New York Times. April 29, 1886. Houses Damaged, Orchards Destroyed, and Cattle Killed. Rockdale, Texas, April 28. -- The most destructive rain and hail storm ever known in this section of Milam County visited Rockdale and vicinity yesterday afternoon. About half an hour before the storm burst upon the town the sky became almost black. The deluge of water led many to suppose a waterspout had burst. The roofs of many houses offered only partial protection against the downpour, as the water pounded through nearly every flat roof in the town. Following the deluge came a phenomenal hailstorm, which destroyed every sign of vegetation for miles around. The orchards were literally stripped of all small twigs and limbs, and many trees were barked and killed. Thousands of the hailstones were an inch in diameter. They tore through roofs, puncturing even the tin roofs and breaking the window shutters. Scarcely a single window pane on the west side escaped destruction. Following the rain and hail came a severe gale. The damage to dwelling houses and orchards within the immediate vicinity of Rockdale will exceed $15,000. The storm moved eastward, devastating fields and orchards in its path. No loss of human life is reported, but a large number of cattle was killed.