July 17, 2014

Thriller Thursday - 1935 Tornado Hits Harrisonburg and Sicily Island

The following article appeared in the April 7, 1935 edition of the Monroe Morning World:


Lake Providence In Path Of Devastating Winds Last Night


Harrisonburg, Wisner And Sicily Island Areas Are Victims

At least nine persons suffered more or less serious injuries and serious property losses were entailed in a violent tornadic storm which swept through two areas of northeast Louisiana shortly after 6:30 o'clock Saturday night.  The storm passed over Monroe about 5 o'clock, marked by heavy black clouds and a slight rainfall.

Sicily Island reported three persons injured; Lake Providence three; Wisner two, and Harrisonburg one.  No fatalities occurred, though an unverified report said that three white men and two negroes had been killed in Lake Providence.

Two devastating storm cones fell from the skies almost simultaneously in northeast Louisiana, one at Lake Providence and the other near Sicily Island, about 75 miles south of Lake Providence. Residents in both sections reported the storms hit at 6:30 p.m.  High winds prevailed throughout northern Louisiana along the Mississippi border.

Several houses were blown down at Lake Providence and two members of the family of L. S. Cook, living three miles south of there, were reported injured when their home was demolished.  Wind, rain and hail raged in a destructive medley.  Many small buildings were blown down and the grandstand at the ball park was blown into a bordering highway.

The tornado that struck in the Sicily Island vicinity centered its fury on the Bondurant community, four miles east of Sicily Island, where three members of a family named Flowers were reported injured where the twister crumpled a number of residences and other buildings there.  The Frank Girault family and several visitors escaped death or serious injury by ducking into a potato "pump" house [tator punk house - D.E.B.] just before their home was splintered by the winds.

A freak of the storm was reported by Dr. R. U. Fairbanks of Sicily Island who said a huge waterspout shot into the air out of the Ouachita river as the storm was forming just before it tore onto the land, carving a strip 50 yards wide and a half mile long.  The storm traveled northeastward from Sicily Island, he said.

Roofs of a number of houses at Oak Grove were reported badly damaged by a hail and wind storm that struck there early last night.  No one was reported injured.

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