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The warm, dry winter of 1890. But, watch out for March!!

The warm, dry winter of 1890.  But, watch out for March!!

by Ben Pine

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 7:47 AM

The winter of 1890 was a lot like our winter so far... mild and lacking snow. 

From December through February in 1890 Louisville only picked up .40" inches of snowfall.  The 2nd least snowiest winter on record.

The winter of 1890 also turned out to be the warmest on record with an average temperature of 47.6 degrees (averaging highs and lows). 

Unfortunately, Louisville paid for it all in March. 

First, the area finally got snow.  3.60" of snow fell that March, with a whopping 9.58" of total precipitation.  The worst part of that March was the tornado outbreak, and the most deadly tornado in Louisville's history.

This is what happened on March 27th, 1890, described by our local National Weather Service office's list of Top 10 Worst Tornadoes,

"This F-4 tornado struck Louisville just before 8:00 PM on March 27th, 1890.  It began in extreme western Jefferson County before tracking 15 miles through Louisville and into Clark County, Indiana.  When the tornado lifted, 76 people had lost their lives, with at least 200 more injured. In downtown, the hardest-hit district was from the intersection of Algonquin Parkway and Thirty-Fourth Street northeastward through California and Russell into the west side of Louisville's Central Business District.  The tornado roared into the Ohio River at the foot of Seventh Street, struck downtown Jeffersonville, and turned right and re-crossed the Ohio River coming back into Louisville where it severely damaged the water tower at the end of today's Zorn Avenue.

The worst tragedy of the storm took place at Falls City Hall at 1124 West Market Street.  A lodge meeting was taking place on the second floor of the building, while on the main floor several dozen children were taking dancing lessons with their mothers.  As the great wind slammed into the building, windows shattered and the second floor fell onto the main level, followed by the rest of the building collapsing in on itself.  An estimated 44 men, women, and children perished in the building's rubble, which remains as one of the highest single-building death tolls in the nation.

Below is the Destruction in Louisville Along Main Street Between Eleventh and Twelfth Streets

Image from NWS Louisville