Washington’s Top 7 Weather Events of the 1900s

The National Weather Service in Washington discussed the most important weather events of the twentieth century.

They were ranked in the top 15, taking into account: The impact on people, property and the economy.

We give you the seven biggest weather events in Washington from the 1900s.

7 – A rare occurrence of tornado terrorized WA residence in April 1972

Washington, not known for its tornado activity, saw two F3 tornadoes touch down – one in the Clark County city. Vancouver and one just west of it Spokane. An F2-sized tornado struck in the upper northeastern corner of the state, in rural Stevens County. 1972 was the only year in which Washington led the nation in tornado deaths and injuries.6 dead and 300 injured.)

6 – The great Wellington avalanche disaster

After a massive snowstorm gripped the Central Cascades, two trains were delayed because crews were unable to clear tracks near the top of the mountain. Stevens Pass. One of the trains in the mountain town of Wellington was at the mouth of the river newly built Cascade train tunnel.

Wellington Avalanche of 1910

Wellington Avalanche Disaster of 1910 -Credit: Wikipedia Commons

During the early hours of March 1, 1910 – a thunderstorm caused a heavy layer of snow to slide – the sleeper train was thrown into a steep ravine, with 96 lives lost in the gruesome destruction. Note: Highway 2 over Stevens Pass was completed in 1925. Wellington changed its name to Tye after the disaster.

5 – Mount St. Helens blew its top

Mount St. Helens was a picturesque American version of Japan’s Mount Fuji. He stood proudly at 9.677 feet. At 8:32 a.m. on May 18, 1980, the mountain came to life, spewing 1.4 billion pounds of ash over eastern Washington, northern Idaho and Montana.

NewsRadio 560 KPQ logo

Mount St. Helenshaving lost a third of its former self, it now only boasts a summit of 2,363 metres.

4 – The horrific forest fires of the late summer of 1910

On August 20, 1910, hurricane winds ignited forest fires, which were already ablaze. Pacific Northwest burn like a blowtorch. “The Great Eruption” caused three million hectares of timber to burn.

President William Howard Taft 4,000 troops deployed to help overwhelmed civilian firefighters. Smoke from this historic fire found its way into the Atlantic coast.

3 – The Great Blizzard of 1950

Blizzard of 1950 – Seattle

1950 Blizzard Hits Seattle CREDIT:
MOHAI (Museum of History and Industry)

The winter of 1949-1950 was the coldest on record.

On January 13, 1950. Eastern Washington, Northern Idahoand parts of Oregon were covered up to 50 inches.

The temperature dropped to minus 20 in some places. Seattle snow falls occasionally – but this system has been dumped over 21 inches.

2 – The snowmelt flood of 1948

Sudden snowmelt caused the largest recorded flooding, from Northern Idaho to Eastern Washington. The flooding began in late May 1948 and lasted almost four weeks.

The image of Rock Island Dam, downstream from Wenatchee, during this aggressive snowmelt is mind numbing.

Rock Island Dam – 1948

Rock Island Dam – 1948 (Canva)

During peak snowmelt, the Methow River Pateros WA, was more than 12 feet above flood stage. The Columbia River was blown up here in North Central Washington and all points south – all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

1 – The storm on Columbus Day

The date was October 12, 1962. The severe storm has the distinction of being the strongest known widespread non-hurricane wind storm in the continental US.

Much of the Pacific coast bore the brunt, causing extensive damage Northern California Unpleasant British Columbia.

46 people died.

There have been some bad winsThere have been several storms in my lifetime, but never one with gusts of up to 150 miles per hour (recorded in Naselle.)

From the Townsquare Media Archive Room, Rik Mikals takes a different perspective on Washington’s disasters that extend beyond the 20th century.

The 7 Worst Natural Disasters in Washington State History

Washington state is a great place to live, but every now and then the state is hit by some earth-shattering natural disasters. Here are 7 disasters that truly devastated the state.

Gallery credit: Rik Mikals

WATCH: The costliest weather and climate disasters of recent decades

Stacker ranked the billion-costliest climate disasters since 1980 by the total cost of all damage, adjusted for inflation, using 2021 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The list starts with Hurricane Sally, which caused $7.3 billion in damage in 2020, and ends with a devastating 2005 hurricane that caused $170 billion in damage and killed at least 1,833 people. Keep reading to discover the 50 costliest climate disasters in the US in recent decades

Gallery credit: KATELYN LEBOFF

Back To Top