Outskirts

Home ] Up ] Foreword ] Notice ] Introductory ] Description ] Discriminating Storm ] Fatal Path ] Tornadic Elements ] Warnings ] Gathering Force ] [ Outskirts ] Full Force ] Frequent Deaths ] Damage in ESL ] Incidents ] List of Illustrations ]

 

ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF THE STORM REGION

 

But the effort of changing the course so suddenly had a rather demoralizing effect on the army of clouds. A detachment of the solid platoon went away on an expedition of its own down toward the breweries and the peaceful German homes surrounding them in far South St. Louis. The main body, scarcely affected by the loss of the deserter, continued on its way,, and death and ruin a second later reigned in the big steel structures at the Tower Grove Crossing.

At this time the mass of clouds seemed to spread. The top of the mass flattened and swung from side to side with a motion that threw the small end about like a pendulum over the country in a most promiscuous manner. It bobbed up and down, now striking the earth and tearing a streak of waste in its path, now high above, the force it expended doing damage slighter than direct application of the rotary motion accomplished. The rain was falling in torrents and the sky was veiled in a muddy mist that cast a gloom on the earth more terrifying than the darkness of night.

From the point where the tornado started in the attack on Compton Heights the wonderful and peculiar movements it took became apparent. While the body of the cloud was hanging over the residence district the tail, the destructive end, was creating havoc half a mile to the north in the factory district along the Missouri Pacific and Iron Mountain tracks. Just before reaching Grand avenue the storm got together again, dropped down toward the earth and made a charge on the hill it had been approaching.

Trees went down before it, houses were unroofed, walls were blown this way and that, and it appeared that the entire population of Compton Hill would be blown clear over the reservoir. But the tornado took another track. Instead of breaking itself against the side of the incline leading west from Grand avenue it took a sudden bound in the air, passed clear over Grand avenue and the Reservoir Park and continued on its way over the valley between Jefferson and Grand avenues toward the more densely populated part of the city.

Though the storm did not directly strike here, it had a few guerrilla clouds out that accomplished much in the way of destruction. These vagrant fighters against prop. erty and life skimmed along close to the earth, dodged around obstacles that were beyond their power to remove and tore and tugged at towers and roofs and trees. As they flew by, the main storm, mounting higher and higher, seemed to lose them, but they kept on, straight to the east. Meanwhile the tail was slowly swinging out to the north and the cloud flattened to a more pronounced degree.

 

BACK

 

top.gif (906 bytes)