Saint Cloud Tornado Sketches

Nevertheless the cyclone is a matter for careful scientific investigation, and while the GLOBE professes to know nothing more about the causes and characteristics of this wayward and destructive sprite of the storm than has already been explained, still it is anxious to contribute all the information it can obtain and throw all the light that it can secure upon the interesting subject for the benefit of those students of science who are now investigating it.  For this purpose we subjoin the following illustrations of seven different appearances of the cyclone which devastated the cities of St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids on Wednesday, the 13th of April, 1886.  The sketches were kindly furnished to the GLOBE by a gentleman who was an eye-witness to the storm, and from a position on the top of the hill above Sauk Rapids observed its approach from the direction of St. Cloud.

Illustration No. 1 represents the fan like appearance of the cloud as it was first observed hanging above the earth in a southwesterly direction from St. Cloud.  Figure 2 represents it after it had gathered into the force of a cyclone and started on its way of destruction toward the fated cities.  It will be observed that it now presents the appearance of a balloon – the basket having been severed from the balloon proper and dropping to the earth, having the appearance of a great body of cool smoke settling down to the ground.  Figure 3 shows the shape of the storm demon as it swept down upon the city of St. Cloud, it now having assumed the real funnel shape and apparently lashing the earth in fury with its tail. 

Having completed its work of death and destruction in St. Cloud and passing on in the direction of the river bluff the storm cloud assumed a more orderly shape.  The lower part of the furious funnel-shaped monster ceased its whirling, lashing motion, and seemed to be preparing itself for the work of pumping the water from the river as it swept down its course.  Figure 4 gives a sketch of it as it passed in the vicinity of GOV. GILMAN’S residence.  But as it left the river and hurled its force against the town of Sauk Rapids the whirling motion of the lower part of the cloud developed with more intense fury than at other points that was observed.  A picture of the shape it assumed while reveling at the feast of death in its progress through the doomed little city is shown in Figure 5.

For a time the appetite of the destroying demon was satiated and again it gathered its garments about its feet in more orderly folds, as illustrated in Figure 6, which is a correct picture of the cloud as it passed over the hill from Sauk Rapids.  Figure 7 is the appearance it presented to the eye of the observer who has furnished these sketches to the GLOBE as the storm fiend disappeared in the distance in the direction of Rice’s station.

The Saint Paul Daily Globe
Tuesday Morning, May 18, 1886
Volume VIII, Number 138, Page 4

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