Miami, FL Tornado, Apr 1917
At the Herron's fine grapefruit grove, 100 trees fifteen years old were blown down, and fifty trees, twenty years old were uprooted at the L. T. Townsend grove, about five miles wets of Miami.
As the wind approached Miami it seemed to become less intense, but it was noted that the tornado continued to carry away roofs and to do other damage, and near the city many large pine trees were blown down, some falling across the county roads.
Trail 200 yards Wide.
Mr. Hull, who followed in the path of the storm to ascertain how much damage it did, said he heard of none being hurt. The tornado, he declared, cut a path about two hundred yards wide. He believed that by quick action and care, many of the grapefruit trees blown down by the wind can be saved. These, he thought, should be returned to their natural positions, and perhaps in some instances defoliated or pruned back.
Other damage was done by the storm as it swept in from the west and tore its way across the northern part of the city. At Third street and avenue D the entire front was blown off Albury Brothers' store, and other store buildings were damaged to a lesser extent.
Force of Hailstones.
Hailstones smashed windows in some localities in various parts of the city, two windows being damaged at the Elser pier. The stones evidently fell with great force for they pierced the wings of five airplanes left standing on the ground at the operating field on the edge of the Everglades where the Curtiss school is operating. The wings are covered with the highest grade of Irish Linen, stretched tight and shellacked. The linen after being 'doped' is capable of withstanding 100 pounds to the square inch, but numerous holes were driven through it by hail stones, and it is thought it will be several days before the machines are again ready for use.
Severity of Wind.
At Nelsonville, a subdivision put on the market by Edwin Nelson, a two story house recently moved from elsewhere, was blown from its foundations and new building in course of construction were blown down and several others completed had their roofs lifted off.
When the wind swept across the Collin's bridge, it carried with it some of the railing, and immediately after the storm a gang of men were put to work to repair this damage.
Grandstand and Roof Off.
The wind struck the roof of the grandstand midway between the north and south ends of the motor boat race course, and the huge roof came crashing to the ground with a noise that frightened the residents of the beach living a considerable distance away.
A houseboat tied up at Smith's dock at the south end of Miami Beach was struck by lighting. The houseboat was occupied by a tug boat engineer, his wife and two children. The bolt of lighting exploded the six shells in a revolver aboard the boat, but none of the inmates of the houseboat were hurt, as the revolver was not pointed in their direction.
Six steel poles at the beach on which telephone wires were stretched, were struck by the lighting and twisted so as to damage them considerably,
Captain J. H. Welch, who lives at Miami Beach, came to Miami on one of the ferry boats about the time the storm broke, and despite the top and the curtains he and other passengers were drenched. The captain felt impelled to let the herald know that, though struck by the storm, Miami Beach is still in existence.
The Miami Herald, Miami, FL 14 Apr 1917