50th anniversary of deadly Columbus Day storm: A reminder about preparation

Columbus Day 1962 Storm
The winds of the Columbus Day Storm of 1962 caused widespread damage and 46 deaths. Photo: NOAA.gov

Weather events as large as the Columbus Day storm that hit the Pacific Northwest 50 years ago today may be infrequent but today’s anniversary is a good reminder to be prepared. Wind storms are part of living in Washington State.

During the Columbus Day storm of 1962, the Weather Service recorded sustained wind speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour at many locations along the West Coast. It began in northern California on Columbus Day, the morning of Oct. 12, 1962, and left a path of destruction as it quickly moved north along the Oregon and Washington coasts before dissipating in British Columbia that night. The storm killed 46 people, injured hundreds and interrupted power to several million households. Its hurricane-force winds blew down more than 15 billion board-feet of timber from the West Coast to as far inland as western Montana.

Tell us what you remember (or your parents told you) about the Columbus Day Storm–join the conversation on DNR’s Facebook page.

Here some helpful links to view as you go through your disaster preparation checklist and put together a post-disaster survival kit — something every household and individual should have.

Here some interesting meteorological facts about the storm collected by the Office of the State Climatologist, and an article from HistoryLink about the storm.

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