Cook County Illinois Genealogy Trails

Cook County, IL Weather News Stories

©unless otherwise noted, transcribed by Kim Torp

From the Chicago Tribune, 24th.:
TERRIFIC TORNADO.---Never before has it been our duty to record so awful a calamity as that to which we now sit down to write. The scene of the tragedy is still before our mind's eye; the wrecks of the tempest are still lying scattered about; but were it not for the unimpeachable character of our informants, eye-witnesses of the dreadful calamity, we should be inclined to believe that they had been laboring under some mental hallucination, and that what we are about to relate was but a dream of the imagination . The reality, however, is too true. The bodies of three victims and the wounds of the other persons constitute evidence too palpable to be set aside.
Our readers will remember the violent hail-storm that took place in this city yesterday afternoon, between four and five o'clock, and the oppressive heat of the rest of the afternoon. At the same hour the events to which we allude took place in the town of Jefferson, near Jefferson Mills, sixteen miles distant.
A cloud of a peculiar shape was first observed approaching from the northwest, and terminating in a funnel-shaped point, the apex toward and nearly reaching the earth. As it came nearer, it was discovered to be a whirlwind, rapidly revolving, and whirling up various objects, in which were plainly seen large sticks of wood, boards, small trees and chairs. It was coming toward our informants, but did not reach them, but turned to their right described a semi-circle, and fell upon a large frame house. In an instant, and with a crash, the roof was torn off, and immediately the whole house was lifted from its foundation, literally torn to pieces, and the pieces carried up in the horrid vortex. The furniture in the house, all of it, shared the same fate, the weight of the articles appearing no obsticle to their ascent whatever.
And now we come to a part of the narrative, sad, indeed, to relate. In the house were nine persons. They were all drawn up in the air, and fell, at different distances, and with great violence, to the ground. The wife of one of the eye-witnesses (Mrs. Page.) and two of her children were instantly killed. All the other persons in the house were greatly injured. The injuries with two exceptions, consist of singular and heavy bruises all over the body. One man had his arm broken, and another his wrist badly sprained.---Mr. Page only saved himself from being drawn up into the air by holding on to a large rock. The house stood upon four large granite bowlders. These were all moved several feet from their places.
The whirlwind went on, and passed diagonally across a post-and-rail fence. Of this it tore up twenty rods so effectually that there is not the slightest vestige of a fence remaining. From this it passed to the barn, tore away one side of it, and threw it against a horse, causing its death. The side of the barn then fell down on three calves, and injured them so badly that they died during the night.
The whirlwind seemed to pass off in a southward direction.
Many of the fragments of the building, &c.(etc.), fell to the ground from a great height. In coming down they fell nearly perpendicular, and entered the ground like stakes. Hundreds of these were counted by our informant.
The force of the storm was tremendous. Not only were the boards torn off from the beams to which they were nailed, but the beams themselves were wrenched assunder.
The whirlwind was accompanied by a storm of hail, many of the hailstones being the size of walnuts. Some of them were nine inches in circumference.
We have neither space nor inclination for comment on this sad affair today. Nothing like it has ever occurred here before, and we hope never will again. It realizes the utmost horrors of a South American tornado. Had it spent its force in the city, hundreds of deaths would have marked its progress.
[The Chicago Tribune, reprinted in "Gallipolis Journal" (Gallipolis, Oh.) Thursday, May 31, 1855 - Sub. by Src #188]

Destructive Tornado
Chicago, May 24, - Last evening a terrific tornado passed over several counties on the Mississippi river, in the central portion of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. It appears to have moved in a southeastwardly direction.
Accounts from Desmoines county, Iowa, and Adams county, Illinois, state that every movable thing in its track was swept away. Trees were uprooted, fences scattered, telegraph poles and wires demolished, and many barns and houses unroofed or blown down.
So far as heard from no loss of life is reported, but the destruction of property is very great.
(Submitted by Source #83)

Total Heat Dead Now Twenty Seven
Chicago, July 1 - The thermometer registered 83 degrees this morning with no relief promised until tonight.
[Litchfield Daily Union, Friday, July 1, 1927 - submitted by Lynn Boyd Reener]



Chicago (A) – Apprehension over Middle America’s crop prospects grew hourly today.
Parched prairies and plains, long baked by a hot sun and swept by swirling chocking “black blizzards” of dust, swelled the alarm of agrarian and city dweller alike.
The only note of hope was the forecast of local showers tonight in Nebraska and North and South Dakota, and in Iowa tomorrow.
Elsewhere no relief was in sight.
Light showers have fallen in the Chicago area – the first in twenty eight days- and in Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas, but they were regarded as of little value. The Chicago Board of Trade took cognizance of the situation and the prices on all future deliveries of wheat skyrocketed five cents yesterday.
Whipped by strong winds, the dust clouds from the vast plains of Western Canada swept across the border with undying intensity yesterday, befogging the entire area from Montana on the West, Texas on the South and the Ohio Valley on the East.
Pilots reported that the dust particles had invaded the upper portions of the air – as high as 10,000 feet and were sweeping eastward at the rate of 60 to 100 mile an hour.
[Daily Messenger, Canandaigua (NY) May 11, 1934 - Submitted by Source #78]

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