Washington December 22, 2016
A Terrifying, Deadly Storm Struck Washington In 1972 And No One Saw It Coming
Though twisters and violent storms can technically happen anywhere, Washington is not known for its tornadoes. While they’ll touch down here on occasion, especially in Eastern Washington, they typically leave minimal damage behind. But in 1972, Washington was hit with a tornado that quickly turned deadly.
On the morning of April 5, 1972, cold air moved inland from the Pacific Ocean and collided with warm air from Oregon’s Willamette Valley and the coastal mountains.
The storm intensified as it moved through Portland. Around 12:50 PM, observers on the ground just south of the Columbia River noted a sudden and dramatic increase in the winds..
The F3 tornado touched down in Vancouver that afternoon.
No one in Vancouver had an inkling of what was to come. The only warning came when the storm reached the McLoughlin Heights neighborhood, where it blew down some transmission lines and sent sparks into the air. Most people didn't know what it was because the storm did not initially have the funnel cloud that is typically part of a tornado.
Unfortunately, the storm injured about 300 people that day, and 6 people were killed.
The tornado ripped through a grocery store, a bowling alley, and a grade school near where Vancouver Mall currently is.
Later that day, the F3 touched down in a field west of Spokane. Luckily, no one was injured there.
$50 million worth of damage was done to the Vancouver area that day.
It's the deadliest tornado in Washington State history.
Mother nature is nothing if not unpredictable. Luckily, most of the time
Washington is a serene and beautiful place.