1889: Destructive tornado touches down in Reading, PA

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May of 1889 was particularly warm and humid across the eastern United States. The jet-stream that steers weather system had lifted far north into Canada and air from the steam Gulf of Mexico has surged northward into the void. By May 9th chilly weather has re-established itself across the mid-west and was heading eastward as the jet stream dipped southward to push the chilly weather along. As the cold front marking the leading edge of the change moved into the east on the afternoon of May10, 1889 a rash of violent thunderstorms erupted and brought extensive damage to a corridor in Pennsylvania through Williamsport, Shamokin, Pottsville, Reading, Pottstown, Philadelphia and to Atlantic City, New Jersey. A tornado cut a large swath through Berks County, including the city of Reading, which was the second twister to cut through the city that year. The damage was very extensive and at least of par with that of major midwestern tornadoes. Dozens narrowly escaped death. Visibility lowered to less than 10 feet at times in blinding, wind-driven rain. Temperatures reached the mid to upper 90's before the storm hit.

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