ABOUT THE WEATHER!
our weather men
A 1978 newspaper article about Lloyd Vrtiska being awarded a 15-year pin gives a history of the weather station in Table Rock.
Table Rock 5N was established on January 1, 1878 by O. D. Howe, grandfather of Orville D. Howe of Tecumseh. The Howe family, including E. D. Howe, father of Orville Howe, kept the records until September 1961, when Orville Howe moved to Tecumseh, leaving the instruments in charge of Lloyd Vrtiska.
Thus, Orville Duane Howe (1831-1917) passed on the weather job to his son Edmund Dudley Howe (1862-1949), who passed it on to his son Orville David Howe (1901-1981), who passed it on to neighbor and close friend Lloyd Vrtiska (1926-2017).
1888 -- a terrible storm
& mysterious incident supposedly described
by pawnee city residents on their way home from table rock
A transcription posted on line of an article said to be from the September 21, 1888 Seneca, Kansas Courier-Tribune
1896 - A CYCLONE IN THE SOUTH OF THE COUNTY
1897 - lightning
hits the millinery store
of miss maggie sutton & miss elva layman
1899 -- once weather permits
gumbo to be burned again
Gumbo clay down between the Nemaha River & the depot once was once burned by the CB&Q to be used for ballast under the rails.
1901 - lightning
lewis schurr's house hit
john hilbert's cow killed
1905 - lightning
kills silas bowen
The July 6, 1905 Table Rock Argus carried a more detailed story. As transcribed by Luella Hinrichsen:
KILLED BY LIGHTNING
Son Ralph (1887-1949), who had been helping, was 18 at the time.
The report of insurance money was a standard part of such stories in those days. The A.O.U.W. - Ancient Order of United Workmen - was a fraternal benefit society for working men, originally formed by railroad men after the Civil War.
Silas Bowen was not related to Stanley Bowen (1897-1960), who came to Table Rock & in 1921 married Cecil Heer; their three children -- Boyd, John, & Shirley -- and their descendants are better known to us now, but Silas Bowen's extended family was present in earlier days, including his son Ralph, who was the proprietor of a billiard hall here for a while. Silas's wife, mary Effie Aylor Bowen, was left with children Ralph, then 18, and year-old twin girls Stella & Della to raise. In 1918, Mary, who had remarried, died in the influenza pandemic, when the girls were only 14.
1905 - lightning
& mrs. a. m. fuller
c. w. chambers of table rock remembers rain-making cars on the rock island back in "the 90s"
1916 - lightning
hits peter hales fine stack of straw
1918 - lightning insurance available
1936 - february weather
an amusing essay by charlie harlow
1954 - weather report
1965 - end of the year weather report
by lloyd vrtiska
1978 - weather pin for lloyd vrtiska
516.56 inches of rain had fallen during his reign thus far
In 2020, Larry Layden, a brother-in-law of Lloyd's, remembers talking with Lloyd, who always loved the weather :
The rain guage flared out at the top, kind of like a funnel. This distorted the amount of rain entering the tube but was taken into account when the measurement marks were engraved on the collecting tube.