You hear about the weather now getting hotter. When was the last time we actually saw 100 degrees and are we seeing more heat like that?
Gene A. - Lafayette
Thank you for the question Gene!
Not only for Greater Lafayette, but the viewing area as a whole, the last time we reached 100 was July 2012.
In examining the official daily observations from Purdue University late 1879-1953 & then the Purdue Agronomy Farm 1954-present (I do not use the airport in long-term data. Records there do go back to 1944, but there is so much data missing, including multiple years, that it is not a good, solid representation of our local weather records. 1998 is missing, as are multiple years in the 1950s & 1960s), I have found that we have never had a year (since 1879) that we have NOT hit 90 officially at West Lafayette.
Getting to 100 degrees or better in a year has occurred 32 of the 138 years (1879 records start in the fall) in data. Overall, occurrences of 90s & 100s have decreased since the 1950s. Drought frequency & severity has decreased since the 1950s at these two particular observation sites.
In the 138 years, only three years have seen the highest temperature of the year occur in May, that was in 2004 (92), 2014 (92) & now 2018 (97).
2014 saw the highest temperature of the year occur in May AND September with 92. It was the earliest highest year temperature on record with that 92 occurring on May 9.
Here are the maximum yearly temperatures at West Lafayette since 1880: