Weather Eye: Where were you when Columbus Day windstorm struck?



The government has a way with fooling with the calendar, as Monday was Columbus Day and Wednesday is as well. Observe one and celebrate the other? Anyway, Wednesday will be the 49th anniversary of the Columbus Day windstorm that ravaged the Pacific Northwest. Even though I was just a kid back then, I remember every moment as a vivid dream on that fateful Oct. 12, 1962.

Winds were clocked at 116 mph at the Morrison Bridge in Portland. Winds over 100 mph were noted here in Vancouver before wind gauges actually blew away or the power went out. We haven’t seen a windstorm like that since. The energy that developed this storm was remnants of old Typhoon Frieda.

There wasn’t much rain associated with the storm, just hours of relentless wind. I remember I had just saved up enough money for my first wind gauge which my dad installed a few weeks before upon our roof. Needless to say, it only went to 100 mph and the indicator needle was pegged at 100 mph. Then nothing. It had ripped off the roof and blew away. I always chuckle when telling this story and say that it probably ended up in Seattle.

I have told this to my children and now my grandchildren and maybe someday to my great-grandchildren. It is a Friday in October that will be with me forever.

Now for the September rainfall from your friends and neighbors. I recorded just 0.66 of an inch here in Salmon Creek; Murphy Dennis, near Clark County Rifles, 3.02 inches; Claudia Chiasson, Carson, 1.45 inches; Tyler Mode, Battle Ground, 0.88 of an inch; Judy Darke, Felida, 0.59 of an inch; Irv St. Germain, Prune Hill, 1.15 inches; Bob Starr, Cougar, 4.48 inches; Robin Ruzek, Lake Shore, 0.60 of an inch; Phil Delany, above Dole Valley, 4 inches; Barry Fitzthum, Amboy, 2.57 inches; Bud Maddux, Home Valley, 1.14 inches; Pete Conrad, near Tukes Mountain, 1.02 inches; Nancy Ellifrit, Mount Vista, 0.82 of an inch; Sandy Nesvick, east Vancouver, 1.32 inches; Larry Lebsack, Hazel Dell, 0.87 of an inch; Merle Moore, two miles west of Yacolt, 2.18 inches; Jim Knoll, Five Corners, 1.28 inches; Gary Collins, Brush Prairie, 1.78 inches; Tyler Mode, Minnehaha, 0.73 of an inch; and Ellen Smart, Ridgefield, 0.25 of an inch.

Enjoy your week, whatever you do!

Patrick Timm is a local weather specialist. His column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Reach him at