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Purdue’s INClimate Website Offers Storm of Useful Weather and Climate Information


Even though we’ve had warm weather recently, we all know that sooner or later we’ll awaken to sights of the first fall frost. Historically, when can we expect that event, and what are the chances of that event occurring before or after a certain date? These and other answers can be answered by accessing the information on the Indiana State Climate Office (INClimate) website,

There are many reliable sources of weather information available to consumers – from phone apps to websites. Farmers, gardeners, landscapers, and others will find a plethora of useful information from Purdue’s INClimate site. Beth Hall, PhD, is the Indiana State Climatologist.

Since we’re in the season, let’s talk about the first frost. On the INClimate website, users have access to climate maps noting the average date of the first fall frost in all areas of Indiana.

What does this mean for our crops, gardens and landscape plants?

We know that certain plants are more sensitive to frost. A light (36 degree) or normal (32 degree) frost may shut some plants down. Other plants may be hardier, and require a hard frost/freeze (28 degrees) to shut them down.

Of course, summer annual plants will die completely, while perennials and woody plants will stay alive, but dormant, as winter passes.

According to INClimate, for Whitley County, the average first light frost is Sept. 30-Oct. 6. The average first normal frost is Oct. 4-10. The first hard frost/freeze is Oct. 17-23 for most of Whitley County, with the extreme eastern and western portions of the county at Oct. 23-29. Maps are also available that indicate the probability (1 in 10 years) of these temperatures before or after certain dates.

Of course, in the spring we are more worried about when the last spring frost will occur, especially if plants have budded and begun to grow prior to that event, which may require covering for protection. Farmers worry about danger to emerged crops at that time.

The Indiana State Climate Office (INClimate) website states that it is the state archive of official daily and hourly weather observations recorded throughout Indiana. INClimate maintains an online archive of many recent daily and hourly observations from both manual and automated networks. Older observations are being converted to an online database as part of an ongoing national effort.

INClimate was established in 1956 to document and study the climate of Indiana. Ever since, it has been catering to the needs of different users, namely individuals, businesses, and government agencies. INClimate not only assists in providing climate observations and summaries but also interprets and applies this data to solve climate-related problems at hand.

Primary users of Climate data belong to sectors such as agriculture, attorneys, construction, environmental monitoring, forensics, government insurance, news media, research, education, and utilities.

Finally, if you would like to be a citizen-contributor to the weather data network, a program called “Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network” (CoCoRaHS) will enable you, as a volunteer, to report precipitation utilizing a highly accurate rain gauge (not provided – you must purchase). Find details at

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