Remembering the Columbus Day Storm
On October 12, 1962, the Pacific Northwest was hit by one of the strongest storms in the region’s history. Wind gusts of up to 140 mph caused catastrophic damage to buildings, trees and power lines during what became known as the “Columbus Day Storm” and “The Big Blow.”
The storm, caused by the remnants of Typhoon Freda, knocked out power to more than 200,000 Pacific Power customers. Company employees, joined by crews called in from neighboring states, worked around the clock on restoration efforts.
Through the crews’ hard work, service to customers started to return within hours and by week’s end, nearly all were restored. Permanent
repairs to the electric system then continued for months. Damage repair costs totaled $3.5 million – or more than $26 million in today’s dollars.
The storm’s hurricane-force winds toppled trees and power lines.
Power dispatchers worked feverishly to reroute power, isolate damaged areas and keep energy flowing as the storm progressed.
Destruction of a transmission line crossing in Coos Bay confirmed the intensity of the historic storm. In this photo Lineman Ralph Hancock fastens brackets on the outriggers that were secured to the highway bridge.
Communication was vital to repairing the damaged electrical system. This photo of a radio communication was taken near Albany.
Reinforcement crews from Wyoming arrived in Portland with tools to tackle the most troublesome spots in the storm area.
Telephone board operators took calls from thousands of customers during the outage.
When storms strike and outages occur, Pacific Power is prepared to get power on as safely and quickly as possible. To report an outage, call toll free 1-877-508-5088.