SEVERE WX : Excessive Heat Warning View Alerts

Local Weather History: Our Severe Weather Drought & Where It Currently Stands Historically

It has been more than a year since we have had a severe weather event. We did see a few severe weather reports last summer, but no events, which is rare in our area.

Posted: May 10, 2019 9:33 PM
Updated: May 11, 2019 10:51 AM

A severe weather "event" definition in our area more than 3 counties with reports of severe weather &/or a confirmed tornado by the National Weather Service by a singular severe weather episode.

Reports after 1950 from the NOAA Storm Prediction Center archives.

Prior to 1950, reports were published in the U.S. Weather Bureau (National Weather Service today) severe weather archives within the Monthly Weather Review.  I also gleaned numerous reports from many local newspapers prior to 1950 to compile this summary of the research.

Severe reports are defined as:

1.  Measured or estimated wind gust of 58 mph or greater.

2.  Hail of 1" in diameter or greater.

3.  A tornado.

4.  Trees, limbs, branches down or any other type of damage (powerlines, structures).


We have not seen a severe weather event in our viewing area since April 3, 2018 when we had two brief tornadoes & damaging winds in the area.  This event is what produced the likely microburst with all of the tree damage near downtown Lafayette.

We did see a few isolated severe weather reports during last summer, but no events.

So, this makes 1 year & 7 days without a severe weather event. 

There doesn't look to be much potential of a severe weather event in our area until perhaps around May 24 (at the earliest), which would make it a 1-year & 21-day drought.

The last time we saw such a long stretch without a severe weather event of 1 year & 21 days:  April 23, 1944-May 14, 1945

In fact, between that time there were zero severe weather reports from our area, just a report of a barn being destroyed by fire due to a lightning strike at Waveland, Montgomery County.  Putnamville (south of our viewing area) saw wind damage to trees & powerlines June 12, 1944.  Northeast of our area, in Noble County, there was damaging large hail that summer.


May 14, 1945 saw a derecho rake areas from eastern Illinois, through southern Warren, Fountain, Montgomery to far southern Clinton to Tipton, Hamilton counties & southward through Vermillion & Parke counties in Indiana.  Rockville, Indiana was hit particularly hard. 

It began around midday & moved east, southeast, then south-southeast, then turned more & more to the right, apparently to southerly direction.

This derecho raced through metro Indianapolis with all areas reporting wind damage.  Danville, Indiana was hit very hard with extensive wind damage, as was the city of Indianapolis. 

The derecho continued, blasting the Louisville metro area around midnight with widespread wind damage.  There was reportedly a brief tornado observed at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

The derecho then gusted out over southern Kentucky by 3 a.m.

This ended the severe weather event drought that began after the April 23, 1944 severe weather event.

Multiple homes were damaged, chimneys toppled, garage was destroyed & many trees & powerlines were downed at Kokomo.  Trees & powerlines were downed westward to southern Clinton, Montgomery & Fountain counties in the "p.m." on that date.


Another long severe weather event drought occurred in 1951-52.

After July 9, 1951 severe weather event, I couldn't find any event in the area until July 23, 1952 (1 year & 14 days).  Next severe weather event occurred November 26, 1952, including a measured 76 mph wind gust at the Purdue University Airport.

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