U.S. Department of Agriculture, Weather Bureau Climatological Data, Ohio Section Vol. XXIX, No. 6, June 1924 William H. Alexander, Meteorologist and Section Director
TORNADOES OF JUNE 28, 1924, IN OHIO
Between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., 75th meridian time, on the above date, a barometric depression of rather moderate intensity (central pressure about 29.5 inches) advanced from a position central over extreme northeastern Iowa and southeastern Wisconsin almost directly east to a position over Lake Erie. Its passage thence was attended by numerous local storms, notably in the immediate vicinity of the storm-center. Some of these local storms were of very decided intensity, especially in northern Ohio, and wrought truly appalling loss of life and property. Because of these unprecedented losses from a rather unusual climatic misfortune (the tornado), in northern Ohio at least, it has seemed wise to prepare and publish a special report, necessarily brief, covering the most important facts concerning a few of these local storms, especially those that developed into true tornadoes. Diligent effort, therefore, has been made to secure reliable and reasonably complete information regarding same.
Between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., on the date in question, or about the time the western "barometric depression", or "low", was passing over southern Michigan, the general weather conditions were manifestly favorable to the development of local storms, --thunderstorms, windsqualls, whirlwinds, tornadoes, waterspouts, etc., --over the western portion of Lake Erie and the adjacent portions of Ohio, and as a matter of fact a large number of such storms did actually occur. It is not always possible to determine exactly where one of these local storms begins, or where one storm ends and another begins. The general conditions usually manifest themselves by a sort of "bubbling up" process, now here, now there, all resulting from the same general cause but each rather short-lived (note that all the destruction was wrought at Lorain in about three minutes), and more or less independent.
From the evidence on file at this office, it seems perfectly safe to say that there was not only one but quite a family of tornadoes in northern Ohio on that fateful June afternoon. On Chart I. three tracks are shown but it is barely possible that Track I. and Track II. represent four instead of two tornado manifestations, as may appear later.
TRACK I: (Vickery-Huron Tornado)
MR. JOHN W. BARR, the cooperative observer at Vickery, makes the following report of the storm at that point:
"The storm occurred about 4:45 p.m.; first appeared about two and three-fourth miles west of Vickery, and followed the road six and three-fourths miles east; was attended by a funnel-shaped cloud; path of great destruction was from 50 to 200 feet in width: trees on the north side of its path fell toward the west and southwest, along the center of the path in all directions, and south of the path toward the east and northeast; destroyed 11 houses, 25 barns and many smaller buildings; killed one person (Mrs. Kardotkid), one cow and two horses, and injured 20 persons; property loss estimated at $250,000."
THE POSTMASTER at Castalia reports:
"Tornado passed just south of the village between 5:00 and 5:30 p.m., moving from west to east; accompanied by a funnel-shaped cloud; path of great destruction about 300 feet wide; trees on the north side of path fell toward the west, were twisted every way along the center of the path and fell toward the northeast on the south side of the path; property loss estimated between $125,000 and $175,000."
THE POSTMASTER at Huron reports:
"The tornado struck Huron Twp. on the west side, coming from the northwest and continued about one and one-half miles in a southeasterly direction, then it seemed to go directly east for about a mile, then northeast for another mile, then easterly for three miles, where it seemed to end; storm was accompanied by a heavy downpour of rain that continued for about two hours; the cloud seemed square and one side seemed to drop; trees seem to fall mostly in an easterly direction except at the end of the path where they lay in all directions; path of great destruction was 10 rods in width at some places and 50 rods in width at other places; property loss in the township estimated at $46,000, consisting of three houses with contents, 12 barns, many small buildings, live stock, farm implements, etc.; three persons were injured." (See Mr. Matt's report).
THE POSTMASTER at Berlin Heights
"Tornado occurred at 5:00 p.m., was attended by a funnel-shaped cloud, came from the northwest, moved toward the southeast; path of destruction quarter to half mile in width; trees fell mostly toward the southeast; orchards badly cut up, some crops damaged, but unable to give even an estimate of total losses."
TRACK II. (Sandusky -Lorain Tornado)
There is some difference of opinion as to the exact birthplace of this tornado. Mr. Joseph E. Froggett, editor of the Daily Metal Trade, states in the columns of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he is of the opinion from information gathered from a personal visit to points in the western portion of Lake Erie, that this storm started in the immediate vicinity of Pelee Island and moved directly southward to Sandusky. Mr. C.C. Cooper, meteorologist in charge of the local office of the Weather Bureau at Sandusky, whose paper we give in full, thinks the tornado formed "at a point over Lake Erie north of the city" (Sandusky) where two cloud streams, one from the southwest and one from the northwest, met. It hardly seems probable that a tornado could advance from Peelee Island to Sandusky without being observed by a number of persons; thus far we have have heard of no one who witnessed such a storm. We are therefore inclined to accept Mr. Cooper's statement as to the origin of this tornado, and are pleased to publish his very full and interesting account of the tornado at Sandusky. He says:
"On June 28, 1924, the most destructive storm in the history of the city occurred at Sandusky, Ohio; in fact, it is the only storm with tornado characteristics of record.
The morning was cloudy with a heavy thundershower from 9:50 a.m. to 11:35 a.m. After the temporary rise in pressure usually associated with thunderstorms, the barometer began to fall rapidly, the sky being overcast with Ci. St. clouds up to about 3:00 p.m. Soon after that hour, large cumulus clouds began to gather in the southwest and west and move northwest, accompanied by thunder and lightning. These weather conditions gave indication of the approach of another thunderstorm.
Light rain began to fall at 4:15 p.m., but the movement of the clouds indicated that the storm would pass north of the city. However, at about 4:30 p.m., dark stratus clouds were observed moving from the southwest and northwest and meeting at a point over Lake Erie north of the city. At the junction of the two cloud-streams the clouds presented a bluish-black appearance and a cloud-whirl was plainly seen.
At about 4:35 p.m., the storm center suddenly moved southeastward from over the Bay to the Bay Shore and then inland about two blocks, and then almost due east across the northeastern portion of the city, then across the east end of the Bay, across the Cedar Point peninsula, about four miles from the Cedar Point resort, and then passed into the lake.
There were strong winds all along the shore from Sandusky to Lorain and considerable damage was done, but from the information I have, the winds were not of a tornado character until near the vicinity of Lorain.
As the storm center reached the land the barometer, which had been falling quite rapidly since 11:30 a.m., fell abruptly 0.20 inch and within five minutes rose again to its former position.
A funnel-shaped cloud was observed to touch the ground by a number of persons, but not by the writer. The explosive effect associated with tornadoes was clearly evident at many of the buildings that were destroyed.
Eight persons were killed and nearly a 100 more or less injured; 25 factories and business places were destroyed and more than 100 residences demolished. A rough estimate places the damage at one million dollars in Sandusky and $275,000 in Sandusky County.
I do not believe the Vickery storm was the same one that struck Sandusky. The Vickery storm apparently moved east, or a little south of east, while the Sandusky storm came from the northwest."
As to what happened between Cedar Point peninsula and Lorain, a distance of some 25 miles, the reader is referred to accounts following by Messrs Southwick, Matt and Wakefield and Dr. Combes. Note the doubt expressed by one or more of the writers as to the identity of the tornadoes, thus confirming our statement at the beginning of this discussion as to the occurrence of a number of distinct, independent tornadoes on that afternoon.
The following bit of information is furnished by an eyewitness, Mr. Arthur P. Southwick, of Warren, Ohio, who with his wife and daughter was motoring from Cleveland to Sandusky and when about four miles west of Lorain, or at the country club house, because of the threatening weather conditions, decided to take refuge temporarily in the club house, from which he had an excellent chance to observe the approach and passage of the tornado which at the moment was just moving inland from the lake. Mr. Southwick accompanies his account with a rough sketch which we regret we are unable to reproduce. This sketch portrays the cloud as a "dense black wall", more or less cone-shaped, point downward, the cloud being 100 to 150 feet wide at the top end about 20 feet wide where it touched the water or the ground. When first observed it was apparently moving from the northwest, but took an easterly course immediately after coming ashore. It passed within 200 feet of the club-house and approached Lorain from the west.
MR. SOUTHWICK'S story follows:
"We arrived at the Lorain Country Club just before the storm. The air was extremely oppressive, breathing seemed to be difficult, and the heat was terrific. We stood on the country club porch and saw the tornado approaching. It came across the lake and I should judge it was traveling about 70 miles per hour although that is hard to determine. It was about 20 feet out in the lake when I first saw it. It was making a noise like a fire-engine siren, high and shrill. The cloud was funnel-shaped, its small end right on the lake and a great quantity of water followed it. It was not whirling when I saw it, but the wind from it was the strongest I have ever been near. It shook the cupola off the club-house and in no time at all there were two inches of water in the kitchen under the place where the cupola had been."
MR. E. H. EMERY, meteorologist in charge of the Weather Bureau Office at Cleveland, O., kindly supplies us with the following detailed information regarding the "Lorain Tornado"; to him we are also indebted for copies of the reports by A. H. Matt, F. W. Wakefield and Dr. M. L. Combes:
In the late afternoon of Saturday, June 28, 1924, Lorain, Ohio, was visited by a tornado lasting, as near as can be determined, from 5:08 p.m. to 5:11 p.m., a tornado that just before beginning its havoc on land was a whirling mass of air and, at times, a waterspout over the adjacent waters of Lake Erie. All witnesses say the storm came off the lake, moving at first southeast and then east. From personal inquiries made on the day following the storm, no one in the stricken city could be found who saw a funnel-shaped cloud, all interviewed believing the "usual" summer thunderstorm approaching and giving to same no particular attention. When devastation was on every hand, then there came a realizing sense of being in the midst of a "cyclone".
On a later investigation, several persons came forward and said they had seen a funnel-shaped cloud approaching from the northwest, one observing it from in front of the Municipal Bath House when it was about a mile off shore, and describing the upper part as very dark, and the lower end near the water as looking like sand. Two others not far from the water front stated they had observed the same cloud after it had reached land. A fourth witness of the coming storm was Mrs. Hattie C. Hale, standing at a window on the third floor of the Opera House Building, who saw the funnel-shaped cloud in the northwest, and just before starting for the street floor, observed that the rain higher up was being driven by a northwest wind, while trees at the same time were bending toward the north.
Accompanying this report is a copy of a letter from the Weather Bureau storm warning displayman at Huron, Ohio, and one from the displayman at Vermilion, Ohio, the former describing the storm at his place, and the latter describing the storm as it appeared over the Lake moving in the direction of Lorain. No damage was done at Vermilion. Copy of a third letter is from Dr. M. L. Combes, Cleveland, Ohio, who with a party and the owner of the yacht "Oswichee", Mr. J. A. Williams of Cleveland, ran into the storm when five miles out in the Lake and six miles west of Lorain. His description of the storm is of value.
There is a difference of opinion regarding the storms that visited Sandusky and Lorain within a short time of each other, some contending that the storms which struck these places were one and the same, while others say they were different storms. Mr. W. A. Schulte at Vermilion, Ohio, states that between 4:00 and 4:30 p.m. he saw a "column of spray" three or four miles off shore traveling eastward and, at the same time, what seemed to him, to be a waterspout in the direction of Sandusky. Vermilion is 18 miles east of Sandusky and ten miles west of Lorain.
The storm coming off the Lake from the northwest entered the city in the vicinity of the Municipal Bath House. Its path varies in width from 4000 feet to 500 feet, while its length from where it started on land to the place where it lifted is between three and three and one-half miles. The tornado after lifting at Lorain settled down at Sheffield, five miles east-southeast of Lorain, again at Avon about three miles further east, and again at Dover, about four miles east of Avon. At these places there were many trees destroyed and several buildings damaged, particularly the Catholic church, two miles east of Avon village. After lifting at Dover in Cuyahoga County, little damage was done by this tornado. Practically all the damage was done in Lorain County.
At Lorain the greatest damage was from West Erie Avenue south to 7th street, and on Broadway, the principal business street of the city, as far south as 8th street, although there were several instances on Broadway where buildings were blown down as far south as 13th street. East Erie Avenue was not damaged to any great extent beyond Delaware Avenue. The principal structures ruined, or badly damaged, were the Bath House, State Theatre and Wickens Building adjoining, east end of Erie Avenue viaduct, Baltimore and Ohio ore bridge, the National Tube Company's ore bridge, five churches, Charleston Public School Building, most of the buildings of the American Shipbuilding Company, steel tower, 80 feet high, of the Electric Light Company and several tall chimneys. The Weather Bureau 50-ft. steel storm warning tower on the grounds of the Coast Guard Station, and a similar tower close by belonging to the U.S Coast Guard, were blown down, one falling toward the west, the other toward the south. The Coast Guard Station was not damaged.
A large number of iron telephone and electric light poles, five inches in diameter, were bent over or forced from their anchorage. Everywhere was there a tangled mass of broken and prostrated wires. Most of the trees in the storm's path were destroyed or injured, those prostrate lying in all directions. Many had their tops broken or twisted off. Practically all the trees in Washington Park, a small park in the city, were destroyed.
There were examples of buildings destroyed, and those adjoining receiving little or no damage. Many wrecked buildings had their walls blown in, others their walls blown out. Most of the business blocks wrecked were not of modern construction. The Antlers Hotel of steel construction, directly in the path of the storm, was not harmed beyond having one corner of its roof damaged.
On this day, July 25th, it is known that 73 persons were killed in the storm and about 200 injured, sufficiently so as to require surgical treatment, while 39 are missing. The greatest single number killed was eight in the Municipal Bath House and fifteen in the State Theatre.
The estimated amount of property damage in the city of Lorain is placed at $11,000,000.
MR. A. H. MATT, storm warning displayman at Huron, Ohio, has the following to say regarding the tornado that struck that village and vicinity on June 28, 1924:
"The storm hit Huron about 1/4 mile south of the N. Y. C. RY. tracks completely wrecked a big barn, and wrecked beyond repairs a small old brick house, was traveling in a N.E. direction, and started its career about one mile west of Vickery, Ohio, wrecking everything in its path. Uprooted two orchards at Huron, crossed the river, hit the W. & L. E. RY. yards, turned over steel hopper cars, blew some row boats out of the water in the river up a 15-ft. bank, and onto the railroad tracks at least 50 ft. from the river bank, damaging a few small houses located at the railroad yards, damaged or partly wrecked a small barn about 1/2 mile about N.E. from there and then disappeared. This storm was not the one that struck Sandusky, that one after striking Sandusky, Ohio, went across the bay, hit Cedar Point, and then went down across the Lake in an E. or N.E. direction.
The impression is that both of the storms met in the lake some place and then hit Lorain, or they met about the time they hit Lorain.
The rainfall was the heaviest we have had in Huron for 50 years according to the old settlers, every cellar had lots of water in it, and the streets were a small stream, no trees blown down outside of a strip about 1/4 of a mile wide."
The following report is from MR. F. W. WAKEFIELD, the storm warning displayman at Vermilion:
"On the afternoon of June 28th, I was busy at work on my boat when at about 2:00 o'clock I noticed indications of a squall or storm approaching, very slow in making up. At about 4:00 o'clock it looked so threatening that I made the boat snug and put extra lines on her and returned to my home which is located on the lake front. Of course during this time the small craft warning was on display. I watched the flag for indications of the direction of the wind, it being displayed on a steel pole 85 feet high. At 4:00 o'clock the wind was fresh from a southeasterly direction and there was a very vicious display of lightening in the western sky, wind increasing and swinging to the south. The sky was now covered with black clouds, apparently not moving very fast in any direction but drifting from the west. At this time the wind was blowing a moderate gale from the south, accompanied by heavy rain and lightning. I was now on my north porch completely sheltered from the southern gale. The wind was coming high above the trees just about catching the flag, snapping and cracking it with tremendous force. In five minutes the wind was a strong gale and southwest, still high up. This continued going west and northwest, full of heavy rain, squalls and lightening. During this time Mr. Williams' yacht was from one to two miles off the piers trying to make our port. He was in the wind, it striking the lake at about our light-house, blowing the water to scud. It was about an hour before he could get into the piers. At this time I noticed a large black cloud which I should judge was about 1 1/2 miles in diameter and three or four miles from the light-house, directly north. I remarked to my family that there would be something doing from that cloud. The wind was apparently blowing towards this cloud in a rotary manner. I watched it until it disappeared from view towards Lorain in the east. Soon after we got the report that Lorain was wrecked by a tornado. During the time of the storm the 14 foot pennant was snapped to pieces and blown away and portions of roofing were deposited at various places in Vermilion so I was certain that damage had been done to the west of us."
(From the Postmaster at Vermilion we learn that "the storm passed Vermilion a mile and a half north on Lake Erie," and from Mr. Froggett that "a great tidal wave swept up on shore (at Vermilion) and washed away everything movable in a cottage near the shore" belonging to a friend of his. ---W. H. A.)
The following is the report of DR. M. L. COMBES and is of special interest and value in this connection:
"In answer to your letter requesting a report of the storm of June 28th, which wrecked Lorain, Ohio, as seen by me while on my way to Put-in-Bay on the yacht Oswichee, I will say that we left Rocky River at 1:22 p.m., June 28th. There was quite a wind, the Lake was a little rough, the barometer stood at 29 3-10. We ran out three or four miles, then turned directly west and kept this course until 4:30, when it became evident that an unusual storm was ahead of us. We saw a very black cloud, one-half mile wide at the water line, and much wider at the top. It traveled very fast and was full of lightening with a peculiar, dirty, yellowish amber glare around it. It was a little north of west and came toward us traveling southeast. We turned south under full speed until 4:45, at which time a water spout shot out of it and then down to the water. It was funnel shaped base up and the water seemed to rise to meet it, cone shape. Our barometer dropped to 28.7 just before it struck us; this was about 5:00 p.m. We turned directly into the wind and storm; there was decided down pressure and we figured this was the storm descending from the big, dark cloud. The pressure was terrific, but we had passed the center of the storm and were caught half way to the outer edge. The water boiled and seemed to flatten into innumerable, whirling or circling eddies, anti-clock-wise. The fury lasted for twenty minutes with continuous streak lightening, the roar was so great that we could not hear the thunder. Then the water spout went across our stern, drenching us with water, followed by a heavy spray and a very decided suction, which lifted the pipe from our furnace as the air rushed up into the vacuum formed. It also pulled up the canvas which covered the top deck and was nailed down around the edges. We were in complete darkness for twenty minutes, followed by a dirty, yellowish, amber glare. We fought the waves, which were very high, also the high wind and heavy rain for one hour and fifty-five minutes, and after two attempts got into the Vermilion River at 7:30 p.m. The Oswichee is a sea-going, gasoline yacht, 95 feet long in the water line, 19-foot beam and has two 80 H.P. engines and two 40 inch propellers. When we could not keep her into the wind we would stop one engine and run the other; we did this a number of times, otherwise we would have been lost. We had 1350 gallons of gasoline and 2600 gallons of water in our tank, also one ton of hard coal. She is rated 91 tons, by U.S. Marine Agent. Captain Arberts, has sailed 50 years on the ocean, two years between China and Japan and has seen many typhoons. He estimated the wind velocity between 90 and 100 miles an hour. Mr. J. A. Williams of Cleveland is the owner. We were about six miles west of Lorain and about five miles out in the Lake when we sighted the waterspout at 4:45, about ten miles away. It hit us between 4:55 and 5:00, the barometer began to drop at 4:30 p.m. The waterspout passed southeast in a direct line to Lorain, Ohio, and was followed by a terrible rainstorm and high sea."
While there is some evidence which tends to show that the tornado struck Lorain was the same that struck Sandusky, the connection is not established beyond doubt.
TRACK III. (Portage County Tornado)
Late in the afternoon or about 5:00 o'clock, a well-defined tornado which seems to have had its beginning in the vicinity of Geauga Lake (Geauga County) appeared in the extreme northwest corner of Portage County, Aurora Twp., and moved a little south of east across the townships of Mantua, Hiram and Nelson, (Portage County), finally breaking up just over the line of Trumball County, Southington Twp., the total path being some 20 miles in length. Fortunately there were no large centers of population in the path of this storm and therefore the resulting losses were small as compared to Sandusky-Lorain tornado. In the vicinity of Mantua, three farmers, Stanley Ferry, William Herbert and Henry Lorenz, were killed, each meeting his fate in the collapse of his barn in which he was working at the time, and property estimated at $50,000 and crops at $50,000 were destroyed.
PROF. GEORGE II. COLTON, cooperative observer at Hiram, gives the following account of this tornado:
"The maximum temperature for the day was 77, while the temperature at 6:00 p.m. was 75. At 5:00 o'clock a dense cloud appeared in the west with mutterings of thunder. As the cloud approached, the sky assumed a peculiar light greenish-yellow color which is usually thought to indicate the coming of a windstorm. Lightening and thunder soon became almost constant. At 6:15 p.m. the storm broke with strong wind from the southwest and a torrent of rain. The electrical display was unusually intense, though little damage was done by lightening. The discharges seemed to be mainly across the sky from cloud to cloud. The total precipitation during the storm was 2.20 inches, two inches of which fell in the first 50 minutes. Throughout the large area covered by the storm the wind was sufficiently violent to break down or uproot many trees.
The storm was accompanied by a very destructive tornado which passed a half-mile north of this village. The well-defined track of this tornado is fully 15 miles long and about one-third mile wide. It extended well through the north tier of townships in Portage County, being first well-defined in the northwest part of Mantua township. Its direction was approximately five degrees south of east, through the townships of Mantua, Hiram, Nelson and on into Southington in Trumbull County. Throughout its entire course the destruction was appalling. Buildings were wrecked and tens of thousands of trees were broken off or uprooted. In many cases the fragments of buildings utterly destroyed were scattered for 80 rods over adjoining fields. It struck the thickly settled east and west center road in Nelson about one and one-half miles west of the center and wrought along it incredible havoc that must be seen to be appreciated.
The village of Nelson Center, of about 30 dwellings, lay directly in its path and the fearful fury of the storm was told by the scattered wreckage of buildings and the hundreds of fruit and shade trees overthrown. Unroofed homes were drenched from top to basement by the downpour. The course of destruction was plainly marked through the woods, nearly all the trees being broken off or uprooted and piled in an indescribable tangle. Many fine sugar groves and fruit orchards were ruined.
The evidence of a counter-clockwise whirl, though lacking in most places, was plainly evident in others. In one case a rafter-end from a barn standing 15 rods southwest of a dwelling was carried around and into a window on the east side of the dwelling. While trees on the south side of the path fell toward the east or northeast as would be expected, those on the extreme north side of the path sometimes fell toward the west. West windows were usually broken inward, either by the force of the wind, or by flying missiles, but some windows near the center of the whirl burst outward to the west as though forced outward by the excesses of pressure within. No funnel-shaped cloud was seen, possibly because of the blinding fall of rain that accompanied the storm. For some distance to the right or left of the path of the tornado the direction in which trees fell indicated a strong inrush of air toward the tornado's path. The storm came just at milking time and caught the dairymen in their barns. Four were crushed to death under falling timbers. A number of cows and horses were killed. It is a wonder that only slight injuries resulted from the work of the tornado at Nelson Center.
The peculiar color of the sky, noticed just before the storm broke, continued in the east and south some time after the storm had abated. The remarkable electric display continued also. A quarter of a million dollars would scarcely compensate for the damage wrought by this storm."
A number of light objects such as cancelled checks, receipts, etc., bearing Lorain, Ohio, headings were picked up in the vicinity of Painesville (60 miles east of Lorain) and at Chardon ( 56 miles from Lorain).
Mr. J. W. Cherry, division plant superintendent, advises that the Ohio Bell Telephone Company suffered an estimated loss of $150,000 as a result of the several tornadoes in the northern part of the State on the afternoon of June 28th.
Torrential rains occurred at a number of places, incident to the passage of these local storms. The following places in northern Ohio reported 2.50 inches or more in 24 hours or less time: Akron, 4.30 inches; Danbury, 2.74 inches (1.25 inches falling in 10 minutes); Fremont, 3.32 inches; Hiram, 2.70 inches; Medina, 2.50 inches; Oberlin, 4.04 inches (3.79 inches falling in little over one hour); Vickery, 2.88 inches.
HOW THE TORNADO LOOKED TO THOSE ON THE TOP FLOORS OF LOCAL SKYSCRAPER
The persons who had perhaps the best points of advantage from which to watch the storm of June 28th were Dr. L. E. Meyer, dentist, with an office on the seventh floor of the Feick building, facing north and Dr. J. C. Kramer, physician, whose office adjoins that of Dr. Meyer. From the windows there, an unobstructed view of the bay and water front can be had.
"The weather was queer all that afternoon," Dr. Meyer says, telling of his experience, "Dr. Kramer and I were sitting by the window in his office shortly before the terrific wind struck the city and we were admiring the beauty of the clouds, with lightening dashes zigzagging through the black clouds.
"It truly was a beautiful sight. The clouds were hanging low over the bay. Suddenly as we watched a black square-shaped cloud appeared over the bay and approached from the northwest toward the Hinde & Dauch Co. The cloud was about 400 feet square, hanging from the horizontal stretch of clouds down to the water.
"The monstrous sheet-like thing came rather slowly at first, toward the shore and momentarily enveloped the Hinde & Dauch Co. building. We saw the chimney topple over.
"Then it gained a momentum and swiftly lashed toward the Cedar Point dock. We saw the roof suddenly rip off up into the air, just as though someone had touched off a stick of dynamite under it. It all happened quicker than you could snap your finger.
"The pieces along with parts of other roofs on E. Water St. were swirled around in the air over the buildings in front of us. It looked for a moment as though they would be blown in at our windows, but just as suddenly as it had come, the wind changed and swept directly east along the water front, and the debris it carried dropped on the roofs of the building across the street from us.
"What it did farther east we couldn't see because of the driving sheets of rain.
"It was a sight I shall never forget. If ever another such storm comes while I am up so high in any building I think I shall go down stairs as soon as possible. The only reason I stayed up there through it all was because the rain came in through every crack and I was afraid the office would be flooded." ---The Sandusky Register