There are only four days left to visit the Oregon History Museum's original exhibit The Mightiest Wind: The 1962 Columbus Day Storm, closing Sunday, January 6, 2013. Sponsored by Portland General Electric, the exhibit takes visitors back in time to the most devastating storm in Oregon's history. Wind gusts reached 116 miles per hour in Portland, 127 miles per hour in Corvallis, and in excess of 145 miles per hour on the Oregon coast. Nearly 50 fatalities were attributed to the storm, more than any other Pacific Northwest weather event in history. The storm forced portions of Oregon to rebuild their power systems from the ground up; some locations went without power for several weeks.
"Countless Oregonians over the age of 50 remember where they were when the Columbus Day Storm hit," says OHS Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk. "Though the storm caused extensive destruction to the Pacific Northwest, it also brought communities together as neighbors shared the few resources they had with each other during the repowering process."
Inside the exhibit, large scale artifacts recreate the destruction caused by the storm. Step into a wind machine to experience the wind gusts Oregonians would have felt 50 years ago during the storm's peak. Kids and adults alike have enjoyed playing meteorologist for a day, as KGW Chief Meteorologist Matt Zaffino instructs visitors how to predict the weather with the exhibit's green screen. The exhibit also features photographs, film footage, and interviews from the many Oregonians who still remember the event. As visitors leave the exhibit, they can learn about disaster preparedness from PGE, who was responsible for much of the repowering process in 1962.
The Oregon History Museum at the Oregon Historical Society is located at 1200 SW Park Avenue in downtown Portland. Museum hours are Monday - Saturday from 10 AM - 5 PM and Sunday from Noon - 5 PM. Visitor information and a list of current exhibits can be found at WWW.OHS.ORG.