Local Weather History: The Coldest October Night On Record & An Unusually Heavy Snowfall for the Season

October 19-27 saw highly-unusual weather with a historic snowfall & cold snap.

Posted: Oct 19, 2018 4:06 PM
Updated: Oct 19, 2018 4:30 PM

October 19-21, 1869 & October 19-20, 1989 snowfall has some similarities.  1989 just didn't feature the record cold wave behind the snowfall that 1869 had.  Also there was more snowfall in the highland of the Appalachians with the 1869 snowfall, compared to the 1989 one.

Up to 9″ of snow was reported in the viewing area October 19-20, 1869, as unseasonably cold weather arrived. After a bit of a temperature rebound (still below normal), October 24-27 saw the coldest weather ever record so early in the season. Overnight low of 9 was recorded by observer southeast of Lafayette. This followed 60s on the 17th.  It was reported that warm ground temperatures caused much of the heavy snowfall to melt a lot & compact into thick, heavy, slushy snow.

Earliest snowfall of such magnitude since October 20, 1833.

More than 5″ of snowfall was reported in the St. Louis area October 26, 1843 & a gentleman by the name of Henry Baker made reference to an early snowfall on fully-foliated trees in Greene County, Indiana (Worthington [southwest of Bloomington]) at the same time in 1843. However there is no reference to snowfall at Lafayette or anywhere in the viewing area, however.

Back to 1869, at St. Louis, rainfall in the night transitioned to “a heavy snowstorm in the forenoon”. The noon temperature was 34.

“Great damage” was done to trees & shrubbery, reportedly, at Detroit from the heavy wet snow & wind.

The snow was reported as “remarkable” at Jasper, Indiana & that it was the “heaviest October snow we can remember of” (in the Jasper Weekly Courier).

In Floyd County, Indiana, a resident reported that it was the heaviest October snowfall there since 1830.

The “very remarkable for the season” snowfall at Plymouth, Indiana was still partially on the ground October 28. Press stated the nights had been “notably winterish”.

Snowfall totals:

12″ Detroit

10″ Fort Wayne, Indiana

10″ Plymouth, Indiana

9″ Southeast of Lafayette, Indiana (low temperature of 9 degrees after the snowfall)

4″ Vincennes, Indiana

4″ Jasper, Indiana

4″ Terre Haute, Indiana

3″ Louisville, Kentucky

3″ St. Louis

2″ New Harmony

2″ Evansville

2″ Chicago

Trace Cincinnati

4″ fell at Toronto, Ontario, Canada, but northwest of Toronto, at Walkerton, 24″ was reported. Several inches were reported over Illinois, Missouri & Kansas where press called it “A Violent Snowstorm”. 18″ was reported in the Alleghanies of central Pennsylvania.

Interestingly, the temperatures returned back to the 60s at Lafayette by early November.

Ice was reportedly strong enough for skating in Iowa October 27, though no snow had fallen. 

West Lafayette
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 34°
Kokomo
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 27°
Rensselaer
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 27°
Fowler
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 27°
Williamsport
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 34°
Crawfordsville
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 32°
Frankfort
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 32°
Delphi
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 28°
Monticello
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 28°
Logansport
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 27°
Clouds Build Sunday Ahead Of Snow
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 324537

Reported Deaths: 5594
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion44186858
Lake28094462
Allen18660301
Elkhart17663230
St. Joseph17256234
Hamilton13612170
Vanderburgh10028121
Tippecanoe896729
Porter855386
Johnson6718169
Hendricks6412158
Vigo625889
Monroe550450
Clark531078
Madison5239122
Delaware5075103
LaPorte481196
Kosciusko475941
Howard364177
Bartholomew335365
Warrick335372
Floyd329478
Wayne325678
Marshall311846
Cass303931
Grant287150
Hancock272957
Noble264946
Henry256437
Boone255054
Dubois245631
Dearborn228231
Jackson226334
Morgan221243
Gibson194926
Knox193021
Shelby192656
Clinton185421
DeKalb183932
Lawrence183849
Wabash172821
Adams172422
Miami170815
Daviess163145
Fayette153734
Steuben153414
Jasper151713
Montgomery149327
Harrison147624
LaGrange146131
Ripley145815
Whitley142314
Huntington133510
Decatur132543
Putnam131128
White131022
Wells130130
Clay130023
Randolph128121
Posey125816
Jefferson124116
Scott114520
Greene106053
Sullivan102716
Jay101913
Starke95022
Jennings90414
Spencer8908
Fulton87519
Perry85121
Fountain8228
Washington8127
Franklin73427
Carroll71913
Orange70028
Vermillion6607
Owen6468
Tipton60327
Parke6026
Newton57812
Rush5708
Blackford56612
Pike52719
Pulaski41815
Martin3705
Benton3643
Brown3574
Crawford3081
Union2782
Switzerland2655
Warren2562
Ohio2387
Unassigned0266

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events