Rediscovered: The Weather Channel c. 1888

Mostly in connection with the Texas writer Robert E. Howard, I’ve been in and out of the Lone Star State several times and got to deeply savor some of the storms. Tornadoes even hit a couple of towns over from where I stood.

I’ve never been in one of the big hailstorms, though rolling in with Rob Roehm from his home in the Mojave Desert we followed one in by a few hours and I saw something I’d never seen before: large mobile hail stone centers, driving around doing repairs.

Damn. I got the idea. I’d still like to see a Texas hailstorm — if I was huddled under a metal roof or at least a tree and not caught flatfooted in a car being torn apart on the road.

They had weather back in the days of cowboy Charlie Siringo, too, as Nathan Ward acknowledges in his recent book:

“The open beauty of the plains became terrifying in springtime lightning storms; feeling a charge in the air, those men who carried pistols might toss them out of fear, while on some nights, electricity would flash on cattle horns, brims of men’s hats, or tips of their horse’s ears before striking nearby. Hailstorms, too, were more violent on the plains, forcing cowboys to jump off and uncinch their saddles for cover from the pelting stones.”

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