Kathleen Langtry was 15 years old when she, her brother and mother narrowly escaped being hit with spraying glass from a storefront window. They rushed home to meet up with her other two sisters. It was a long wait until her father got home well after dark, shaken up from nearly being blown into the Willamette River.
That Columbus Day Storm would claim nearly 50 lives in Oregon and Washington before it was finished. The cleanup from the damages it wreaked cost an estimated $200 million — in 1962 dollars. According to PGE, the storm left nearly 98 percent of the utility’s customers without power. Many families — like Langtry’s — were trapped in their homes without access to phone, lights or food.
Here’s an Oregonian video looking back at the storm.
What are your memories from October 12, 1962?
- Kathleen Langtry: Columbus Day Storm survivor, member of OPB’s Public Insight Network
- Clay Kelleher: Columbus Day Storm survivor, member of OPB’s Public Insight Network
- Steve Pierce: President of the Oregon chapter of the American Meteorological Society