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    This page contains unusual weather in the State of Ohio.

    For unusual weather elsewhere in the United States

    as well as around the world, see page 1.


    Unusual Tornado in Morgan County, Ohio

         A Deacon Beach witnessed quite an unusual tornado during the evening of June 19, 1823 in Morgan County, Ohio.  After an 8:00 p.m. thundershower, a very dark cloud remained overhead, and there was not a breath of air stirring for about an hour while there was an unusually great heat.  Then, about 9:30, a loud roar was heard, and a bright cloud which was like a "glowing oven" in color could be seen lower than the dark cloud overhead.  This bright cloud, which was funnel shaped according to another witness by the name of Judge Griswold, sped toward Mr. Beach and lit up the scene brighter than a full moon would do.  The glowing tornado took the roof and chamber floor from Mr. Beach's log home along with a number of other articles.  No lightning flashes, thunder, rain or hail accompanied the tornado's passage - only a continuous lour roar.  However, the light from the glowing tornado funnel last for more than 15 minutes, and the Deacon was able to read his Bible by the tornado's light for 10 minutes after the storm's passage.  The other witness, Judge Griswold noted that a stream of fire appeared to issue from the funnel.


    Spring Drought & Cold of 1845

         Spring of 1845 was a rather dismal season for crops in the Buckeye State.  Frequent frosts killed most of the fruit in Jefferson County by the end of May except that which was located on the highest hilltops.  The corn which was up in that county was mostly dead due to drought, and the wheat and oat crops were not very promising.  Many wheat fields in Stark County, Ohio at the end of May were nearly as yellow as they would have been at harvest time due to lack of rain.  A number of farmers were plowing up their wheat and sowing buckwheat.  Corn in Stark County had been frozen off two or three times, some had been replanted, and even clover had been frozen.  The frost and drought had combined to make the grass look sickly, also.

         Evening of May 29 had seen a good rain ahead of a cold front, but clearing skies the night of the 30th brought a heavy frost.  Crop prospects were so bad that those farmers who had flour stored ready for market took it home instead.

         Frost and drought had severely damaged the wheat and corn crops in the Scioto Valley, as well, and fruit there was totally wiped out.  Indeed, the situation was similar throughout much of Ohio.

         Drought was prevalent in Missouri where some areas had received no significant rain for several months.  Seeds couldn�t even sprout due to the dry weather.  In parts of Indiana, frost had killed much of the wheat, especially in low areas but also on higher ground.  Farmers were plowing up their wheat fields there and were planting corn as numerous fields looked like stubble after harvest.  Fruit and vegetables had suffered severely, too.  Much of Illinois saw frost kill both corn and potatoes.      


    June Frost of 1859

         Friday evening, June 3, 1859 a sharp cold front passed across Ohio.  Saturday, June 4 was a cool day, and that night was clear and cold.  Sunday morning, June 5 brought a killing frost to much of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York.  As the sun rose that morning, the landscape looked as though it had been burned by fire - "as though a huge sheet of flame passed over and scorched to death all vegetation throughout hills and valleys alike."  Corn, potatoes, garden vegetables, and wheat were mostly frozen.  The only wheat which escaped was that protected by woods.  However, yields turned out to be better than was at first supposed. 

         Corn, some of which had reached a height of 10 inches, was immediately replanted, and there was a good crop.  Potatoes and other garden vegetables were also replanted and produced well.  Estimates were that about half the fruit was killed, however. This freeze was most severe in northern parts of Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania with southern sections seeing less damage.


    Mirage, Sunset and Moon dogs in 1884

         A resident of what is now Arvilla, North Dakota but was at the time Dakota Territory reported the following unusual events in a letter printed in the Holmes County Farmer of April 24, 1884: "Although mirages are common here, especially in the winter, some three weeks ago [probably sometime in February] one was seen rivaling any I had ever beheld.  It lasted from sunrise until noon.  In every direction there were constant changes, one minute objects seemed inverted, barns, houses, fences, cattle, and in fact everything visible on the ground appeared above us.  Again they would spread broader and further away, and again come quite near.  Objects far off were brought to sight.  Last night we had a very beautiful sunset.  Just as the sun disappeared below the horizon the western sky was a flame of red gold and from the sun came a far more brilliant flame; in fact, a broad ribbon of fire entirely distinct from the general color.  As night began to settle down, hues of green and blue appeared, producing something of an auroral effect.  The moon [two nights ago] was not quite half full and was about two hours from setting, and the heavens in that quarter were black with clouds.  From the moon, up and down was a ribbon of light, and on each side, at equal distances, were two more light sundogs."  


    Rain Drowns Birds

         After an early morning thundershower on August 17, 1898 during which 1.96 inches of rain fell in one hour, "bucketfuls of dead birds were found lining the pavements" at Van Wert, Van Wert County, Ohio.


    Ball Lightning

         At approximately 11:30 p.m. on August 3, 1899 a flash of lightning which divided into a n upside down Y some distance above the ground occurred southeast of Dupont in Putnam County.  Immediately below the point where the forked lightning divided, "a bright red ball descended, perpendicularly and slowly, until lost to sight.  A sharp explosion followed in about four seconds."


    Rare Display of Optical Phenomena

         On December 6, 1901, the observer at St. Ignatius College in Cleveland (Cuyahoga County) observed an extremely rare display of optical phenomena around the sun between 11 a.m. and noon.  The following were seen at this time: the halo of 22 degrees, fragments of the halo of 46 degrees, the parhelic circle, two sun dogs (one to the left and one to the right of the sun ) on the halo of 22 degrees, two sun dogs on the fragments of the halo of 46 degrees, the tangent arc to the halo of 46 degrees, the crossbars both vertically and horizontally through the sun to the halo of 22 degrees, and the Hevelian Halo (halo of 90 degrees) whose bottom ends appeared to rest on smoke and haze layers east and west of Cleveland.  This halo was white and appeared to pulsate.


    Black Rain

         Two observers, one at Bethel and the other at Laurel in Clermont County, reported a black rainfall on August 19, 1903.  The shower of rain on that date was full of a black sediment which made a black scum on grass and creek banks.  Sheep which drank the water from this shower were reportedly made sick.  The sediment may have come from the banks of the Ohio River as there had been a long dry spell.


    Lightning in Snowstorm

         In Unionville on the Lake/Ashtabula County line, a rather unusual flash of lightning occurred November 19, 1903.  This lightning flash came between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. and appeared to "emanate from the snow itself..."  Actually, there were two nearly simultaneous flashes, one of which was "stronger than the other, and they were of a purple and milky white color." A faint roll of thunder came after the lightning.


    Snow Rollers

         In a field near the Cadiz Branch Railroad tracks in Harrison County, Ohio passengers on the train noticed that the wind had rolled the soft snow across the field in various places making numerous snowballs during January of 1904.  Many of these snow rollers, as they are called, were "as large as pumpkins, and there were hundreds of them."


    Unusual Air Pressure Fluctuations

         Central and southwestern Ohio saw a rapid rise and fall in atmospheric pressure on February 1, 1915.  The barometer at Dayton (Montgomery County) fell .15 inch in approximately two hours and then within another hour rose back nearly to what it had been previously.  Columbus (Franklin County) saw a pressure fall and rise of .17 inch, all of which occurred in about 25 minutes that day.  Other areas of central and southwestern Ohio experienced similar atmospheric conditions.


    Unusual Cloud Formation

         Harry B. McConnell, weather observer at Cadiz, Harrison County Ohio, noted a peculiar cloud formation just before dark on October 13, 1916.  He observed that, "a band of white appeared stretching across the sky.  It formed a streak from the northern horizon to the southern, and was about a degree and a half in width, possibly a little wider in the middle portion.  The sky was clear at the time".  Stars could be seen shining through it.  It was thin and tenuous like a comet's tail, and some people imagined that they saw pulsations along its length.  It gradually disappeared below the horizon".  The wind was south at the ground surface.


    The Big Smoke

         As a low pressure area swept through the Great lakes area early on October 13, 1918, its counterclockwise winds brought smoke from forest fires in northern Minnesota down over the entire state of Ohio.  The smoke first appeared at Toledo (Lucas County) and Sandusky (Erie County) at 5:00 a.m. and reached Parkersburg, West Virginia by 4:00 p.m.  This smoke settled into the valleys, especially the Great Miami River Valley, and moved swiftly through these valleys southward, reaching Dayton (Montgomery County) in southwestern Ohio at about the same time as it reached Hiram (Portage County) in northeastern Ohio.  Through the smoke, the sun looked blood red and the sky reddish-brown.  So strong was the odor of burning wood that farmers in some areas believed there was a fire in their locality and organized search parties to find it.  In fact, the distance from the center of the fires to central Ohio was about 800 miles, and the winds carried the smoke that far in less than 24 hours.


    Grasshoppers in January?

         January of 1919 was extremely mild.  In fact it was so mild that "lively" grasshoppers were on exhibit at newspaper offices in the northern part of Ashland County, Ohio.

    Rain at 13 Degrees

         In Portage County, Ohio on January 20, 1920, the day began with the temperature at 2 degrees above zero.  By noon, the temperature had risen to 13 degrees, and a "brief shower of rain" then fell.  Temperatures continued to rise until the snow began to melt at 3:00 p.m.  Suddenly, beech trees there became covered with frost which disappeared in an hour.