Franklin Fact Archive
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MONDAY AUGUST 28 - FIRST RECORDED LOCAL TORNADO?
Tornadoes have undoubtedly formed as long as there've been thunderstorms, but
there haven't always been observers to see the twisters. One of the first - if not
THE first -
observed and recorded tornado in this area occurred around this time in August way back in 1724.
That tornado apparently began somewhere near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. It then moved east,
closely paralleling the present-day Pennsylvania turnpike through what is now Montgomery
and Bucks counties. We have the following description from Philadelphia's American Weekly
Mercury, the first newspaper published south of Boston:
"About the hour of 12 ... there began a most terrible and surprizing Whirl-wind ... where it went
across the roades, it laid trees so thick that it is very difficult to travel".
It's obvious from the way the early settlers described tornadoes that they didn't quite
know what to make of them - in fact, the word "tornado" hadn't come into popular
use yet - as you saw from the quote, "whirlwind" was used instead.