & causing damage from near Monticello to Yeoman, Walton, Deacon & Bunker Hill. The strongest twister, an EF3 occurred in Cass & Miami counties.  As this EF3 passed near Grissom Air Reserve Base, a wind gust of 114 mph was record, along with a sudden, rapid drop in the surface barometric pressure.

Image courtesy of NOAA archive.

The bow of storms with embedded supercell at 12:40 a.m. in radar image below.

You can see the Tornado Watch & the Severe T'Storm Warnings & Tornado Warning overlaying the radar data.

Image courtesy of Iowa State University Mesonet archive.

Storm reports for June 5-6, 2010:

3.  103 mph

September 28, 1999

Northeast of Montmorenci

3 significant HP supercells produced a series of downbursts & brief tornadoes with golfball hail from Pine Village to Yeoman, Attica to Flora & Otterbein to Brookston to Fulton. Heavy structural, tree & crop damage occurred sporadically in these 3 tracks. Winds gusted to 103 mph near Montmorenci, while an F1 tornado with winds to 105 mph hit Buck Creek. An estimated 100 mph wind gust occurred near Fulton (based on the damage survey). Damage to structures, powerlines & crops amounted to millions of dollars.

Image courtesy of NOAA archive.

Of the three, this was the main monster supercell.  They all prompted numerous Severe T'Storm Warnings as it occurred in sheared, warm, moist environment along the cold front, however.  Post-frontal rainfall & some t'storms followed.

Storm reports from Septembe 28-29, 1999:

4.  101 mph

March 19, 1948

Kokomo Municipal Airport

Severe weather outbreak hit the viewing area & throughout the Midwest. A wind gust of 101 mph was measured at the Kokomo Airport. The wind cups were blown off of the anemometer at the Indianapolis airport with a measured gust of 95 mph.

Widespread, significant wind damage occurred from Tippecanoe to Howard County as a squall line blasted through the area.

Damaging tornadoes occurred in Illinois & Missouri. A total of 52 people were killed & 300 were injured in the Midwest. Just 7 days later another severe outbreak would occur with a long-track, violent tornado near Indianapolis & tornadoes in Warren County.

Images courtesy of NOAA archive.

Storms reports from March 19-20, 1948:

5.  100 mph

August 12, 1956

1 Mile Northeast of Onward

Severe storms tracking southeastward produced an F3 tornado with an 11.1-mile path from just south of Argos to just south of Mentone, very close to northeastern Fulton County (but technically all in Marshall & Kosciusko counties).  Up to 1/2 mile wide, it produced $2.4 million in damage (inflation-adjusted).  One person was injured.

An F1 tornado tracked from south of Logansport to northwest of Onward.  Approximately 1 mile east of the end of a 2.7-mile F1 tornado track, a wind gust of 100 mph was measured northeast of Onward.  A gust of 88 mph was measured 1 mile north-northwest of Peru. 

Wind damage was reported northeast of Logansport with other wind damage reports from Joliet to Peoria, Illinois.  Two tornadoes (including an F3) were confirmed in that area of Illinois as well, with one report of 1" hail as any storms moved southeastward

Images courtesy of NOAA archive.

Storm reports from August 12-13, 1956:

August 15, 1988

3 Miles South of Logansport

A macroburst with winds measured to 100 mph occurred from near Burlington to south of Logansport.

35 large trees, up to 3' in diameter, were snapped at the base or uprooted & two homes at Deer Creek had windows blown out.

Hail up to 2" accompanied the macroburst, resulting in severe to catastrophic crop damage.  The large hail was reported near Young America, in Cass County.

Another apparent macroburst occurred from northwest Clinton to south-central Carroll County. 

Two homes & a large barn were damaged near Flora with roof damage & windows blown out.  Multiple grain bins & silos were downed in several places.

A large chicken house was destroyed near Cutler, killing 1000 birds.  One nearby home was heavily damaged by wind & hail to the roof & siding with windows also broken out.  At least 40 large trees, some up to 5' in diameter, were toppled between Flora & just northwest of Rossville.

Hail up to 1.5" in diameter accumulated 2-3", resulting in catastrophic crop damage.

Extensive tree damage was also noted between Rossville & Mulberry.

6 motorists were injured in accidents from people hitting trees in roadways or swerving off the road to avoid hitting fallen trees.  Some accidents occurring as the visibility dropped to 0 with the blinding rain & hail & wind.

A 65 mph wind gust & marble-sized hail hit Reynolds, while a large tree fell & destroyed a police car near Monticello.  Heavy tree damage & down powerlines were reported from Indiana Beach area through Sitka to Buffalo.

Yet another storm caused heavy damage from 4 miles northeast northeast of Lafayette, through the eastside of Lafayette to 5 miles north of Crawfordsville.  Other damage occurred from Concord, Romney & Linden to New Richmond.  Heavy tree & powerline damage occurred with winds of at least 75 mph from a couple of macrobursts, accompanied by hail up to golfball size (1.75" diameter).  Crop damage was severe, dealing yet another blow to growers after the significant summer of 1988 historic drought.

Image courtesy of NOAA archive.

Storm reports from August 15-16, 1988:

June 22-23, 2016

4 Miles Southwest of Brookston (Near Cairo & Just Within the Tippecanoe County Line From White County)

"Ring of Fire" Serial Derecho struck the area on the night of 22nd-23rd.

Winds gusted to 110 mph in West Virginia, 80 mph in Ohio & 100 mph northwest & north of Lafayette. Gusts were measured near 90 mph southeast of Lafayette from this derecho. A gust of 80 mph was also recorded in eastern North Carolina. A few tornadoes also occurred, especially in Illinois at the onset of the event with discrete supercells as the dominant convective time.

The measured gust of 100 mph on the Tippecanoe/White County line was the highest measured gust by an anemometer since the gust of 103 mph measured north of Montmorenci from an HP supercell back in September 1999.

Brookston lost nearly half of the mature trees in the town & damage to farm structures & power line infrastructure was widespread in the path of it.

In Newton County, at Brook part of a roof of a large commercial building was blown off due to hurricane-force winds of 75 mph.

Numerous trees were uprooted west of Wolcott, a semi was blown over on I-65, and a empty grain bin was destroyed. Racing southeastward, the damage expanded in coverage and intensity, especially west of Chalmers & across southern White County. Heavy tree & crop damage occurred with widespread damage to farm buildings. 

Damage continued into Tippecanoe county, towards Battle Ground with heavy tree damage.  Storm survey shows winds in White to far northern Tippecanoe county are estimated to have peaked between 90 and 110 mph. The worst of the wind swath just exceeded 5 miles in width. Many farm building sustained damage.

Damage continued into Clinton County with gust of 80 mph measured near Rossville. Gust of 68 mph was measured northeast of Michigantown. Gust of 66 mph was measured west of Delphi & 70 mph just northwest of West Lafayette.

Widespread trees & powerlines were downed with one tree blown onto a house at Mulberry & a large tree limb was blown onto Route 29 just east of Burlington.

Image courtesy of NOAA archive.

Numerous Severe T'Storm Warnings were issued for the developing derecho.

Storm reports from June 22-23, 2016:

6.  92 mph

June 4, 2002

5 Miles Northeast of Pyrmont

A severe weather outbreak occurred as two supercells tracked from Jasper to Fulton counties in the 3-4:25 p.m. time frame.  Then, supercell & squall line turned squall line with a Bookend Vortex (comma head) crossed the southern 3/4 of the viewing area 7:40-9:30 p.m.  Storms downed trees, powerlines & barns in every county. Several semis were overturned on I-65 & Route 26. A 92 mph wind gust was measured northeast of Pyrmont in Carroll County, which overturned 2 cars.

$1/4 million dollars in structural damage was done from the straight-line winds in the city of Lafayette, alone.

Golfball-sized hail fell in Rochester & Roann.

Image courtesy of NOAA archive.

The Severe T'Storm Watch overlays the radar data here, but I could not get the Severe T'Storm Warnings to overlay the data.

Storm reports from June 4-5, 2002:

7.  91 mph

Frankfort

June 5, 2005

A shed was blown down in Kentland, trees and power lines were blown down in Brook and tree limbs were blown down along State Road 114.  Widespread tree and power line damage was reported across Jasper County. 

Around Wheatfield, trees were blown down on roads from 1450N to 1700N and 400W to 500W.

Numerous trees were blown down at Winamac & in many parts of Fulton County.

In White County, wind damage was reported across the county as a result of +60 mph wind gusts. 4 semi trailers were blown off I-65 between mile markers 191 and 198. Three of them were northbound and the other southbound. One of the drivers suffered minor injuries as a result of the upset truck. A large tree fell onto a medical building in Monon as well as a ash tree being blown over in the area. Other reports of trees and tree limbs were reported in Burnettsville, Reynolds and Buffalo. A circa 1900 wooden barn in Reynolds that once held cart race horses was blown down.  Nickel-sized accompanied the intense winds in Monticello.

At Fowler, six inch trees limbs were split and power lines were blown down.

Large were blown down at Mulberry & around Stockwell. A grain bin was blown down just south of Burlington. 

A wind gust of 71 mph was measured at the Kokomo Municipal Airport, numerous trees & powerlines were blown down in Logansport, Peru & Walton.  A large, 3' diameter tree was blown across Route 219 near Amboy.  Wind gusts of 60 mph were reported north of Greentown. 

Light to moderate structural damage was reported to some homes, and the top of a semi trailer was blown off. A factory roof was torn off and tractor trailers were blown over at Frankfort.  Also numerous large trees & many powerlines were blown down after 91 mph wind gust was measured. 

Line with LEWPs blasted with a Severe T'Storm Watch with widespread Severe T'Storm Warnings.

June 5-6, 2005 storm reports:

8.  90 mph

Lafayette

June 20, 1964

Scattered severe storms struck areas of Indiana from Gary to South Bend to Fort Wayne areas to Lafayette & then Valparaiso.

Large hail up to 1" in diameter, an F0 tornado & wind damage occurred outside of the viewing area.

A microburst produced a wind gust of 90 mph at the Purdue Airport.

Cells gelled into a squall line tracked from our region to the upper & middle Ohio Valley.

Images courtesy of NOAA archive.

June 20, 1964 storm reports:

9.  88 mph

August 12, 1956

1 Mile North-Northwest of Peru

(See #5)

April 16, 1982

Fowler

We were on the northern/northeastern edge of a much large, significant severe weather outbreak.  A gust of 76 knots or 88 mph was measured at Fowler with wind damage to trees, powerlines & some structures.

Image courtesy of NOAA archive.

April 14, 1982 storm reports:

10.  87 mph

June 26, 2016

3 Miles Southwest of Dayton

(See Serial Derecho on #5)

West Lafayette
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