Full Force

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THE FULL FORCE FELT

 

Clear down to Michigan avenue the little skirmishing clouds did all the execution for the storm. Crossing this street the small end suddenly swooped downward, and at the same time the upper end began to swing around in such a way as to bring the cloud into an almost perpendicular position. At Ohio avenue the full force of the armament of the army of clouds was thrown at the earth for a second and buildings fell in every direction. The center of the storm was at this time directly over Lafayette avenue, and the tail again began to diverge to the north, with a graceful swing. The front of the advancing phalanx of deadly vapor was right on a line with the surface of Jefferson avenue.

Lafayette Park is on the summit of a hill that forms the western boundary of the valley extending up to the high ground along Grand avenue. Jefferson avenue is slightly down the incline to the west of the park. If the tornado had pursued the same antics that governed it when it reached Grand avenue, it would have again bounded in the air about Jefferson avenue and continued on its way toward the river at a different altitude to save from serious damage the beautiful residences about the park. But the actuating power showed strategy this time. There was not much to destroy at Grand avenue, but Jefferson avenue offered a rich harvest. And when the storm reached that thoroughfare it dashed straight into the side of the hill, the destructive tail swung east as far as Chouteau avenue, dashed toward the earth and bit a chunk of property out of Jefferson avenue all the way from Chouteau to Russell. The tail of the storm moved from north to south like the lash of a whip, and while it was completing the work of destruction the dense main body remained poised in the air, slowly revolving and floating in the direction of Geyer avenue.

About the time it was directly over the Scullin power house the tail came along, swept under, and with a roar that was heard for blocks, mixed motors, engines, cars, buildings, machinery and men in a mass of matter. Then the tail swung over to the South Side race track, completely licked it off the face of the earth, and the great body, flashing lightning and breathing thunder, moved swiftly to the northeast, blowing down houses and stripping Lafayette Park on the way, leaving it a forest of splintered stumps.

The movements of the tail of the storm-the twisting tail that curled and splintered iron and steel and melted away the strongest work of man, then moved so rapidly from one side to the other that it could not be distinguished. It slipped over to Twenty-first street, destroyed elevators, wire mills, warehouses and factories, and then considerately jumped over a big brewery at the South approach to the Eighteenth street bridge. It sent an arm over to Market street and blew holes in the walls of factories, bat spared the Union Station. Then it gathered all its force, swept back to the south again, wiped the City Hospital out of existence and started on the voyage down Soulard street, the most destructive in its campaign. All the time the big black cloud hovered above, sliding up and down, spitting, lightning and raining.

 

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