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51st anniversary of Columbus Day Storm

October 11, 2013

Saturday marks the 51st anniversary of the “Big Blow,” the 1962 Columbus Day Storm which caused extensive damage and loss of life in the Pacific Northwest.

51 years ago, Grays Harbor and the entire West Coast, saw a storm unlike any other.

Meteorologist Ted said that the storm brought winds of over 150 mph along the Washington coast, and well over 100 mph inland, although we do not know what the strongest winds actually were, since either the power went out early or wind instruments were destroyed during the storm.

The storm claimed 46 lives, injured hundreds more, destroyed several thousand buildings and structures, knocked power out for millions of customers, and blew down over 15 billion board feet of timber from the coast to as far inland as western Montana.

The Columbus Day Storm is the wind storm that all other wind storms are compared. The 2007 Storm had wind and rain for 24 hours straight, knocking down power for 11 days to parts of the county, but in 1962, the devastation happened in a matter of hours.

Even with help coming from other parts of the country, it took several weeks to restore power and phone service. Property damage was determined to be about $235 million dollars which translates to around $1.7 billion dollars today.

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