Ending March & going into April can go either way in our viewing area!
Warm.................& Even Stormy
March 30, 1999
For a good chunk of the viewing area 1999 had the earliest last freeze on record. This was the earliest last freeze on record at Delphi, Frankfort & Perrysville when the average last freeze date is generally around April 25, nearly a month earlier than normal. At Attica, the record early last freeze occurred March 28 & at Rensselaer at March 29. Spring 1941 is another year noted for an unusually early last freeze. The latest freeze on record at West Lafayette & Crawfordsville occurred March 30, 1941 & on April 4, 1941 at Kokomo.
March 31, 2012
The high temperature at West Lafayette on this date was just 57 degrees, one of only 3
daily high temperatures below 60 in the warmest March on record.
The main feature of the month was an historic “heat wave” in mid- to late-March which brought incredible temperatures for the time of year. It was the warmest period for March since 1910. For 9 consecutive days, high temperatures either near or in the 80s occurred in the viewing area.
At the Purdue Agronomy Farm COOP station, highs in the 80s occurred on 9 consecutive days March 14-23 with 82, 82, 80, 80, 82, 84, 86, 87 & 82. The 87 on March 21, is still the a tie or the all-time maximum temperature reading for the month of March in the 1879-2019 West Lafayette data set.
At WLFI-TV, this period had highs at 82, 82, 81, 79, 81, 84, 85, 87 & 83. Kokomo COOP had 80, 80, 80, 75, 82, 82, 84, 86 & 84.
Rensselaer reached 87 on March 21.
Winamac COOP station hit 82, 80, 80, 78, 80, 82, 84, 86 & 84 during the “heat wave”.
Plymouth had 82, 82, 80, 78, 82, 82, 84, 87, 84.
The nights were also very warm. Overnight lows did not drop below the 60s at the Ag Farm for 3 consecutive nights & WLFI had 5 nights in the 60s. Even Winamac had 3 consecutive nights that did not drop below 60.
The very warm weather forced vegetation into leaf & blossom nearly a month ahead of schedule. At West Lafayette, Flowering Dogwoods reached the peak of blossom by March 31, White & Black Oaks had leaves the size of a squirrel’s ear on March 29. The lilacs were in bloom March 22 & Eastern Redbuds blossoming on March 18. Some tuliptree leaves were near full growth by March 27.
Temperatures returned briefly to record warm mid 80s to start April.
April 1, 1877
Three miles northwest of Onward, Cass County, a tornado destroyed the United Brethren Church.
Cold....................& Even Snowy or Icy
April 2, 1837
Large, historic winter storm pivoted up the Mississippi & Ohio Valleys, dumping 17” of snow on downtown St. Louis & 24” in surrounding areas & 9” at Minneapolis (then Fort Snelling) with snow for 4 days. 6” of snow fell at Cincinnati, Ohio, while 1-2” accumulated in northern Kentucky. Only a little fall of snow was reported at Montreal, Canada from storm.
Plowing was reportedly done on March 27 with ground fit for it, followed by rain & some snow in early April just east of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Unfortunately, I have no records for this storm in our area, but research continues!
April 3, 1911
Thunder & lightning occurred in burst of snow in Lafayette. Same phenomenon was reported in Frankfort.
2” of snow fell at Rensselaer, 2.7” Kokomo, Crawfordsville 1.9”, 1” West Lafayette & 1.5” Whitestown.
April 3, 1957
Ice storm hits area with downed limbs, trees & powerlines. It was substantial, but not as bad as the 1967 & 1991 ice storms.