Extreme Weather, 1902

Skidmore and vicinity were in for some unusual weather at this time in 1902, according to the June 13, 1902 Skidmore Standard, page 1:

A Hot Wind.
It Awakens Nearly all the Dwellers in Our City and Scares Them to the Cellars.

A very peculiar phenomenon took place Wednesday morning between one and two o’clock. It is generally presumed that good people are mostly in bed asleep at that time but as there are exceptions to all rules, Wednesday morning at that early hour nearly everybody in town was up observing the weather conditions, just long enough to slide into the cyclone cave and await results.

Tuesday was a warm, sun-shiny, ideal summer day, with a light wind from the southwest. Toward evening a few clouds raised up in the northwest but hardly indicated the probability of a light rain. The wind continued along in its gentle way until bedtime — and perhaps after, for all the writer knows — until a little after one o’clock in the morning, when it changed its course and commenced to blow from a little rain cloud in the northwest. Then was about when the trouble began. A very violent gust of wind came along and it seemed as though it was just from a furnace or fire at short range. After this sudden gust of free-for-all hot-air concert, the hot and cold drafts continued for some few minutes and then a still more violent and heated gust came along which sent a few remaining curiosity seekers to the cellars and caves. For some little time after this the hot and cold gusts continued to alternate, but the hot currents soon began to be less frequent until they finally disappeared. The total length of time was perhaps fifteen or twenty minutes. The air was so hot it was suffocating, and some went in caves or cellars to avoid the oppressiveness.

Other people were scared, so was the writer. He thought “His Infernal Highness” had broken his chains and had come up and found us napping and had concluded to open up a branch establishment not a half mile from here. We thought — in just one-third of a second — of all the mean things it has taken us years to do. It is almost enough to make a bald headed man turn gray, to have all his cussedness loom up one side of him at once, and maybe the old scratch himself coming up on the warm side.

Now we could explain this hot wind business on scientific grounds easy enough, but when we got through you wouldn’t know anymore about it than we do, so we will just let it alone this time, but we hope it won’t occur any more for we do not like to be scared so, so often.

We remember something of like nature happened in this vicinity, perhaps twenty-five years ago. It was about sundown in the evening, and a pretty stiff wind was blowing from the southwest, and a gust of hot wind came along and within a few seconds there was another one, and we believe that was the extent of it. There seemed to be a more violent gust of wind about the time the hot wave passed as the writer well remembers a place, about ten rods in extent, in a rail fence, about a half mile south of town, that was torn down flat to the ground.


When the scorching wind fanned a certain lady in town, she at once concluded that the last day had come, and in her excitement, she made a rush for her purse and sought refuge in the cave. She hasn’t yet been able to explain just what she was expecting to purchase.

Two healthy, hearty youths grew so excited that they became “as sick as a horse,” as the old saying goes, and one young lady who was affected in a like manner is still unable to leave her bed.

A business man declared that the air was full of ashes and cinders. If it had not been for his reading of the recent Martinique disaster he would have known it was nothing but dust.

The preceding day was the one set for trying to get the saloon in town, and the Sporting Editor concluded that the phenomenon was caused by the “hot air,” which had been expended in Maryville, drifting back to us. The wind happened to be in the wrong direction, though, to make his theory prove out.

A citizen whose hair and beard have been whitened by the swelterings of many summers, etc., in relating his experiences afterwards, said he never had prayed, but that was one time when he felt like getting down on his knees and trying it once. He was restrained only by the thought that the Lord would be so busy listening to the supplications of all the church members that his petition wouldn’t stand a ghost of a show.


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