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Historic New Year’s Weather In the Tri-State


Warmest High:  75  1951

Warmest Low:  58  1875

Coldest High:  10  1976

Coldest Low:  -8  1880

Rainiest:  1.34″  2002

Snowiest:  6″  1863

Greatest Snow Depth:  6″  1863

Blizzard hit New Year’s Eve 1863 with white-out conditions, temp fall from 40s to 0 with Arctic cold front & howling winds, similar to 1918 & 1978 blizzard.  6-12″ snow fell over area, but was hard to measure due to wind.  Drifts were up to 5′ deep.

This blizzard dumped 6″ of snow at Fort Smith, Arkansas, where the temperature dropped to a record -12 with -15 to -10 at all other observation sites in the rest of the state.  This has been called the worst cold outbreak in Arkansas until 1899.  A 30-hour blizzard also hit Chicago & extreme temperatures to -40 reportedly occurred in Iowa.

From January 1-9, every day but two saw temperatures drop below zero.

Another 6″ of snow fell in the Evansville area just 3 days later, followed by another 6″ on the 18th before the pattern changed.  15″ of snow fell in January 1864.

January 1864 was one of few months in Tri-State weather history that had record cold/blizzard & record warmth all in the same month.  From January 1-9, every day but two saw temperatures drop below zero.
However, January 26-30 saw each day in the 60s with 68-72 on January 28 & 29.  January 23-30 saw each day at least in the 50s.


Warmest High:  73  1876

Warmest Low:  55  2004

Coldest High:  -5  1864

Coldest Low:  -15  1864

Rainiest:  2.00″  1893

Snowiest:  1.7″  2001

Greatest Snow Depth:  4″  2001

January 1, 1876
On the warmest New Year’s Day on record, with highs in the 70s, a severe t’storm in the evening produced a tornado with “heavy losses” from Knox to Daviess counties.
The tornado damage was first reported 1 mile west of Wheatland where a house & barns were destroyed.  One person was injured seriously & one man attempted to hang on to a tree as it rapidly approached.  He was picked up & blown 225′ & injured nearby.  A nearby wagon was blown 150′ & demolished, while another was tossed 140′ & destroyed, its tongue buried deeply into the ground.  Of interest was the complete disappearance of all of the chickens on the farm.  The tornado continued on north of Wheatland with a track through the West Fork White River bottoms with significant destruction to timber.
A man, wife & three children fled their home as the tornado approached & took shelter in a very large stump.  The wife & children were uninjured, but the gradient winds of the tornado knocked a large limb down that fell upon the father, injuring him.
As it raced into Daviess County, it damaged & destroyed several homes & one shed near Washington.
St. Meinrad reported 75 degrees on this date at 2 p.m., making it the warmest New Year’s Day on record & the warmest temperature ever recorded in the month of January.  In east-central Illinois, Mattoon reached 72 & Spiceland, in east-central Indiana (Henry County), saw 70.  After 74 on December 31, Louisville, Kentucky saw a high of 71 on this date.  After 68 on December 31, even Chicago was 65.
Cherries & peaches were reportedly beginning to bud with spring peepers in full song in the area.  The peepers had been heard for the past 6 days.

This severe weather followed severe weather December 26, 1875 when a tornado struck Owensville, damaging winds killed 2 in Spencer County.

January 1, 1818
Extensive forest damage along the Ohio River from ice storm.  Forest damage was reported as “major” with “forests leveled” at Cincinnati, Ohio.



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