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Columbus Day Storm, October 12, 1962
NWS PQRon 5 October 2013
Transcript of Columbus Day Storm, October 12, 1962
video, articles, and more revealing the
destruction and devastation the
"storm of the century"
had brought to California, Oregon,
and Washington back in 1962. Experiencing the Storm
in 1962 Albany, OR Salem, OR "We watched the garage across the street until it got dark. The wind would lift it off the ground a couple of feet and set it back down. The next day the garage was gone." Portland, OR Credits: Wind Speeds Summary What to do... Damage Sadly, the storm claimed 46 lives,
injured hundreds more, and
knocked out power for several
million people. The Columbus Day Storm is considered the benchmark of all windstorms, against which all others are compared! The storm packed hurricane-force winds
causing $235 million in property damage
($1.7 billion by today's standards). It blew down over 15 billion
board feet of timber (valued at $750 million in 1962 dollars) from the west coast to as far inland as western Montana. gusts location Satellite imagery was in its infancy in 1962. However, Tiros-6 was able to capture images of the typhoon as seen in this picture. Typhoon Freda is in the foreground here, with Typhoon Emma seen towards the horizon. These images, however, were not readily available to forecasters at the time. Columbus Day ...during a windstorm Take quick action to
protect yourself and
help others! Turn off the stove if you're
cooking when the power goes
out...also turn off natural gas
appliances. If you are indoors...
move away from windows
or objects that could fall. Move to the lower floors in multi-story homes. If you are outdoors...move into a building and avoid downed power lines, utility poles, and trees. If you are driving, pull off the road and stop away from trees. If possible, walk to a safe building. Avoid overpasses, power lines, and other hazards. Listen to your radio for emergency instructions. In Conclusion The In early 1962, a typhoon developed over the West Pacific, moved north, and dissipated as it encountered the cold water south of Alaska's Aleutian Islands. Storm October 12, 1962 The Origin of the Columbus Day Storm Freda Emma On October 3, Tropical Storm Freda developed over the West Pacific, near Wake Island.
The storm intensified into a typhoon on October 4th. Sustained winds eventually peaked around 115 mph as the storm tracked to the north. Freda finally weakened to a tropical storm again on October 9th. Freda lost its tropical storm designation on the 10th as it reached colder waters south of the Aleutian Islands. Between October 10th and October 12th, the remnants of Freda were pulled into a deep trough of low pressure over the East Pacific. This trough had an unusually strong jet stream aloft, moving air down from the gulf of Alaska at close to 180 mph.
In addition to adding a considerable amount of energy to the system, it moved the remnants of Freda quickly to a position off the coast of California A Cyclogenic Bomb: The Columbus Day Storm intensified rapidly on the 12th, moving up the coast toward Vancouver Island, Canada. The remnants of Typhoon Freda, a favorable jet stream aloft, and a connection to more tropical moisture from near Hawaii, all combined to produce favorable conditions for rapid intensification of the storm.
The storm's estimated lowest central pressure, a commonly used measure of storm intensity, was estimated to reach 960 mb as it passed by, off the Oregon Coast. The Big Blow: The storm has gone by several names; Freda, The Columbus Day Storm, and The Big Blow. Whatever the name, it wreaked havoc from northern California to southern British Columbia.
Other major West Coast storms have had a central pressure as low or lower than the Columbus Day Storm, such as storms in 1981, and 1995. While the storm's central pressure was comparable to other major West Coast windstorms, a track close to the coast and parallel to it ensured that the Columbus Day Storm would stand out as the "storm of storms." Typhoon Freda weakened as it moved east and north in the Pacific over cooler waters, then continued traveling east toward central California. Freda veered north around a very cold air mass, gained momentum then slammed into the coast. Seattle Metropolitan Area 300 head of cattle were killed. 6,000 trees down in the city of Portland. Hurricane force winds blew across the region for
12 - 15 hours. The strongest winds were equivalent to
category 3 and category 4 hurricane force winds,
around 110 - 150 mph! Salem Airport - Statesman Journal Salem Capitol - Statesman Journal Salem - Photo taken by Ben Maxwell Bellevue, WA - USA Today Seattle Municipal Archives Seattle, WA NOAA Western Washington Portland Park - Battlefield Pittock Mansion in Portland, OR Broadacres, OR Elsinore Theater in Salem, OR Forecasting 1960s in the A series of hand analyzed surface maps from October 12-13, 1962. Compared to the tools available today for
forecasting the weather, what was available to a meteorologist in 1962 was downright primitive. Forecasters relied heavily on weather observations, and extrapolating that information into the future. Even though some of the primitive models of the atmosphere were available, by today's standards, they were not very reliable and lacked detail. Radar data was not as detailed or widespread either, and satellite pictures were almost non-existent for use. The number of weather observations available was limited, and forecasters had to rely on random ship reports over the ocean. Still, forecasters made the best out of what was available. Hand plotted and analyzed maps were a staple for meteorologists. Weather instruments could measure and record temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and pressure. In addition to surface based weather observations, a network of balloons over land measured the weather above the Earth. By analyzing these fields, forecasters back in 1962 got a 3-D picture of the weather and its evolution over time. ...Reminiscing...
A TV meteorologist who forecast during the Columbus Day storm: - 179 mph
- 170 mph
- 160 mph
- 138 mph
- 127 mph
- 116 mph
- 113 mph
- 107 mph
- 100 mph
- 88 mph
- 68 mph
- 65 mph
- 63 mph Cape Blanco, OR -
Mt. Hebo, OR -
Naselle Ridge, WA -
Newport, OR -
Corvallis, OR -
Portland, OR -
Bellingham, WA -
Troutdale, OR -
Renton, WA -
McChord AFB, WA -
Red Bluff, CA -
Klamath Falls, OR -
San Francisco, CA - Typhoon Tracks West Pacific, 1962 Freda San Francisco Bay Area, CA …there were thousands of trees down in the area. Deer season was open and dozens, possibly hundreds of hunters were trapped by the fallen trees on the back roads…
U.S. Forest Service
Shasta National Forest Shasta National Forest Photo by Bob Gray Destroyed in 1962 by the Columbus Day Storm Black Butte Fire Lookout The warm, moist air left from the typhoon was entrained in a strong low pressure trough over the Eastern Pacific. The storm then intensified rapidly as it approached the west coast of the United States, and unloaded a wind storm for the record books. DATA....Surface
DATE....11 Oct 62
DATE....12 OCT 62
DATE....12 OCT 62
DATE....12 OCT 62
DATE....12 OCT 62
DATE....13 OCT 62
DATE....13 OCT 62
TIME.....0600Z Using your mouse,
zoom in and out to see images
or watch video up close South Willamette Valley
Eugene/Corvallis National Weather Service Portland, Oregon Photo Sources Eugene Register-Guard
Seattle Municipal Archives
Salem Online History
Marion County Historical Society Monmouth - Campbell Hall, Western Oregon University University of Oregon