El Centro, CA tornado, Jul 1911


EL CENTRO, Cal., July 17. - A storm of cyclonic violence in which two lives were lost, several persons injured and buildings throughout the business district badly damaged, struck El Centro last Saturday.

Sweeping in from the southeast at 3:20 o'clock, the storm passed with great speed and force over the central part of town. While it lasted only a few minutes, it damaged property to the extent of at least $30,000.

The two whose deaths were caused by the storm were Leslie Novak, who died at St. Thomas hospital two hours after being injured in a falling building, and Singh Sunda, a Hindoo, who lost his life in the same way.

The injured were W. P. Hamilton of the Hamilton Supply company, whose leg was broken; Isaac Lowthian, a carpenter, cut about the head and face; three Hindoos who where caught beneath the fallen warehouse of the California Cotton company; Leslie Novak, Jr., 11 years old, whose leg was broken by the collapse of the walls of Dick's restaurant, and L. P. Novak, who suffered internal injuries when he was buried under the tiling of fallen walls.

The property damaged included the First Presbyterian church, which was demolished; the warehouse of the California Cotton company, which collapesed and buried beneath its heavy timbers three Hindoos who had sought shelter from rain under its roof; J. B. Whitaker's feed and fuel shed, collapsed; the storage and drying sheds and the office of the Valley Lumber company, which were wrecked; the wholesale house of the Hamilton Supply company, one of the largest buildings in El Centro; the Marble livery stable and residence, the roofs of which were blown off; the Abbot cement sheds, destroyed; the cantaloupe sheds of the Cruitchfield & Woolfolk company; the establishment of the Valley laundry company, the engine room of which was unroofed, the iron roofing crashing through the laundry; the Valley planing mill, collapsed; the Blackington building, roof and plate glass front destroyed, and Dick's restaurant and lodging house, 100 feet front collapsed.

Besides the buildings noted, there was much minor damage to others, and many persons besides those named suffered injuries of a less degree. Many persons narrowly escaped injury while in buildings which collapsed, or in the streets dodging debris, which was carried more than tow blocks by the storm.

The Salt Lake Evening Telegram, Salt Lake City, UT 17 Jul 1911