Tuesday, October 12th 2021, 4:57 am - On this day in weather history, a storm hit the British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest coast of the United States.
This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.
The Columbus Day Storm of 1962, or the Big Blow, was a Pacific Northwest windstorm that hit Canada and the United States on Friday, Oct. 12, 1962. The storm is the strongest (in terms of wind velocity) extratropical cyclone in the U.S. in the 20th century.
The Big Blow started as a tropical disturbance on Sept. 28. near the island of Eniwetok Atoll. Early on Oct. 3, the system turned into a tropical storm in the central Pacific Ocean.
On Oct, 4, the typhoon reached its peak with 185 km/h winds. The stormed weaken on Oct. 6 and continued to do so through Oct. 10.
The system redeveloped near Northern California, bringing record rainfall to the San Francisco Bay Area. The rain 1962 World Series games between the San Francisco Giants and the New York Yankees.
The storm continued and made landfall on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The cyclone dissipated by Oct. 17.
"Damage in Newberg, Oregon." Courtesy of Wikipedia
The Big Blow caused around 46 deaths, the most fatalities attributed to a weather event in the Pacific Northwest. Most people died from flash floods and mudslides.
In B.C., the storm brought winds as fast as 140 km/h. The Big Blow caused $80 million in damages. Over 3,000 trees were destroyed in Stanley Park. "Just general devastation everywhere you went. There were trees breaking off and flying across the roads. Wind was just blowing the rain horizontal and trees were weaving all over the place. You didn't know if you were going to get hit or not," said a Victoria residence. Five people died in B.C. as a result of the storm.
To learn more about The Columbus Day Storm of 1962, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."