The Columbus Day Storm 1962

Wife M’s aunt J used to talk about the “hurricane” that hit Oregon.  For example, there were a number of giant trees in the bottom of the lake where she lived, and she’d say they’d been blown down during the hurricane.  I was always told that hurricanes didn’t hit the Pacific Northwest, so thought she was losing her faculties (i.e. she was getting older), but then a few years ago I read about the exceptionally strong storm (bordering on a hurricane) that rolled along the coast in 1962. Today is the anniversary of that storm, when 80 MPH winds hit Seattle and 9 people were killed in the state of Washington.  

There have been a few very strong (scary) wind storms (not hurricanes) I remember in my life time. There was a strong one that hit Seattle in the fall of 1981 or 1982, when my parents took us down to Shilshole beach to experience the wind.  And there was the strong storm that hit Seattle on Inauguration Day 1993.  But the strongest of them all — the only one where I actually worried about our house and safety — was the December storm of 2006, when I thought our chimney was going to topple over.  I lay awake for a couple of hours in the night listening to it, wondering how houses could withstand that, until I could hear it finally start to abate around 1 or 2 AM.  The wind was literally howling that night, and sounded like a community of banshees.  What I remember most about that storm otherwise is the torrential rain the night before, when a poor woman drowned in her basement when a flashflood hit their house.  It was surreal, to drown in your basement in the heart of Seattle, and  I am sure her loved ones have never forgotten that, and I won’t either.

The Columbus Day Storm 1962

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