Columbus Day Storm of 1962 Would Cause More Damage Today

Oct 11, 2013

As It Was - Episode 2254

The Columbus Day Storm that struck the Pacific Northwest 51 years ago on Oct. 12, 1962, resulted in 46 deaths and $200,000 property damage in Oregon alone.  Described as an extra-tropical cyclone, its hurricane-force winds were the most powerful ever recorded in Oregon. Its effect in Southern Oregon and Northern California was striking, but no one died in the region.  The winds flattened more than 100 million board feet of timber in the Rogue River National Forest. In Medford, the winds gusted to 58 mph-- greater in the mountains.  Fallen trees, some more than five feet in diameter, blocked highways and stacked 25 feet high in the forests. Families with small children huddled inside homes and stared out shattered windows as huge trees snapped into the Rogue River.  The storm knocked out electrical power to whole communities, forcing people to cook in their fireplaces.  All of the plate glass windows inside one downtown Medford car dealership crashed to the floor when a customer reduced inside air pressure by opening a door. Weather experts say a storm of the same magnitude today would cause even more havoc due to population growth and expanded infrastructure since 1962.  Source: Fattig, Paul. "All Hell Broke Loose." Mail-Tribune 12 Oct. 2012 [Medford, Ore.],1 ed.: 5A. Print.