A wind storm worth remembering – October 12, 1962

The 1962 storm brought hurricane-level winds to Washington. Photo courtesy of Washington State Archives
The 1962 storm brought hurricane-level winds to Washington.
Photo courtesy of Washington State Archives

One of Washington’s most severe windstorms hit 53 years ago today, yet more than 60 percent of our state’s population wasn’t born yet and won’t remember it.

The 1962 Columbus Day Storm was the strongest non-tropical windstorm ever to hit the lower 48 states in recorded history. In less than 12 hours, it claimed 46 lives (7 in Washington state) and injured hundreds more. A wind gust of 160 miles per hour was recorded in the Willapa Hills of southwestern Washington.

More than 11,000,000,000 board feet of timber was blown down in northern California, Oregon, and Washington combined. After an intense timber salvage effort, many unimproved backcountry roads were created and continue to be used by hunters, recreationist, and loggers today.

Take a moment to remember or learn about this storm and use it as motivation. Prepare your trees, ready your boats, and check out the Washington State Emergency Management Division’s “Windstorms in Washington State” publication for survival tips. It could prevent your boat from sinking, keep you from losing power, or even save your home.

If you need tree care from the storm this past weekend, remember to take DNR’s advice when looking for a tree service.

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