Archives: Columbus Day Storm of 1962

PORTLAND, Ore. -- More than five decades ago, a massive windstorm struck the Pacific Northwest, marking it in history books as the Columbus Day Storm of 1962.

The expected large-scale storm striking the region this weekend is bringing forth references to that storm and its impact. Some, especially in the Seattle region, say that this storm's damage could rival that weather event.

On Oct. 12, Tropical Storm Freda moved into the West Coast of Canada and Washington and Oregon. The storm became a cyclone as it moved over Astoria before starting to break up. The center headed slightly to the north, making landfall in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The recorded peak winds for Oregon Coast areas varied but some accounts had gusts at over 145 miles of hour, and a peak wind speed of 179 miles per hour. One report showed a 116-mph gust in downtown Portland.

The storm is still considered one of the deadliest weather events in the country, with 46 deaths directly attributed to it. The damage to Oregon, much of it to the timber industry, was estimated at more than $200 million in 1962. Locally, it caused major structural damage in the state, toppling trees, radio and television towers and other structures.




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