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As It Was: Waterspout Blows into Crescent City in 1925

Northern California’s Crescent City has had its share of turbulent wind and sea weather.  It doesn’t normally take the form of hurricanes or cyclones, but in April 1925, terrifying weather blew into town.  People first noticed a waterspout swirling out in the ocean, where waterspouts usually stay.

It didn’t take long for the churning vertical funnel to burst into the heart of the city as a cyclone, ripping up roof shingles, tearing the top story off the theater, and depositing it on railroad tracks several blocks away. 

The wind picked up a man walking in front of the theater and dropped him down the street, shaken but unharmed.  A witness that day, Ralph Hughes, recounted how he heard a sucking sound and looked up to see piles of lumber floating hundreds of feet above ground. 

When the cyclone finally blew itself out in the foothills, people were shaken but no one had been seriously injured.  Alvina Francis was treated for cuts from flying glass, another woman fainted when her roof blew off overhead, and a driver flew from an overturning car.

All lived to tell the tale of the twister that tore up the town.

Source: Hughes, Ralph L. Tales of Del Norte County. Crescent City CA, Del Norte County Historical Society, 1997, pp. 91-92.

Lynda Demsher has been editor of a small-town weekly newspaper, a radio reporter, a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for the Redding Record Searchlight, Redding California. She is a former teacher and contributed to various non-profit organizations in Redding in the realm of public relations, ads, marketing, grant writing and photography.