September 20, 1845 – 275 Mile Tornado Track

On this date in 1845, a tornado traversed 275 miles from Lake Ontario to Lake Champlain – across the Adirondacks.

20 Nov 1845, Page 4 – The Vermont Union Whig at

Near my campsite by Lake Champlain where I spent last spring and early summer, looking across at the Adirondacks.

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18 Responses to September 20, 1845 – 275 Mile Tornado Track

  1. RAH says:

    Early in my driving career Schneider National sent me up to Plattsburg, NY to a paper mill to pick up a load of heavy paper rolls. It was February I believe but no matter it was the dead of winter. A load I will never forget. I arrived in darkness with temps around
    -20 F. The drop yard did not have adequate gravel and the landing gear of the heavily loaded trailer I was to hook to had sunk in mud about 4″ or more and were covered in hard frozen mud. I spent the better part of an hour with a 3 lb. hammer and my biggest screwdriver chipping away at the frozen mud that covered the feet/pads of the landing gear. If I had tried to back under that trailer without getting rid of that ice I was afraid that ice mud would tear off those feet.
    That night I slept in a rest area with my tractor idling and my trailer brakes released. Even back them I knew enough not to set trailer brakes for very long in those kind of conditions. That is something I have been sent out to deal with because new drivers with the company I’m at don’t learn that kind of thing and don’t have the mechanical aptitude to figure it out before they make that mistake.

    • Steve Case says:

      I haven’t seen -20°F in a long time. But then I haven’t seen temperatures over 95°F in while either. Climate in the United States east of the Rockies is definitely milder.

    • Gail Combs says:

      I can remember trying to ride my horse in -30F in Rochester NY area. I didn’t even bother to take his blanket off because it was too darn cold. Just hopped on ‘bareback’ and hoped my feet wouldn’t shatter when I tried to get off. He was stalled with no turnout and a thoroughbred in his prime so he HAD to be ridden every day or he was uncontrollable.

      About ten years later when in New Hampshire we saw it get down to -37F. I got my little VW diesel started by parking next to my apartment and dropping a couple cords out the window. One to plug in the block header and one to trickle charge the battery. The next morning I poured the 5 gallons of diesel I had sitting in my nice warm bathroom into the tank and she started right up. I then spent the next 1/2 hour jump starting my neighbor’s gas cars and collecting the winning on my bet I could get my VW started. 😄

      • Colorado Wellington says:

        So, that’s how you do it, eh? Chemistry, physics, common sense and getting ready? Who has time to do these things anymore?

        “Son, no matter how far you travel, or how smart you get, always remember this: Someday, somewhere, a guy is going to come to you and show you a nice brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is never broken, and this guy is going to offer to bet you that the jack of spades will jump out of this deck and squirt cider in your ear. But, son, do not bet him, for as sure as you do you are going to get an ear full of cider.”

        “Daddy! I got cider in my ear”.

    • Gail Combs says:

      I would expect you have seen quite a few tornadoes living in Indiana. I know I sure did!

      Interesting that this tornado actually ran through the mountains for that distance, although my closest encounter with a tornado was one that ran through the mountains in Alabama (1973?). It took out the trailer park on the other side of the ridge we were walking while looking for caves. A lightening bolt struck between another caver and I and knocked us both off our feet. You have never seen two people get off a mountain so fast! (I actually beat him back to the truck by several yards.)

      • Rah says:

        Only tornadoes that I’ve seen we’re in Kokomo Palm Sunday 1965 I think it was. Worst outbreak in the states history. Several others since then that I have been close to have been rain wrapped so I couldn’t actually see the funnel.

        • Gail Combs says:

          At school in Indiana (1968-72) we would watch the funnels form out of the cumulonimbus clouds, drop down to the ground for a few minutes or longer and then get sucked back up into the clouds. Happened every spring.

          • gator69 says:

            I’ve been under two as they formed, watched three from a distance, and was once chased by a water spout out on Biscayne Bay.

        • Andy DC says:

          The F-3 College Park, MD tornado that killed two sisters passed right by my window! I did not happen to look out at the right time, but others got good photos from my building. It hit on 9/24/01.

          It picked up a car containing the two sisters and flipped it over an 8 story dorm.

  2. Rah says:

    Delivered in Etna, PA and have to go into Pittsburgh in the morning for PU. Lots of construction and various bridges and tunnel closed may complicate this. You never know what you’ll run into in this old River City.

  3. Texas Sharp-shooter says:

    I think it was ’92 or 3 in Michigan, last winter I spent there. There was a week the high temp was 0°, the low an honest -35, no wind chill because it is always wind still when it gets that cold. Take a deep breath and your nostrils freeze shut.

    • Gail Combs says:

      I used to wear a scarf over my nose so taking a breath didn’t hurt so much. Of course the darn thing would freeze solid after a while.

      • gator69 says:

        December of 1989 in St Louis was one of my coldest memories. On the 22nd the high was -1F, and my uncle (from Florida) had to have his Caddilac towed to and kept in a heated garage to thaw out his diesel fuel. Once my uncle’s car was running again, he didn’t shut it off until he was back in Florida.

        • Gail Combs says:

          Diesel fuel gelling is definitely a hazard in cold weather as RAH would tell us. Northern fuel is ‘winterized’ by mixing with kerosene ( CFPP of -40 °C) “winter diesel” or “winterized diesel” additives added to prevent gelling — preferable for newer trucks.

          Biodiesel also gels in cold weather just like diesel but the exact temperature at which it will gel depends on what the oil or fat that was used to make it. Also it needs different additives to prevent gelling.

          There are a lot of choices in ‘mouse milk’ that can be added to your diesel fuel.
          4 Best Diesel Fuel Additives of 2017

          • gator69 says:

            My uncle traded in that caddy the following Spring, and bought a non-diesel Mercedes. A few years later he moved to Mexico where he spent most of his time in Merida, but he is now back to Tampa, he moved there about a month before Irma hit. His timing isn’t always spot on.

        • Rah says:

          We use fuel treatment during the coldest times. There are also options available on trucks to help keep fuel from gelling in the tanks or fuel system. Using fuel treatment, draining the water trap in the DAVCO Everytime one fuels, ensuring both fuel filters are in good shape, always parking the truck with full fuel tanks, and idling the truck when it gets really cold will generally be enough to avoid a problem.

  4. Rah says:

    Oh, at the terminal we plug our trucks in when we park them if temps are to get down into the 20’s or lower. During the winter when the roads are wet or slushy I over use the brakes to dry them out as I’m heading in.

  5. Rah says:

    Btw idling a truck doesn’t just keep it warm. It also constantly agitates the fuel in the tanks helping to prevent jelling.

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