Erie, PA Hail Storm, Jul 1853
Tremendous Hail Storm.
Yesterday afternoon, between 5 and 6 o'clock, our city was visited by one of the most tremendous hail storms that we ever remember to have seen. The wind, that during the early part of the day had been from the northeast, suddenly veered round the northwest, and then again changed to the east, bringing with it a heavy thunderstorm. The most peculiar phenomenon was the sudden hurricane, and the storm, not of hail, for that would be too unmeaning a term to describe it by, but pieces of ice, which came clattering down upon the roofs of the houses like a shower of brickbats. Extraordinary as it may appear, this is the nearest resemblance that can be given to the noise that the storm produced; but singular enough, this phenomenon was very local, not extending over the whole city, for in some parts the fall of hair had become modified into rain, probably having melted in its passage to the earth.
In order that our readers may not suspect us of exaggeration we have appended two instances of what this hail storm was: ---
The shipyard of MR. THOMAS COLLYER, at the dry dock, was covered with irregular shaped pieces of ice, or large clusters of hail stones. Several of them were measured, one of which was 6 Â¼ inches in circumference, another 7 inches, and a third measured 3 inches long and 2 inches thick.
The inhabitants of a house in Waverly place were startled by a solid body falling in the front yard, and on proceeding there found a number of pieces of ice, which appeared too have been originally one piece broken by the fall. When together they would weigh about two pounds. --- The garden at the back of the house had also a large number of pieces of ice scattered over it, and a skylight at the top of the house was smashed by the hail stones.
The noise of the falling hail on the Crystal Palace was tremendous --- the dome acting as an immense drum.
During the storm a most disastrous accident occurred up town, by which three persons lost their lives ans seven other seriously injured, some of whom it is expected will not recover. The scene of the accident was in Forty-third street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues, at a newly erected frame building opposite LATTING'S OBSERVATORY, which belongs to S. P. TOWNSEND, and was not entirely completed. It is also opposite the Crystal Palace. During the storm this building, which was two stories high, and roofed in, was overturned instantaneously by the hurricane that blew about five-o'clock, and levelled[sic] in a moment to the ground. At the time that the accident occurred there were six men employed on the ground floor in plastering the walls, three of them as plasterers, one of whom was the boss, named WILLIAM McCRACKEN, and who was killed, with two others. There were three other laborers on this floor. On the upper floor there were other workmen employed in fitting the pipes and other similar work, the building being intended, we believe, for a saloon, and in addition to these there was a large number of people who had sought temporary shelter when the storm came on. So sudden was the accident that no time was given for escape, the whole building being prostrated without even the shadow of a warning.
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