Rev. Timothy H. Ball wrote the following in his book Northwestern Indiana, published in 1900: "Lake County has a weather record kept with more or less fullness of detail from 1835 up to 1900. This in Lake County was commenced by Solon Robinson [founder of Crown Point]; it has been kept by members of the Ball family [of Cedar Lake, pioneers of 1837] and by Rev. H. Wason of Lake Prairie until now. Some extracts from it are here given. The full record would fill quite a volume."
We have taken from those records the following weather reports from 1893 and 1894:
In January 1893 there was much cold, snow, with many days of zero weather. There was a good ice harvest with lots of snow in the woods. On Jan. 24 it was a foot deep, and some days of that month stayed below zero during the day. On the 7th of February mercury was 10 degrees below. On the 8th the roads were very icy, but sleighing was good until Feb. 25, with an icy crust for weeks under the snow. The month of March 1893 was variable, with cold, snow, rain and mud all over the county. By Apr. 5 the roads became very dusty, and on the 7th mercury was above summer heat, with the vegetation growing rapidly; with the woods abounding in wild flowers amid wet weather later in the month.
On May 1, 1893, the day the Chicago World's Fair opened, there was very pleasant weather, but rains came on the 5th and the ground was very wet, followed by summer heat on the 10th. Heavy rain again on the 11th, and the dandelions were soon in blossom, along with the blossoms on the fruit trees. On June of 1893 there was a heavy rain, the last general rain for nine weeks, with temperatures above 100 degrees, with cooler evenings, on account of the northerly winds. During the first part of September 1893, the rain showers returned. (Rev. Ball wrote: "The summer of 1893, as was that of 1892, characterized by freedom from severe storms; excellent seasons for building.")
On Dec. 1, 1893, it was 5 degrees below zero, on the fourth at 5 a.m. on West Creek it was 18 degrees below zero; on the seventh, 10 below at Lowell; at Crown Point, 5 degrees below after sunrise. The weather for that December was quite variable, with snow a foot deep on the 3rd, then turning warmer the later part of the month when it became pleasant and mild. On the 28th of December farmers were plowing, and on the 29th a sail boat was spotted out on the lake, after the ice had been seven inches thick.
Jan. 1, 1894, the weather continued to be mild, with spring-like mornings, with plowing until the middle of the month, with the roads good. But on the 25th the mercury dropped to 10 degrees below zero, causing a short ice harvest. On Feb. 8 there was a very heavy fog, hard rains, and very muddy conditions.
This was followed on the 12th by a heavy snowstorm, with wind from the northeast, a bad blizzard, with penetrating snow sifting in everywhere. Drifts were so severe that of the 73 pupils in the high school room at Crown Point only about 20 met with the the teacher in the afternoon. The wind was very strong, with the mercury still about 24 degrees at sunset.
It was 32 degrees at noon on the 13th, the wind ceased and the storm was over, leaving snow drifts very deep, blockading the railroads. On the 17th, due to a strong south wind, the snow melted, and by the 27th temperature was 47 at noon, and a caterpillar was seen out on the sidewalk.
March 1894 was a very pleasant month, with very little noted in the reports.
April 1894, one hundred years ago, was also a month of pleasant weather with spring flowers in abundance and vegetation growing rapidly. In May of 1894 "at noon a cold wind storm came from the north; the Chicago papers said a hurricane swept down upon that city from Manitoba; here the storm lasted four days; no such storm for several years; it swept over a large area of country in the far north, giving sleighing."
June 1894 was warm and full of rain showers, and July of that year was hot and very dry. The dry spell was broken with rain coming on the 11th of August. After that rain, the month again became very dry, with a remarkably smoky atmosphere for nine days. During this time the sun could be seen through the mist, but was not shining.
This went on until Sept. 3, when in five minutes the deep dust turned to mud as the welcome rain came again. September of 1894 was warm and pleasant, though there were some more smoky days. A heavy frost arrived on Oct. 14. Rev. Ball noted that the planet Mars was now the attractive planet in the sky, with no such favorable view to be had until 1906.
On the 20th the bees were working as though it were the month of May, for the frost did not kill all the flowers.
On Nov. 5 the robins were still around and the flowers still bright, but snow followed on the 7th.
Became pleasant again, for on Dec. 12, 1894, farmers were plowing and digging ditches. The pleasant weather continued until Dec. 27, when a snow storm was followed by below zero weather.
So ends the weather record of 100 years ago.
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