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History: Nothing new about heavy rains

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The Bossier Banner issue of June 16, 1898 ran the following article about rain, thunder and lightning in the Benton area.

“Heavy rains fell at this place last Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  The rain on Saturday was accompanied by a slight hail, and the downpour of Sunday morning was unusually heavy for this season of the year.  The rain of Monday forenoon lasted about two hours, and was accompanied by frequent heavy peals of thunder and bursts of lightning.  A bolt struck a post-oak shade tree within twenty feet of the residence of the editor of The Banner.  [In 1898 the editor was W. H. Scanland.]  The tree was struck at the height of about ten feet from the ground, ripping off the bark in a zig-zag direction from the south to the southwest, being an area of one-fourth of the surface of the tree, which is about two feet in diameter.  The tree was split at the point of striking, the rift running in the same direction to the roots of the tree.  It is about half an inch wide and extends perhaps half way through the tree.  About ten feet from the ground is a hole an inch in diameter and an inch in depth, and near the base of the tree is a similar one, and the ground on the west side of the tree at the roots was torn into crevices.  The shock was terrifying and the blaze was almost blinding in effect.  There were two distinct reports and the tree was evidently struck by two bolts.  This upsets the theory, or rather common belief that lightning never strikes twice in the same place.”

“At about the same moment a post-oak tree about fifty feet south of the dwelling house of Mr. H. M. Bailey, about two blocks distant, was also struck by a thunder bolt.  The tree is two and a half feet in diameter, and was struck at a distance of ten feet from the ground, splitting it off from the shattered trunk, and stripping off the bark to the length of nearly 25 feet.  Fragments of limbs and pieces of bark were thrown upon the house and for some distance about the premises.”

“This place was visited by another heavy rain and thunder storm Tuesday evening, continuing throughout the night and yesterday.”

Severe weather has always been newsworthy, so visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center to explore the newspapers and books that report on long-ago weather in Bossier Parish.

Ann Middleton is Director of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center. She can be reached at (318) 746-7717 or by e-mail at amiddlet@state.lib.la.us