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£500,000 damage; v Our cablegrams some few weeks ago mentioned- that a phenomenal hailstorm had taken place in Essex on Midsummer Day, doing terrible havoc to field crops and to garden produce. An ‘Essex County Standard’ of July 3, kindly placed at our disposal by Mr M. Wright, of South Dunedin, gives interesting particulars of the storm, the effects of which all along its track can only be compared with the devastation wrought by a swarm of locusts. Acre after acrcj of promising crops, which on (he morning of that fateful day were looking as healthy and vigorous and flourishing for an abundant harvest as any farmer could desire, were during the afternoon suddenly cut down and hopelessly beaten into mere pulp by the fury of the tempest. Hailatoues, graphically described by a farmer as “ compared only to overgrown radishes topped and tailed,” cannonaded the unprotected fields with merciless destructiveness, and from the west of the county to the east a long belt of country, comprising over 100 tquaro miles of fertile land, was “as the Garden of Eden’’before the storm, and after it “as a desolate Wilderness.” The hailstones are reported to have measured in some places as much as 6|iu in circumference, and such was the violence with which they were borne by the tornado which raged that not only were thousands of panes of glass broken, bat even corrugated iron roofing was pierced, while the wind hurled tiles, slates, and chimney pots far and wide.

The damage in the parish of Layer Marney, which has an area of nearly-2,000 acres, was considerable. At the Black Lion beerhouse the hailstones broke the windows with excessive violence, dashing fragments of glass across the rooms; at the Duke’s farmhouse, the property of Mr James Round, M.P., over sixty panes of glass were broken, and at Layer Marney Church 145 broken panes were counted. The crops in the adjoining districts were all more or less ruined.

Oje farmer was driven from his mind by the calamity. This was Mr Newcomb, of Kelvedon Hatch, near Brentwood, who was so upset by the ruin of his crops that his relatives, after sitting up with him for two nights, were obliged to remove him to the county asylum. The effects of the storm were extraordinary in many ways. Huge trees were blown down, dragging with their roots tous of sand and earth. Scotch firs, 18in in girth, were snapped off 3ft or 4ft from the ground. Game killed by the hailstones were found lying about the fields. In the village of Little Baddon over 200 fowls were killed. The appearance of the storm was that of a cloud of inky blackness, with a sorb of copper-colored tinge at its outfkirts. Although the lightning was almost incessant, the roar of wind and hail was so loud as to almost completely drown the noise of the thunder.

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AN ESSEX HAILSTORM., Issue 10452, 23 October 1897, Supplement

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AN ESSEX HAILSTORM. Issue 10452, 23 October 1897, Supplement

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