Friday, April 21, 2017

From the Files: A Strange Midday Darkness

The Reading Eagle, September 2, 1881

Port Jervis, Sept. 2 – There is a good deal of comment here over the unusual condition of the sky. The sun has been obscured all day, although no ordinary clouds have been visible. A haze prevails which is so dense that the mountains are obscured, and this forenoon a dense bank of haze moved eastward over the valley. There are no forest fires in the immediate vicinity, and there is no odor of smoke in the air. The atmosphere has been more or less hazy for a week. Nothing like the present dark condition is remembered. It is necessary to use gas in rooms not well lighted.

A note of interest: While the residents of Port Jervis note that there were no nearby forest fires and there was no noticeable smell of smoke, there were a number of them burning across Pennsylvania and New York at the time, which may account for the dark haze. The same edition of The Reading Eagle reports these fires and also the drought that was affecting the farmers in the region.

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