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leans. These storm-signals are also posted
in all the ports of the Great Lakes, which
are noted for the fury and suddenness of
their storms. Formerly seventy-five per
cent, of the loss in shipping on the Great
Lakes was wrought by storms, whereas
now, owing to the efficiency of the storm-
warnings, less than twenty-five per cent, of
our annual loss can be attributed to the
work of storms. Forty-five minutes after the
dictation of a storm- warning by Chief M oore
at Washington, the warning is placed in the
hands of every sea-captain in every lake
and ocean port of the United States.

THE RECORDS — A MURDERER DISCOVERED

The records of the heat of summer and
of the cold of winter kept by the Weather
Bureau serve a useful purpose. Builders of
giant steel bridges or steel sky-scrapers
consult them to see how much they must
allow for the expansion and contraction
of the steel used. Lawyers consult them
to establish or to break down a witness's
testimony. Not long ago a man was on



trial in Illinois, accused of murdering an
aged woman. He was unable to prove an
alibi, and it looked as if he would be con-
victed. The principal evidence against him
was that of a laborer who, on the day of
the murder, had been digging a ditch op-
posite the house where the murder was
committed. The laborer stated that he had
climbed out of his ditch about eleven to
take a drink from his bucket ; he remem-
bered the exact hour because he had looked
at his watch at the same time to see how
near it was to dinner-time. Glancing across
the street, he was horrified to see, through
the open window, the prisoner striking the
woman. Before he could get to the house
the assassin had fled, but his identification
had led to the arrest and was now threat-
ening to hang the man.

The evidence was straightforward and
seemed conclusive. The prisoner's lawyer,
however, shrewdly consulted the records of
temperature kept by the weather-station,
and found that on the day of the murder
there had been a cold spell of such severity
that if the bucket of water had remained out



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OUR HERALDS OF STORM AND FLOOD



167



all the morning, as it did according to the
witness's story, the water would have been a
solid chunk of ice by eleven o'clock. This
discovery led to the acquittal of the prisoner
and subsequently to the arrest of the ditch-
digger, who, it developed, was the real
criminal.

CROP BULLETINS, BALLOON
RECORDS, ETC.

The Weather Bureau is doing much work

that there is not space to describe. It issues

weekly crop bulletins, summarized from the

reports of many thousand

<

1



Mr. C. F. Marvin of the bureau, is attached
to a small rubber balloon and set loose.
The balloon shoots up four or five miles,
getting larger and larger as the pressure of
air diminishes, until it finally bursts. The
fall immediately opens a parachute, upon
which the instrument floats down very
slowly, recording the character of the air
as it descends. The plan is to liberate sev-
eral hundred of these balloons simultane-
ously in different parts of the country. As
a reward is offered for their return, and as
they make very conspicuous objects in the
sky, the Weather Bureau



From photu^rapbt

A TYPICAL SIGNAL-TOWER OF THE UNITED STATES WEATHER BUREAU. 2 NEW YORK'
WEATHER BUREAU STATION ON THE ROOF OF THE AMERICAN SURETY BUILDING.
3. RESEARCH OBSERVATORY ON MOUNT WEATHER, VIRGINIA. 4- MAIN BUILD-
ING OF THE UNITED STATES WEATHER BUREAU AT WASHINGTON, D. C.



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168



THE CENTURY MAGAZINE



are continually humbugging credulous
people.

Professor Willis L. Moore, chief of the
United States Weather Bureau, entered the
service in 1877. He began at the bottom.
By hard work, study, and natural ability
he won steady promotion, and in 1895
was appointed head of the service by
President Cleveland.

We are more interested in, or at least
we talk more about, the daily weather — the
health of the earth, it might be called — than
of any other subject. " It 's rather windy
to-day, is n't it ?" is the salutation of one
gracious lady to another at the afternoon
tea. " A fine morning/' shouts one team-
ster to his fellow. The weather plays a
most important part in our feelings and
is very often the key of our high spirits or
of our deep depression. All of us recog-
nize this influence of the weather, and this



/



is probably the reason
why every one, of high
or low degree, be he sav-
age or civilized, passes
a remark about the day
to whomever he greets.
But though the wea-
ther is the most general
subject of conversation
every day in the year, though we hear more
remarks about this topic daily than about
any other, most of us are absolutely ignorant
of this great, mysterious, fascinating force.

EVERY MAN HIS OWN WEATHER-PROPHET

The Weather Bureau is educating the peo-
ple to a better comprehension of the wea-
ther. It puts forth scientific treatises, of
course, but it goes further, and publishes
popularly written accounts and interpreta-
tions of the weather phe-
nomena. These it distrib-
utes widely, as far as its
appropriation will permit.
One of the most valuable
is
iie
iie
It,
re
re



Drawu by Jay Hambidge. Half-tone plate engrared by R. C. Collins
THE FALL OF A WEATHER-BALLOON



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OUR HERALDS OF STORM AND FLOOD



169



their brows» who are carrying umbrel-
las. By reading the conditions, the move-
ments on the map, we can tell for our-
selves when our turn to shiver or swelter
will come.^

The weather-map is an instantaneous
photograph of the weather of the three



This map or photograph is the basis of
all of the forecasts and of all of the work
of the Weather Bureau, and knows no
Sunday and no holiday. Washington is
the central station from which all the prin-
cipal forecasts are sent out. From six
substations,— Chicago, Boston, New Or-




A TYPICAL WEATHER-MAP

The solid lines are isobars ; the broken lines are isotherms. The shaded portion of the map indicates the area over
which precipitation has occurred durinj( the twelve hours preceding 8 a.m., 75th-meridian time.
The arrows point in the direction the wind is blowing.



million square miles of our United States.
This photograph is taken every morning
at 8 A.M. (75th-meridian time) and every
evening at 8 p.m. Precisely on the hour
an observer at every one of the two hun-
dred stations scattered over oiu- States
makes his barometric, thermometric, wind,
rain, and other observations, and prepares
his report for his section. By half-past
eight all these reports are speeding to
Washington, with right of way over all tele-
graphic business. The experts at Wash-
ington, on receiving them, at once develop
the photograph.

1 The United States Weather Bareaa has re-
cently published an interesting little book entitled
"Weather Folklore and Local Weather Signs,"
by Professor E. B. Garriott, which in simple lan-
guage gives much information about the weather



leans, Denver, San Francisco, and Portland,
Oregon,— local forecasts are issued. The
forecasts, made for thirty-six or forty-
eight hours, are sent to all the daily pa-
pers, morning and afternoon, and are pub-
lished in every one of our twenty-five
hundred daily newspapers. They are also
telegraphed to more than two thousand
principal distributing-points, whence they
are again telegraphed or telephoned or sent
on postal cards to thousands of business ex-
changes, post-offices, public libraries, etc.,
where they are posted in prominent places.
In the Middle West, from Ohio to Ne-

and the means by which the public may forecast the
weather. It contains alNO a collection of weather
proverbs. The book may be obtained from the
Weather Bureau (Washington, D. C.) for thirty-
five cents.



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From a photograph by Professor Alfred J. Henry

CIRRUS CLOUDS MERGING INTO CIRRO-STRATUS

This is a transitional furm often seen when rain or snow is approaching. The cloud layer gradually
thickens until the sky is obscured.



hrooi a pnoto^rapn i>y rruiessur Aiirea j. iicnry

BROKEN CUMULUS CLOUDS
These arc signals of unstable atmospheric conditions.



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From a pboto|;rapb by Professor Alfred J. Henry

CIRRO-CUMULUS CLOUDS
These are typical fair-weather clouds, and are usually seen at an elevation of four or five miles.



From a photoi^rapn by I'rolessor Alirca j. iicury

CIRRUS, THE HIGHEST-FLYING CLOUD

Qouds of this nature float at an elevation of from four to ten miles. When they look like plumes with frayed
and torn edges, increased cloudiness and rain or snow may be expected.



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Ituiii a phi>tt»i;raph by I'rufes&ur Alexander McAdie

OCEAN BOG POURINCJ IN OVER THE HILLS UPON SAN FRANCISCO



braska, six hundred thousand farmers ob-
tain the morning weather-forecast by tele-
phone thirty minutes after it is issued.
The experiment of sending the forecasts
to farmers by rural delivery has been suc-
cessfully begun. Already more than one
hundred thousand farmers daily receive
the weather-reports in this way in less than
six hours after the forecast is issued.

By studying the daily weather-maps dis-
tributed by the Weather Bureau, any one
can learn a great deal about the weather,



and in a short while can become a fairly
good weather-prophet. Take the accom-
panying weather-map as an example. The
storm represented on this map was one of
the most remarkable that ever swept across
the United States. It was bom and nursed
in the mid- Pacific until it grew to immense
proportion. Thence it dashed upon our
Western coast, almost simultaneously strik-
ing California, Oregon, and Washington.
It swept over the Rocky Mountains as if
they were a five-foot fence, dashed over



From a photoif raph by Professor Alexander McAdie
SEA FOG LIFTING AND CHANGING TO CLOUDS. SAN FRANCISCO BAY



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From a phuti^raph by I'rufessor Ale\anil«rr McAdie

A SEA OF FOG OVER SAN FRANCISCO

Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kan- flung across the room,' or like the top which

sas, Oklahoma, Missoiui, Illinois, and Wis- the small boy shoots spinning across the

consin, and finally disappeared in the Great sidewalk ; in fact, the storm is a gigantic

Lakes four days after its entrance. A top about a thousand miles in diameter

storm hke this revolves all the time it is and several miles high,

advancing. It moves like a spinning plate This map illustrates perfectly the differ-

1 The cyclone revolves in a direction opposite to the hands of a watch.



From a photograph by E. B. Calvert
«THE SUN DRAWING WATER"



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174



THE CENTURY MAGAZINE



cold ; as it comes into warmer latitudes, it
grows warmer and is able to absorb the
moisture in the air, so that we have clear-
ing weather.

Such a cyclone may be generated by
the clashing of two antagonistic currents
of air, one current coming perhaps from
the south and the other from the north.
As the two currents wrestle, they are caught
by the never-ending stream of atmosphere,
which is moving easterly miles above our
heads, and are swept across the continent
as an eddy is borne along on a river. The
Weather Bureau is learning a great deal
about these important upper-air currents
by studying the diflerent types of clouds,



Fruin aphutot^raph by Frank Woodiiiancy

AN OAK-TREE SHATTERE'd
BY LIGHTNING



ent kinds of weather
that such a great cy-
clone will bring. As
the storm advances,
it brings a deluge of
rain or snow, but it re-
stores the sunshine be-
fore it disappears. The
reason is as follows : the
wind in the front half of
the cyclone is from the
south, and as this warm
wind comes into colder



r



From a photograph

LIGHTNING-FLASHES



latitudes, it cools, and the moisture in it
is condensed, so that we have rain- and
snow-storms. The wind in the rear half of
the cyclone is from the north, and is thus



From a photograph by T. V. Chamberlain

A WATERSPOUT, COTTAGE CITY,
MASSACHUSETTS



and by noting their altitude and rapidity
of motion.

" STORM-SIGNALS OF THE SKY "

It has been well said that " clouds are the
storm-signals of the sky." The amateur,
by watching the clouds scudding or drifting
miles above, can very often make a pretty
sure guess of the coming day. The pic-
tures accompanying this article illustrate
the principal kinds of clouds and their
significance. They are very remarkable
cloud photographs, and were taken by Al-
fred J. Henry, Professor of Meteorology
of the United States Weather Bureau, and
one of the most successful forecasters in



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OUR HERALDS OF STORM AND FLOOD



175



the government service, and by E. B. Cal-
vert, the chief photographer of the Wea-
ther Bureau.

The "highs" and "lows" marked on
the weather-map are the life of the weather.
A " high " is an area where the air presses
with such weight on the barometer that
the mercury column stands high, while a
"low" is an area where the pressure of
the air is light, so that the mercury column
falls low. The expert who makes the
weather-map connects all points of equal
pressure, just as the draftsman of a topo-
graphical map connects all points of equal
height. 'Ilie isobars of the weather-map
correspond to the contour-lines of the or-
dinary map. " Highs "
and " lows " are thus aptly
called the mountains and
valleys of the weather-
map. As air seeks its
level just as water does,
the air from the " high "
is always flowing to fill up
the "low." The would-
be weather-prophet, as
he consults his daily
weather-map, should re-
member that the " lows "
as they advance from the
west bring warmer wea-
ther and sometimes rain
or snow, while the " highs"
following in their tracks



bring cooler and probably fair weather. So
long as the center of the predominating
"high" is north of the prophet's latitude,
the weather will be cool ; but as long as
the " high " is south of his latitude, it will
be warm.

Just as a stone rolls downhill fastest
where the grade is steepest, so the wind is
swiftest where the difference in pressure,
the barometric gradient, is most marked.
Therefore, when the isobars are close
together on the map, we know that the
wind is rushing with greatest violence.
The smaller the diameter of a storm the
more violent do the winds become. A
cyclone is usually about 1000 miles in



I'ruiu a phuto>;ra|*h

THE JUMPING CHARACTERISTICS OF A TORNADO, LOUI.S

VILLE, KENTUCKY — THE BUILDING IN THE CENTER

OF THE BLOCK IS SHATTERED, WHILE THE AD-

JOINING BUILDINGS ARE BARELY TOUCHED



I- rum a |»h«»ti>^raph

BUILDINGS BURST OPEN BV

THE EXPLOSIVE EFFECT OF A

TORNADO, LOUISVILLE, KKN-

TUCKV-THE WINDOWS AND

WALLS FLVIN(; OUTWARD

diameter. West Indian hur-
ricanes have a diameter
of from 100 to 500 miles,
while a tornado, against
which forests and brick walls
are helpless, is measured not
in miles but in feet, and is
from 100 to 1000 feet across.
The fury of a tornado is so
great that it drives straws
and chips into trees, buries
spades in tree-trunks, and
plucks the feathers off a
chicken. The center of the
tornado is a partial vacuum.



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From a photoi^raph by Dr. George H. Hale, director, and Mr. Hllerman, Yerlccs Observatory

THE GREAT SUN-SPOT OF OCTOBER, 1903

In the usual photograph of the sun, a sun-spot appears as a dark blotch on the bright sun-field. In taking this photograph.

Dr. Hale, by an ingenious use of the spectroscope, switched off all the rays except those due to hydrogen gas, and

then took the photograph with hydrogen rays only. As a result, the sun-spot appears very bright, which

supports the hypothesis that sun-spots are caused by great outbursts of hvdrogen from the interior of

the sun. Tne area shown in the picture is approximately one tenth of^the diameter of the sun.



Sometimes in its curious jumping motion
the tornado swoops down in such a way
that a house is caught exactly in this vac-
uum center; the house bursts open, the
windows and walls flying outward. The
pictures illustrate some of the freaks of
tornadoes.

THE BREATHING SOIL

Let us imagine that two men, carrying
equal loads, are to have a race, and one is
to pass through a " high *' area (with an
average barometric reading of 30 inches)
and the other through a "low " area (with
an average barometric reading of 29
inches). The man traversing the " high "
area will have to carry a load about half a
ton heavier than the man passing through
the "low" area, because the air pressing
upon him in the " high " is more than 1000
pounds heavier than the air pressing on
his rival in the "low" area. But the
" high" man, instead of being handicapped,



really has the advantage, and, everything
else being equal, should win the race. This
seems a strange statement, but the fact is
that the air of a " high," though heavy, feels
light. It is cold, crisp, and bracing. It
seems charged with electricity and imparts
a portion of its own energy to every animal
within reach. On the other hand, the air
of a " low," though light, feels heavy and
is apt to be most depressing, being muggy
and moisture-laden. The air in a "high"
is condensed and contains the elixir of life,
while the air in a " low " is thin, rarefied, and
partly emptied of its life-giving qualities.

"Highs" are always chasing "lows,"
for a "high". abhors a "low," just as na-
ture abhors a vacuum. But the energy of
a " high " is usually soon spent. It melts
under the rays of the sun.

The soil breathes like a human being :
a change of air in the soil is as essential
to its plant life as it is to human lungs.
When a "high" rests over the land, the



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OUR HERALDS OF STORM AND FLOOD



177



earth is filling its lungs with pure, sweet
air; while in a "low" it expels from its
breast the devitalized air which has passed
through its lungs.



STUDYING THE SUN

Not a single stomi has swept across the
United States or up or down its coast-line
within many years that has not been
heralded hours or days in advance by
the Weather Bureau. Nor has the service
allowed a cold wave or a flood to catch us
napping. But the Weather Bureau is am-
bitious to do more than this. It feels that
its present knowledge is too much like that
of a man who sees a wild engine tearing
down the track and telegraphs ahead for
everything to keep out of its way. It de-
sires to know why these great cyclonic
storms are conceived and the processes of
their conception. But before it can get
this knowledge, it must obtain a better
understanding of the sun, which is the
initiating cause of all movements of the
atmosphere affecting the weather.

The sun is the prime cause of every
change of weather. The sun determines
whether the earth shall be hot or cold, just
as our hand turns on or off the register.
Absence of sun's rays makes the North
Pole a continent of ice; plenty of sun's
rays makes the equator a furnace. The
sun's rays, by heating one land more than
another, cause winds,
hurricanes, and cy- p.
clones. The heat in J?:



the sun is so terrible that our iron ores,
gold, silver, copper, and diamonds, exist as
gases there. The rays of this heat travel at
the rate of 11,600,000 miles a minute and
reach us in eight minutes. Such speed is
inconceivable. The swiftest cannon-ball is
motionless compared with such rapidity of
motion. There are storms on the sun com-
pared with which our Galveston hiuri-
canes and Mont Pel^e eruptions are like
the breathing of an infant. Are the storms
periodic ? Do they follow some sequence,
some law ?

The sun is much brighter apd hotter at
certain periods than it is at others. Pro-
fessor S. P. Langley tells us that during
1904 there was a notable decrease- in the
amount of heat received from the sun.
The same report comes from Italy. Why
the sun has been stingy of late we do not
know; whether its generosity is periodic
or incidental is a riddle to us. If we did
understand its moods and their reaction
upon us, we could predict the weather for
a season in advance. Now, the sun is the
creator of all life, of all force and motion
on the earth except the tides. Every act of
it is so orderly and systematic that we must
believe that the processes going on within
it are also systematic ; that the changes we
think we see in it follow each other in
regular succession as our spring follows
winter, but probably at much longer inter-
vals. Solve the order of the changes on
the sun, and we can
predict the character
of the seasons.




From photojfraphs

FREAKS OF TORNADOES

A spade driven into a tree — Straws driven into trees — A splinter driven into a log.



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178



THE CENTURY MAGAZINE



Strange as it may seem, the sun has
rarely been studied in its relation to weather.
As a rule, astronomers have paid little atten-
tion to the weather, while meteorologists
know little about the sun.

Realizing that the further development
of our knowledge of storms and of weather
generally depends in large measure upon
a better understanding of the sun and its
relation to the meteorology of the earth,
Congress recently, on the recommendation
of Secretary Wilson, gave the Weather
Bureau a simi of money to found a meteo-
rological solar observatory. The constant
procession of storms that sweep across the
United States makes oiu- country a particu-
larly good place to study the relation of
sun and weather. The site chosen was an
unnamed peak in the Blue Ridge, sixty-
five miles from the national capital. The
weather chief christened the peak by the
fitting name of Mount Weather. Sub-



stantial buildings are being erected there,
equipped with telescopes, magnetic instru-
ments, bolometers, and every appliance
man's brain has yet devised to catch the
secrets of the sun, and here the meteorolo-
gists will study the sun and try to find out
how it governs our rain and sunshine.
Speculators in wheat and cotton may find
it to their profit to watch the observations
of the Mount Weather Observatory and
thus perhaps anticipate dollar wheat and
sixteen-cent or six-cent cotton months
ahead of the market.

Without question the plan of the Mount
Weather Observatory is the most important
ever imdertaken for the advancement of
meteorological science. The sim holds the
key to the weather. The Weather Bureau
will search for this key, and with it, we
hope, unlock the mysteries of cyclones, of
droughts, and of torrential floods, and thus
foretell the years of plenty and of famine.



A PUPIUS RECOLLECTIONS OF
^^ STONEWALL" JACKSON

BY THOMAS M. SEMMES



HE name of General T. J.
("Stonewall") Jackson is
so generally associated in
the minds of men with
I the deeds of a great strate-

gic leader of armies that
his life as a civilian has almost fallen
into oblivion.

In the summer of 1842 the cadetship at
the United States Military Academy at
West Point became vacant through the
refusal of the appointee to accept the posi-
tion, and it was suggested to Jackson that
he apply for it. He caught eagerly at the
idea, with the result that he obtained the
appointment and proceeded at once to
West Point, matriculating in July, 1842.
The following extract is taken from a



letter to the writer from General Dabney
H. Maury, a classmate of Jackson at West
Point :

About July lo, 1842, Birkett Fr>% George
Pickett, A. P. Hill, and myself were standing
under the stoop of the old South Barracks at
West Point, when the cadet sergeant in charge
of the newly arrived cadets came by, escorting
an awkward-looking young fellow to the quar-
ters assigned him.

The boy seemed older than he really was.
He was a sturdy fellow, clad in gray woolen
homespun garments, wore a broad-brimmed
wool hat, coarse, heavy shoes, and had a pair
of weather-stained saddle-bags over his shoul-
der. He tramped along by the sergeant's side
with an air so determined that I said : " That
fellow has come to stay."

Upon learning that the youth in question



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RECOLLECTIONS OF ** STONEWALL " JACKSON 179



was Cadet Jackson of Virginia, I felt drawn
toward him and sought him to endeavor to
be kindly and sociable, and to explain to him
what my experience had taught me was to be
exp>ected and encountered. It was all thrown
away. He looked at me with his leaden eyes,
and I left him with a doubt in my mind as
to whether he distrusted my motives or was
simply devoid of sense.



Online LibraryA. B. (Alfred Barton) RendleThe Century → online text (page 22 of 120)