San Antonio, TX Area Storm and Flood, Jun 1898
The Town Flooded.
Heaviest Downpour Of The June Rainy Season.
One and Three-Fourths inches in 36 Minutes-A Record Breaker-Heavy Wind Storm Causes Great Damage To Property-People Injured.
Yesterday afternoon the heaviest rain and wind storm which has visited San Antonio in the past ten years, struck the northern limits about 6 o’clock without much warning except the heavy banking of clouds for about one hour previous. The storm became general in the city within ten minutes and the rain descended in such blinding torrents as to stop all street traffic except the street car lines which were not stopped at all during the thirty-five minutes the disturbance lasted.
The wind arose to a gale of 40 miles an hour and great havoc was caused to roofs, signs, awnings, telephone wires and trees in the city. In the suburbs such as Laurel Heights, Government Hill, Prospect Hill, West End, Lakeview and Beanville, the wind was not so high and little damage was reported, except to shade trees. In the city proper the damage was considerable and as the wind was of the cyclonic velocity, many roofs, chimneys, etc., will have to be repaired. The storm lasted only thirty-five minutes, but by measurement of Mr. Gus Duerler at his weather station on Commerce Street, the wind registered 40 miles per hour, and 1.53 inches of rain fell. This is the heaviest rainfall in a given length of time registered in this city in very many years. Toward the end of the rainfall some few hail stones as large as a pea fell in Houston street, then the sun shone out and a rainbow was spread on the southeastern horizon before the storm subsided.
At the corner of Avenue C and Houston Street the water formed a cataract over this sidewalk in front of the drugstore.
A sign broke loose in front of Mike Higgins’ saloon opposite the old county court house on Soledad street and smashed a large pane of glass in one of the doors. A piece of flying glass struck Mr. Higgins on the wrist as he was standing back of the bar and one of the arteries of the wrist was cut. He ran to store where a physical staunched the blood and stitched the wound.
A tall chimney on the north side of the old country courthouse was blown down and falling on the roof of the second story of the Emerson building adjoining broke a hole in the roof and the lawyers’ offices on the second floor and the loan office of Emerson or Maurer, on the first floor, were deluged and several hundreds of dollars worth of damage was inflicted.
On this street also one of the balls of the sign of the Michael Loan office was blown away.
On Main avenue a large part of the roof of M. Castanola’s wholesale grocery store was blown into the street.
On South Flores Street a large portion of the roof of the Stumburg store building was torn away.
The trees of Paradise shading the Menger Hotel front on Alamo plaza suffered the loss of many of their largest limbs which blockaded the sidewalk.
The smokestack of the city hall was blown down and part of the plaster on the wall of the west side of the upper part of the building, at the city fire alarm office was melted off and the rain blowing in past the unprotected window casings soaked into the city collector’s office and through the floor and ceiling into the city clerk’s office below.
The roof of the Grand opera house, of tar, felt paper and gravel sprung a big leak and the back and side doors of the stage were blown open and broken off their hinges and despite the efforts of the stage hands to barricade the storm doors the greater part of the scenery was badly damaged by water.
A big part of the false front of the upper part of the Hugo & Schmeltzer building on the side next the Alamo was blown away and fell on the plaza below.
A front window in the top floor or attic of the old county courthouse was blown in and the water damaged the furniture and ceilings in the building. A sign was also blown away here.
The flag on the new county courthouse was torn so badly as to be useless. The flag on the city hall was unharmed. The Menger hotel flag was torn to shreds and the flag of Critzer Bros. on Commerce street was completely torn away.
Some ornamental coping on the Frost Bank was broken away and a small copper spire on the corner of the great spire of St. Joseph’s Catholic church was bent badly.