by Brian Zylstra | October 12th, 2012
(Photos courtesy of Washington State Archives)
After more than two months of dry, sunny weather, we’re finally seeing the rain return to Washington. But 50 years ago today, Washington and the Pacific Northwest experienced far worse than rain.
It was on Oct. 12, 1962, that hurricane-level winds and rain lashed the Pacific Coast from northern California up to British Columbia in what was known as the Columbus Day Storm, considered to be the worst and deadliest storm on record in Washington.
How strong were the winds in this infamous storm? At Cape Blanco in Oregon, a 179 m.p.h. gust was reported. In the Willapa Hills of southwestern Washington, there was a 160 m.p.h. gust recorded.
These photos from the State Archives’ state Department of Transportation collection captured the incredible damage caused by the storm, also known as The Big Blow. And they are the second Archives treasure for October. The photo above captures the storm’s awesome damage, showing trees that toppled over a road in Western Washington. (The storm blew down more than 11 billion board feet of timber in northern California, Oregon and Washington.) The photo below features workers tending to a highway sign that was blown down.