I often am grateful when I hear of wild weather – like hurricanes, tornadoes, and duststorms – that I live in the peaceful Pacific Northwest. My wife and my mom both told stories of the 90/90 weather back on the East Coast – specifically DC or Virginia – 90 degrees and 90% humidity. And I have personally experienced the baking heat of Phoenix – 6 months of 100 plus each day – and the blizzards of the Midwest. Up here we don’t experience those extremes.
But I do remember one day/night of extreme weather growing up in Portland and it always highlights this day in history. Sixty years ago today, October 12th, 1962 was the Columbus Day storm, when 100-mile-an-hour winds blew through Portland, tore roof panels off my dad’s workplace downtown, and took out several trees in our backyard in the West Hills just outside of town.
I remember the trees scrapping along our roof and the cleanup needed afterward. We were fortunate to have both gas heat and cooking ability, so some neighbors brought food dishes down to our house to cook. I remember in particular a little red wagon wheeled down the road by someone. We might have had a time when our gas went out, but I don’t recall it.
It’s not that we are immune or anything – I experienced my first earthquake up in Seattle and have known friends to lose power in storms. We also have flooding sometimes -but usually, it is on country roads, not on city streets which we had in Phoenix. And when it does snow in Seattle people go crazy and traffic comes to a stall. But that is rare and I think we have much to be thankful for.