USGenWeb - The First Seventy-five Years in the Sanborn Community (1878-1953) - IAGenWeb

A Few of the Bigger Storms Experienced

This vicinity had their share of storms and hardships which accompanied them. Nearly every winter snow blocked roads for awhile. Especially deep snows came in the winters of the early 1880's. On December 29, 1882, a copy of the Sanborn Pioneer was printed on pieces of calico as the supply of newsprint did not arrive when trains could not get through.
The blizzard of 1888 is remembered best as there were more fatalities. The storm came suddenly January 12, 1888, without warning and the temperature dropped rapidly to about 20 below zero. One fatality was Calvin Hurd, a young boy who was caught on his way home from school and was frozen. The Beacom family whose home was on section 14, Floyd township, told that the day was so clear they could see Calvin riding along the county line road four miles west of their place, but soon after the storm was raging and he did not reach his home. Many others lost their lives over the county.
The most disastrous storm to strike town was the tornado on June 5, 1914. This started south of the depot, swept north along Main street then to the northeast wrecking and damaging business places and homes, tearing up trees and then into the country a ways, doing damage to some farm places.
Business places wrecked included Alex Ameling garage, Huntting Elevator, Reliance Elevator, Crandall Hardware store, which had the J.D. Long photograph studio and living quarters above it, the postoffice. Roofs were blown off, plate glass windows broken by suction and other damage to the bank, the movie house next to the bank, Fovals Drug Store, Pioneer office, Dr. Horton office, Miss Struck’s millinery shop, Hill & Elliott, harness shop, Consumers Lumber Co., livery stable.
Residences listed: M.W. Cuppett house and Chas. Glaziers home demolished, G.A. Healey, W.C. Wheaton, A.R. West, Boyd Flint, Ernest Johnson, Chas. Barber, Al Moses, P. Velie, W.P. Luke, H.A. Underhill, Jas. Dow, J.H. Daley, Mrs. Bert Heinsen, W.R. Powers.
P.J. Dougherty lost his life, his body found on the corner of Main and Third street in the ditch and Bernard Damstra was killed when the barn collapsed at the farm now the Ed Donkersloot home.
Farm buildings on the Bert Watson place, J.W. Fink and Ross Fink places nearby also the Ed Dagel and D.M. Norton farms were wrecked. The Ross Fink family were caught without warning and badly injured. All the buildings on their place were blown to pieces and scattered.
The city water tower in the park was wrecked and telephone and electric wires down. These lines which were on Main street were replaced in the alleys so there were no poles on Main street after that.
The year 1936 was exceptional for the amount of snow which fell and the continued cold. The first big blizzard was on February 8, 1936, although some snow had fallen before. Sixteen and one-half inches fell in January and 32 ˝ in February. Beginning January 18 there were 35 consecutive days of zero weather, 5 days, January 23 to 27, it was below zero night and day. For 42 days after January 11 the temperature was below freezing. Autos were left in garages and necessary traveling was done in bobsleds or on foot. Farmers walked to town on top of hard packed snow for groceries and mail.
The largest snowfall recorded here was in 1945 when snow began falling Friday night, December 21, and continued through Christmas day. A total of 26 ˝ inches fell and 20 inches of this was in one 24-hour period from 7:00 o’clock Monday evening until Christmas evening.
A tornado July 10, 1940, wrecked large barns on the Fred Britton and Harry Porth farms, damaged buildings on the Chas. Frohwein, Kenneth Tifft, Harm Harberts, Howard Dean farms and did damage on other places, tore up trees, broke windows and took down many telephone and electric wires.
On Armistice Day, November 11, 1940, a freak storm started following a period of mild weather. A wet snow continued getting colder with a hard wind. Much farm livestock was caught out in fields and drifted ahead of the wind. Hogs, chickens and some cattle were frozen also wild game. Soft snow filled their nostrils and mouth and froze, smothering them. Many trees were also killed, the reason, we were told, they were caught with sap in the trunk and branches.

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