Past meterological events in York County: Hailstorm broke ‘fully 10,000 panes of glass’

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York (Pa.) Daily Record/Sunday News photographer Jason Plotkin went high, atop the West King Street parking garage, to get this view of this weekend’s Nor’easter. That’s the old Central School and York City Hall is at right. Also of interest: The York/Adams day that birthed memories of falling stars and silkworms and Dense ‘The Shrewsbury’ meteorite named after York County town where it was found and In 1889, ‘Bona Fide Earthquake’ rattled York County.

The great snow of 1772 that caused the near extermination of York County’s deer herd at the hands of greedy hunters was not the only unusual meterological event of years past.
Some of the events are well known:
The celebrated high water and ice jams of 1832 knocked out the first Columbia-Wrightsville bridge spanning the Susquehanna River. A windstorm – actually a cyclone – took out a successor bridge in 1896.
But less heralded acts of nature are found in the history books, specifically John Gibson’s “History of York County,” published in 1886.


Hailstorms. Windstorms. Flooding.
Those who attach apocalyptic significance to 21st-century events involving the weather and climate consider the:
– 1797 hailstorm that cost farmers half of their harvest. The stones were described as large as pullets eggs and took the lives of many fowls and birds. “It is supposed that in York and Bottstown (west of the Codorus Creek), fully 10,000 panes of glass were broken,” Gibson wrote.
– Hailstorm of 1821 destroyed most of the grain the York area. That event was marked by oppressive late-May heat near Hanover that caused violent thunder and lightning. Despite the heat, destructive hail hit within three miles of Hanover.
– Windstorm of 1830 was marked by the downing of a unknown species of wild ducks on a May flight to northern lakes. This windstorm occurred at night and citizens woke up the next morning to find these beautiful specimens of a “feathery tribe” on the ground.
– Flash flood on Beaver Creek in 1826, which marks part of York County’s western boundary with Adams. A localized summer cloudburst in the mountains of Warrington Township caught onlookers along Beaver Creek enjoying the sunshine 1 1/2 miles away by surprise. The rushing water took out several stream-based operation, including William Ross’ tannery.
Other meteorological phenomena of interest:
Ice upon ice pic tells chilly tale of York County’s 1996 blizzard.
Tropical Storm Agnes savaged York County with more than 15 inches of rain.
A list of traumatic, painful incidents that rocked York County.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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