Historic PNW windstorm hits 28-year anniversary

28th anniversary of the historic Pacific Northwest windstorm

The storm that occurred on December 12, 1995, is regarded as the most powerful wind event in western Oregon and Washington since the Columbus Day Storm of 1962. With winds reaching over 100 mph, it left a lasting impact on the region.

A low-pressure system, which moved northward along the Oregon and Washington Coast, was responsible for the destructive winds. The center of the low-pressure system reached a minimum pressure of 954 MB, remaining just west of the shoreline.


The storm followed a path similar to that of the 1981 storm and the historic Columbus Day Storm of 1962. Typically, the strongest wind events in western Oregon and Washington are brought in by low-pressure systems that come in from the central Pacific and move north along the coast. The coast usually bears the brunt of the wind, as it wraps around the center of the low. Meanwhile, the Willamette Valley acts as a funnel, amplifying the wind as it passes through the narrow passage of the valley and resulting in stronger gusts than usual.

On December 12, 1995, a powerful storm swept through the Willamette Valley, unleashing winds ranging from 50 to 75 mph. The coastal areas bore the brunt of the storm, experiencing gusts as strong as 60 to 100 mph.

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