22 Mar 1929: Tornado Strikes Cabarrus County

22 Mar 2015

Trombes or whirlwinds … “scattering terror and desolation in their paths…” In: The Atmosphere, 1873. From the work of Camille Flammarion.

This time of year brings to mind the threat of tornadoes. Tornadoes are most common in the Central Plains and southeastern United States, and most North Carolina tornadoes occur in the southern portions of the Coastal Plain and Piedmont, including Cabarrus County. North Carolina tornadoes tend to move to the northeast along with their parent thunderstorm, but deviations and jumps are common. The typical tornado track in our state is a few hundred yards wide and a few miles long, although there is often a series of four or five tornadoes associated with a single thunderstorm, widening the path of destruction.

The headline for the Concord Daily Tribune on Saturday, March 23, 1929 proclaimed “Several Hurt as Tornado Strikes County.” On the previous day, Friday, March 22, a tornado had struck Cabarrus County, first touching down in Township 1, then heading northeast through Townships 11, 8, and 7. The storm brought torrential rains, marble-sized hailstones and great streaks of lightning. The area around Cold Springs Methodist Church suffered the most property damage. The church property sustained extensive damage with windows being broken, a hole torn in the roof and trees uprooted from the property.

A number of injuries were reported. The family of T. A. Honeycutt, who occupied a two-story frame dwelling on the farm of Paul Stallings, had three of its members injured when the tornado twisted their home to the ground. One member suffered bruises on the head and shoulders while Mr. Honeycutt’s wife suffered injury to her legs when she was trapped beneath the rubble of the house. The cabin belonging to Patsy Shankles was destroyed; she was picked up and thrown several yards. Fortunately, however, the injuries sustained by citizens of the county were not considered life threatening. Sadly, there was a death and others injured by the same storm elsewhere in the region.

The livestock of the county were also affected. On the farm of R. A. Barringer, cows and mules were trapped under timbers in a demolished barn. Neighbors came to Mr. Barringer’s aid and helped to free the trapped livestock. One cow had to be put down after suffering a broken leg. Ont the farm of J. F. Bost, chickens in a coop were blown away. The coop was later found eight hundred feet from its original resting place.

This storm was dubbed the worst storm in the county’s history with estimated damages of between $75,000 – $100,000.

Courtesy of Cabarrus County Public Library, Lore Local History Room and www.ncpedia 

For more information about tornado preparedness, see the National Weather Service website: www.nws.noaa.gov .