Georgia and South Carolina Tornado, Oct 1898


Another Big Storm In Southern Georgia.


Ships Are Driven Ashore and Crops Ruined---No News From Sea Islands, and It Is Feared Many Lives Have Been Lost.

SAVANNAH, Oct. 3.---For 15 hours, from 3 o'clock yesterday morning until 6 o'clock last night, Savannah was in the grasp of a West Indian cyclone. During that time the wind blew steadily from 50 to 70 miles an hour.

While the city escaped with comparatively little damage, the loss of property among the sea islands of the Georgia and South Carolina coasts is believed to be heavy. For miles in every direction around Savannah the lowlands along the rivers are submerged.

One one fatality has so far been reported, the drowning of a negro while attempting to reach the mainland from a small island near Thunderbolt, but heavy loss of life is feared from the South Carolina sea islands, where such awful loss of life occurred during the great tidal storm of 1893. The conditions now are similar to those during that storm. Owing to the submerged country and the isolated location of the islands no news can be had from them until the water subsides.

For eight miles north of Savannah the entire country is a lake with only the hemlocks visible. At noon the water was eight feet above the highest tide. Driven on shore by the northeast storm, it filled up on the islands, swept over banks and dams, carrying away the remnant of the rice crop that was left by the August storm and had not been gathered and wiping out farm crops. The loss to rice growers alone will be form $50,000 to $75,000. Of the entire rice crops along the Savannah river, valued at $150,000, all but about 15 per cent was lost in this and the preceding storm.

The damage to shipping is considerable. The schooner Governor Ames, which was on her way to sea with a cargo of 1,500,000 feet of lumber, went adrift in the harbor, but was secured safely. The wharfs at the quarantine station at the entrance to the river here were partially carried away. The quarantine officer and his family and servants were rescued early in the day by a tug. Four vessels which were at anchor at the station were torn from their moorings and driven into the marshes. Three of these were the British schooner Syanara, bound from St. John, N. B.; the American schooner Milleville, for Milleville, N. J.; the Fannie L. Child, for Boston, all lumber laden, and the Italian bark Franklin. How badly these vessels are damaged is unknown. No news has been received from Tybee since early yesterday morning, and nothing is known of the damage there.

At Thunderbolt and Isle of Hope, suburbs of Savannah, all the boathouses on the banks and hundreds of small boats were carried away.

The extent to which the railroads suffered is not fully known. The naval stores and cotton and lumber yards of the Plant system are submerged and the tracks of the Central of Georgia and Georgia and Alabama roads around the city are covered. The northbound express on the F. C. & P. railroad, due here from Florida at noon, has not yet arrived. Telegraph wires, except one wire over the Western Union lines, are down, and the condition of the railroad tracks ins unknown.

The telephone, police, light and fire alarm wires are down and the city is in darkness.

On Hutchinson's island, opposite Savannah, and separating the city from the South Carolina shore, there were many negros families rescued by boats from the revenue steamers Tybee and Boutwell.

All day rescuing parties were at work. Last night the wind had subsided, but the water, which receded with the ebb of the tide during the afternoon, has again risen. Considerable anxiety is felt for shipping at sea. The O. S. S. company's steamer Nacoochee, for New York, and the Merchants and Miners steamer D. H. Miller, for Baltimore went to sea Saturday night. The City of Macon of the Ocean Steamship line was due yesterday from New York, but has not arrived, and the City of Augusta of the same line sailed from New York Friday and was due here last night.

The extent of the storm is unknown. Until telegraphic communication is restored or news received from the country between Savannah and Jacksonville, over which the heaviest part of the storm passed, the full extent of its damage cannot be told.

Middletown Daily Argus, Middletown, NY 3 Oct 1898