Pat Shingleton: "End of May Events"
On May 31, 1889, heavy rains brought the Little Conemaugh River in Pennsylvania to bank full. The force of the river blasted through the South Fork Dam and funneled a wall of water 40 feet high at 22 feet per second into Johnstown, killing 2,100 people, leveling trees, houses and buildings in its path. Venice, Italy, is called the world's most serene city. Because of flooding, ancient buildings are dissolving and in 2003 they launched "Project Moses." Three inlets to the lagoon that surround Venice are now fitted with sixty foot, hollow steel gates. The gates lie flat on the sea floor and when high tide threatens, the gates will rise on hinges and block the flood. Here's some "end of May" weather events. On May 28, 1989 lightning in Leesburg, FL caused minor injuries when it landed between the shoulder blades of a nine-year-old boy while sitting at his dining room table. That same date in 1953 found a 600 yard-wide tornado in Fort Rice, ND that damaged every building while jamming church pews four feet into the ground. On May 29, 1978, a man in Camden, AR, was shocked by a lightning while using the phone even though the bolt hit blocks away. In 1948, the city of Vanport, OR was the state's second largest city. On May 30th a railroad fill-dike gave way sending the swollen Columbia River into the city. In two hours, fifteen feet of water destroyed 10,000 homes. Finally, 115 mph thunderstorm winds snapped more than 200 utility poles in Ouachita Parish on May 27,1997. Many residents were trapped in their cars due to downed power lines.