Extraordinary early-season snow, ice, accompanied by strong winds, hit the Dakotas to Michigan to as far south as northwestern Indiana in late September 1942. Such an extreme event so early made it unprecedented & historical. Trees were clothed in foliage, crops were still in the field & ground temperatures still warm after just days early, damaging winds from severe t’storms had hit some of the same areas.
There were several deaths from falling trees from the heavy, wet snow falling & sticking to the foliage. The weight was too much for many trees to bear. Widespread power outages also occurred.
Following the storm, near/record cold spilled southeastward. Tri-State temperatures dropped to as low as 26 on the morning of September 28.
However, in typical fashion, after this cold with highs only in the 50s for several days, 80s returned as we began October.
An unusually strong Arctic cold front with very cold air for the season worked with & strengthened two systems that merged together over the Midwest. The two become one single, strong storm system.
Heavy, wind-driven snows fell with the storm & the snow accumulated, despite very warm ground temperatures. Even some freezing rain & sleet (with thunder & lightning) occurred as the cold air sliding/riding underneath the warmth occurred east of the heavy snow.
Up to 10″ of snow fell from the event, including 4″ at Wheatfield, Indiana (1.5 hours northwest of Lafayette) & 0.5″ at Rensselaer (45 minutes northwest of Lafayette).
For several locations in the Tri-State, with record generally back to near 1895, this was, by far, the earliest occurrence of 20s on record. It was also the earliest freeze for many locations, as well.