"We had a frightful storm from the southwest"

December 8, 1703

Letter L-415 of 8 January 1704 to the Royal Society

On the 8th of December 1703 we had a frightful storm from the southwest, by which the water, mixed with small parts of chalk and stone, was dashed against the windows of the houses in such a way that the panes were darkened. The lower windows of my house, which have uncommonly clean panes and are cleaned very well, were not exposed to the air until about eight o'clock in the morning, though they face Northeast and consequently away from the wind and there is also a porch over them, so that they are protected from the rain.

Yet, before half an hour had elapsed, they were covered with so many water particles, and that by the whirlwinds, that they were deprived of most of their transparence. Since those water particles did not evaporate at all, I was firmly convinced that it was seawater that had not only been dashed by the storm from the sea against the windows, but also spread all over the country. ...

During the said storm, at about eight o'clock I looked at my barometer and saw that the mercury had never dropped to so low a level. But half an hour later the mercury was rising again, although the storm was no less (as it appeared to me), from which I concluded - and also said to those who were with me - that the storm would abate shortly, and so it happened.