Bye-bye Joe low, see you in a week or so; remembering the 1962 Columbus Day storm

Joe is pretty dried out after dumping so much rain on AZ and NM, and will be spinning around northern Mexico before heading back out to sea off Baja to re-hydrate before coming back with another round of rain for AZ and Catalina in a week or so, maybe as much as 10 days before he gets back.

In the meantime, let us remember the Columbus Day storm, whose anniversary is coming up.  The remnant of Typhoon Freda (not Olga!),  infused the westerlies with extra energy,  to produce one of the greatest tempests of all time when it struck the West Coast and passed inland over the Willamette Valley on its way to Seattle.  It kept an extremely intense center having winds well over 100 mph, some estimates to over 150 mph;  in essence equivalent to a Category 4 or 5 hurricane passage sans the torrential rains.

Below,  the National Weather Service Remembers,  in a reminder that it can, and will, happen again.

Recently, the jet stream has swept up the remains of Typhoon Oho and that triggered a strong “extratropical” cyclone in the Pacific, though far from shore.   More tropical cyclones are forecast to form and be swept up by the westerlies in the next two weeks…..

NOUS46 KSEW 091729
PNSSEW

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SEATTLE WA
1030 AM PDT FRI OCT 9 2015

..COLUMBUS DAY STORM ANNIVERSARY IS MONDAY OCTOBER 12TH…

MONDAY OCTOBER 12TH IS THE 53RD ANNIVERSARY OF THE 1962 COLUMBUS DAY STORM…THE STRONGEST NON-TROPICAL WIND STORM EVER TO HIT THE LOWER 48 IN AMERICAN HISTORY. AS THE GRANDDADDY OF ALL WIND STORMS…ALL OTHER WIND STORMS ARE COMPARED TO IT.

THIS STORM WAS EXTRAORDINARY. WIND SPEEDS EXCEEDED 150 MPH ALONG THE OREGON AND WASHINGTON COASTS AND TOPPED 100 MPH IN THE WESTERN INTERIOR VALLEYS FROM EUGENE TO BELLINGHAM. SINCE EITHER MANY WIND INSTRUMENTS LOST POWER OR WERE DESTROYED BY THE STRONG WINDS…THE ACTUAL HIGHEST WIND SPEEDS WERE NOT MEASURED OR KNOWN.

THE STORM KILLED 46 PEOPLE FROM NORTHERN CALIFORNIA TO WASHINGTON AND INJURED HUNDREDS OF OTHERS. IT BLEW DOWN OR DESTROYED THOUSANDS OF BUILDINGS AND KNOCKED OUT POWER TO MILLIONS OF PEOPLE FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO SOUTHERN BRITISH COLUMBIA. THE WIND STORM BLEW DOWN 15
BILLION BOARD FEET OF TIMBER FROM THE COAST TO AS FAR EAST AS
WESTERN MONTANA…ENOUGH LUMBER TO BUILD A MILLION HOMES.

COULD ANOTHER STORM LIKE THIS ONE OCCUR AGAIN? THE ANSWER IS YES.  AND NOW MANY MORE PEOPLE LIVE IN THE REGION THAN BACK IN 1962 ALONG  WITH ALL THE ACCOMPANYING INFRASTRUCTURE SUPPORT. FOR INSTANCE…THE 1962 POPULATION OF WESTERN WASHINGTON WAS ABOUT 1.5 MILLION. TODAY IT IS OVER 6 MILLION.

IMAGINE WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THAT STORM STRUCK
AGAIN TODAY?

WIND STORMS OCCUR ALMOST EVERY YEAR IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST. SOME OF OUR REGIONS STRONGER ONES OCCUR ABOUT EVERY 10 YEARS SUCH AS THE HANUKKAH EVE WIND STORM OF DECEMBER 2006 THAT KNOCKED OUT POWER TO ABOUT 1.5 MILLION PEOPLE IN WESTERN WASHINGTON.

SO IT IS PRUDENT TO PREPARE NOW FOR WIND STORMS OR ANY OTHER
HAZARDOUS WEATHER OR OTHER EVENTS THAT CAN OCCUR SUCH AS
EARTHQUAKES…TSUNAMIS AND VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS. HERE ARE A FEW KEY RESOURCES TO HELP YOU GET READY AT HOME…AT WORK OR SCHOOL…OR IN YOUR VEHICLE. WHEN YOU ARE PREPARED…YOU ARE NOT SCARED.

 I was a small child, but 21 years old,  when the infamous Columbus Day storm of 1962  hit the upper West Coast.    I hoped it would come down my way, there in Reseda, California.  It didn’t, only got as far as ‘Frisco.

I wrote out the weather reports for this storm from Short Wave Radio (SWR) with my best fountain pen.  Here they are, because I never throw anything out.  These transcribed weather reports were broadcaset twice an hour, five after.

Weather text, in ink,  for the October 12, 1962, "Columbus Day" storm as compiled from Oakland Radio via SWR.
Weather text, in ink, for the October 12, 1962, “Columbus Day” storm as compiled from Oakland Radio via SWR.  SFO-Frisco, S-T, SEattle Tacoma AP; POR=Portland, OR; STK=Stockton, CA; LAX=LAX; RSA=Reseda, CA.  The last three digits is the altimeter setting, with the first digit missing.  Note that at 6 PM PST October 12th, SFO is having near hurricane force gusts, and at 8 PM PST,  Portland is reporting gusts to over 90 mph.  The 9 PM PST ob for Portland was missing!
DSC_0562
12:23 PM. Cumulus mass over the Catalinas.
DSC_0563
1:47 PM. When I wasn’t watching, this broke out!
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1:48 PM. Looking SSW. Looked awesome, but only heard one rumble of thunder.
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1:48 PM also, looking SW. “Spin move” used to get sky shots from all quads pretty much all at once. Those shown are the best. It was clear to the NW-N.
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1:55 PM. Dark base to right begins to unload on some lucky person.
2:06 PM.  Told ya!  Nice addition to the prior day's storm.
2:06 PM. Told ya! Nice addition to the prior day’s storm.  Raining here now, too.
2:32 PM.  Nice line of Cumulus humilis or mediocris trailing off the Tortolita Mountains W-NW of Catalina.
2:32 PM. Nice line of Cumulus humilis or mediocris trailing off the Tortolita Mountains W-NW of Catalina.
2:35 PM.  Well-known de facto livestock pond was enhanced by that afternoon's rain on our country road.  Do not enter when flooded.
2:35 PM. A well-known,  de facto livestock pond was enhanced by that afternoon’s rain on our country access road.     “Do not enter when flooded”, but everyone does anyway.
The End.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Bye-bye Joe low, see you in a week or so; remembering the 1962 Columbus Day storm”

  1. Hey Art; I hope I’m not asking a dumb question here, but you keep mentioning ‘Hurricane Olga”. Wasn’t it “Typhoon Frieda” that made up the “Columbus Day” storm, or am I missing something? Never heard of “Olga” before! 🙂

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