xt7jh98zct60_3 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/mets.xml https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/2015ms086.dao.xml Bevins, Martha 0.05 Cubic Feet 55 items archival material 2015ms086 English University of Kentucky The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.  Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Martha Bevins letters to Tom McCarthy Radio broadcasting. Agriculture -- Kentucky. Birds Women air pilots. 1956 March 6 text 1956 March 6 2016 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/2015ms086/Box_ms_42/Folder_1/Item_3/1956_3_6_Bevins_Twister_p1.pdf 1956 March 6 1956 1956 March 6 section false xt7jh98zct60_3 xt7jh98zct60 I
Morning View Kentucky
6 March 1956
Hello Mr. McCarthy,
Knowing your interest in weather, I will try to put into words
the few seconds of shattering tumult when a small tornado passed
through my tree patch about 06:15 Saturday, 25 February.

. I had heard the tornado warnings on the six oclock news; but,
like most people, did not believe one could form or could
maintain destructive progress through these steep rsdges and

We were half right, in that this was not the great, tightly-wound
twister tracing a path of almost total destruction. Ours was
softer, less forceful, leaving spotty damage along its short,
erratic course. It seems to have bounced like a ball. The circular
motion, however, was quite evident both at the time of its
passing, and in the peculiarities of debris patterns.
Because it slammed directly into my trees, I am gratified that
it was not one of the monster ones. Before continuing, lest you
think me panicked by unusual gusts of wind or a vigorous storm,

' I might better qualify myself as an observer.
I am familiar with the fury of Northeasters. I have been bowled
off my feet and wedged in a lump at the base of a brick wall by
gusts estimated officially at 90 mph. They had to estimate -~
the anemometer had blown away. I watched while thouSands of
dollars worth of airplanes were shredded and rolled into balls
and piled into heaps by a line-squall on a Texas airport. I have
strangled with my head in a wet pillow slip in a Kansas dust storm.
I was on the Florida East coast during a one-bottle-blow. This
sounds like bragging but it isn't meant to be. Just explaining.
To set the stage for our Saturday twister. There was a thunder-
storm to the Northwest, about 15 miles away and following the
iregular path into the Cincinnati area. Another had passed to the
South and was vanishing to the Southeast. The rain was heavy, and
the wind somewhere around 35 mph with gusts that must have been
close to 60. The wind was almost directly from the South.
I was standing at the back door, with the outside flood-lights
on, watching the hurtling rain sheets and enjoying the roar of the
wind in the big oaks.
For no apparent reason, the wind faltered, becoming quite variable
and mild, flickering the rain curtains about uncertainly.

Now a noise I had never heard before —- a sound as of giant gears
running very fast and without oil. The degs, peacefully asleep '
through the preceding storminess, were suddenly crowding close
around me, their eyes wide and questioning. I rushed them to the
Southwest corner of the house, snatching up a coat as I went, in
case there should all at once be no house.
I don't know whether the gear sound stopped or whether it was
simply overwhelmed by a new sound that filled_all space -- a great
whining hiss as though all the air were going out of all the tires
in the world.
I stood where I could look out in all directions, well aware that I
should shut the venetian blinds against possible flying glass, but
too fascinated by what I was seeing to do it.
On every window on all sides of the house beat water, dead oak leaves,
and twigs. I was surprised at the leaves for there are none to the
South or West of the house. They had to have been swirled from back
in the tree patch to the North and East. Bits of leaf, I saw later,
were plastered on all sides of the house to the roof. EVerything
passing the windows and hitting them was going up, at about a 30
degree angle I would guess. Occasional larger things blew past,
blurrily visible as dark somethings when the light touched them.
I was dimly aware that the lixingrcom rug was puffed up an inch
or two from the floor in the middle. Once or twice the sheet of rain
and rubble drew out several feet from the windows, leaving nothing

' at all between, and it seemed that the glass would go too.
Then it was gone. How long it lasted I cannot say -- 15 seconds,
45 seconds, I do not know. It left almost no wind, Just heavy rain
pounding straight down.
I popped out the back door and was startled by the smell of the air.
It was as though there had been a giant short-circuit with much ‘
burning insulation, so somewhat like the gases in the vicinity of
a big industrial coke furnace. '
Dimly through the rain, I could see that a red oak 80 feet in height
had twisted off near the base and fallen in the direction of the
chicken house. Could not tell through the rain whether it had crushed
the building. Yanked on galoshes and dashed out With a flashlight.
Smashing into the crown of a 40 foot young white oak had deflected the
big red one so the chicken house escaped; but it had knifed through
the fences of the chicken yard and the duck yard next to it. The
tangled wire was cut an neatly as fence pliers could do it. One
brace post was Splinters. Beneath one huge branch I could see a dead
duck, another wobbled toward me but died before it reached my feet.
The others were uninjured, having been in the little duck house, Which,
though surrounded by shattered branches and rubble, was undamaged.
Wind gusts resumed from the Southwest, and rain had trickled down my
coat into my open galoshes so that each foot carried a puddle along
with it. I retreated to the house to await daylight. The phone was out,
but the electricity had escaped somehow.

-3- '
Daylight revealed the extent of the damage and the path of the
tornado, as well as the fact that it definitly had been one. It had
crossed out ridge road about half a mile away, setting four telephone
poles violently askew, but not touching the power lines directly
across the road. On the telephone side of the road, a barn seemed
to have been raised slightly then set back down at an angle. The
bottom puffed out a few feet to most of the foundation is now inside.
Another barn a few hundred feet nearer here was uninjured. Also,
a tree patch between the barn and my trees had only ordinary gust
damage. '
In the hedgerow on the far side of the pond—field several big trees
twisted off and fell uphill to the West. But the wooded hills across
the little valley to the North escaped.
In my tree patch, a white oak almost as large as the fallen red one
had broken about ten feet from the ground and fallen North across
two sides of the puppy-run fence. Toward the back a big beech had
wrenched free from its roots and spun down Eastward. Near the center
of the area a tall black oak had its crown branches twisted like
the foil at the top of one of those little Hershey chocolate pyramids.
Many things made it very evident that it had not been damage from
direct gusts. The tornado seems to have been climbing as it left the
tree patch toward the Northeast, for it only spun the tops off of
trees after passing the center. Things fell strangely. A ladder
leaning against a building sailed about 75 feet due West. A fifteen
foot slender wooden rod used for probing the innards of the cistern to
ascertain Water depth, had escaped its clips on the side of the
garage and landed 150 feet to the West, unbroken. I don’t know whether
it went over the house or around it.
Some branches, fortunately not large, went South and sat on the road.
Others fell in circles around their parent trees. Still others went
far in one direction or another without pattern -— some heavy ones
falling far from the tree, while lighter ones dropped almost straight
down. The tree patch is paved with branches and uprooted or snapped
smaller trees. At the Western edge is an extra young maple tree top. .
I have no idea where it came from. In the top of one tall oak is
a little log about 6 inches is diameter and nearly ten feet long. It
is perched at least 20 feet higher than the top of the tree from which
it broke.
Subsequent rain that morning scrubbed the West windows, but those on
the other three sides of the house were thickly coated with mud Which
had been sucked up along with the surface Water and pasted onto them.
It Was not until much later that I realized the big red oak about
75 feet dorthwest of the house and the white oak a similar distance
to the East had crashed down without my hearing them at all. The vast

-4 -
hissing had filled my ears to the exclusion of all else.
I have been trying to trace the path of the little twister across
our rough countryside. It is difficult due to the fact that there
had been considerable damage from the strong gusts. But some marks
are obvious. A big steel tank of rural gas sucked out fifty feet
from the West side of a house. One barn clearly Just blown over,
but another a mile aWay which had been picked up, turned half about
and slammed back down in splinters. Some trees in a row falling
one Way while those next to them spilled in other directions.
There are evidences of its path about 10 miles off to the Southwest
as it approached,-but I can find no indication of it to the East.
It is almost as though when it bounced out of my tree patch it did
not return to the surface again. Looking at the battered trees, I
could wish it had bounced before it got here.

' )3 X/rv‘w'