The Hot Wind, Explained

Skidmore and vicinity experienced a frightening weather pattern in June 1902.   Thank goodness for A. E. Hackett of the Climate and Crop division of the Weather Bureau, who set us straight with a letter published in the July 4, 1902 edition:

Why We Had The Hot Wind.
The State Climate and Crop Service Man Gives Explanation.

A. E. Hackett, of the climate and crop service of the weather bureau, hearing of the hot wind which blew through this section not long since, wrote to Postmaster Howden for particulars.  Mr. Howden sent in his version of the phenomenon and received the following in reply:

Columbia, Mo., June 25.
Mr. Thos. L. Howden, Postmaster,
Skidmore, Mo.

Dear Sir: — I beg to acknowledge, with thanks, the receipt of your favor of the 23d instant giving an account of the peculiar hot wind which was felt at your place on the morning of the 11th instant.

In all probability this hot wind was caused by the sudden descent of a comparatively small mass of air from a high altitude.  When a relatively small mass of air is forced down to the surface of the earth in the form of a whirl thorwn off from the upper air currents (not a whirl like a tornado, but a horizontal whirl such as may be observed on the underside of a body of dense smoke blowing out horizontally from a chimney only on a far larger scale) the air is heated by compression far more rapidly than it can cool by radiation and hence reaches the surface of the earth at a comparatively high temperature and is observed as a hot wind.  Similar hot winds have been observed in many places and are liable to occur at any hour of the day or night, but are much more noticeable at night because the surface air is then cooler.

The bits of dirt were probably picked up by the wind from some nearby field.

Very truly yours,
A. E. Hackett
Section Director.

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