Page:History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century Volume 2.djvu/67

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CHAPTER III

THE greatest tornado that ever swept over Iowa was formed from a hail storm which was first seen on the prairies of Calhoun and Webster counties, on Sunday, June 3, 1860, at about half-past three o’clock. The day had been sultry with the exception of an occasional slight breeze. The wind continually shifted from one direction to another, and after blowing for a brief time, disappeared. As the day advanced the heat became more intense and not a breath of air was stirring. It was noticed that the cattle and horses in the pastures were uneasy and walked about throwing their heads into the air as though disturbed by some unusual apprehension, they would follow along the fences seeking a place to get out. The birds gathered in the groves and shade-trees about the houses. The dogs were seen snuffing the air as though someone or something unusual was approaching. I was living on a sightly prairie elevation from which could be seen groves at a great distance to the west and southwest. The air seemed unusually clear and the trees near Tipton, a distance of seventeen miles, were plainly visible, a thing that had very seldom been known. At about five o’clock, we noticed in the west just appearing above the horizon, banks of light-colored clouds in a long triangular line reaching from far in the north away to the south. Very slowly they arose and in half an hour we could see below them the darkest blue-black continuous cloud that I remember to have seen, reaching the whole distance from north to south. Soon a light haze of a bluish-green tint began to be visible in the atmosphere. At this time the air seemed to be most profoundly still and oppressive. The uneasiness of all domestic animals increased. Those