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Big Commemoration of Columbus Day Storm In Portland Saturday, October 13th

The Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and OMSI to host the Pacific Northwest’s premier regional commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Columbus Day Storm. Public invited to take a step back in time and “relive the storm” on Saturday, October 13th. Media strongly encouraged to advance this event!

Portland, Oregon (Wednesday, September 19th 2012) – “The Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) is proud to announce the Pacific Northwest’s premier public commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Columbus Day Storm. Held at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), the commemoration will feature presentations, videos, television broadcasts, audio recordings, historical photographs and memorabilia. Attendees can also enter to win a $300 Davis home weather station raffle. The free event is open to all ages of the general public and will take place in OMSI’s main auditorium beginning at 10 AM on Saturday, October 13th. OMSI is located at: 1945 S.E. Water Avenue in Portland.”

“The Columbus Day Storm is the benchmark storm for which all other storms are compared to across the Pacific Northwest. The violent and deadly storm struck on October 12th 1962 with winds gusting as high as 130 MPH in the Willamette Valley and 170 MPH along the Oregon coast. Nearly 50 people perished in the storm.” Chapter President Steve Pierce says, “we have gathered together leading experts from across the Pacific Northwest to offer the public an event that will be remembered for years to come. We will take a look deep inside the storm, as seen through the eyes of the public and the Meteorologists who tracked it. We will present rare audio and video recordings from the night of the storm featuring late KGW Meteorologist Jack Capell and those who were present when the 600ft tall KGW transmitter tower fell to the ground. We will also feature several survivor stories and plenty of photographs, some of which have rarely been seen publicly. Finally, we will take a look at the chances of seeing a similar storm in the future. The public is encouraged to attend this event and bring along anyone who may have a harrowing personal story to share or memorabilia item to display. The demographic of folks who are old enough to remember this tragic storm is shrinking with time and it would be great if these folks would attend this event and share a memory with younger generations.”

Formal Commemoration Ceremony Lineup

Welcome & Opening Remarks
Steve Pierce, Oregon AMS President

Headline Technical Presentation
National Weather Service, Portland
“How the storm formed and where it tracked”

Supporting Presentations
Jim Little, Meteorologist – Oregon Department Forestry
“Broadcast media coverage of the storm”

George Miller, Meteorologist Retired – National Weather Service
“Photographic retrospective of storm damage”

Brian MacMillan, Meteorologist / Reporter – KPTV Ch. 12 Portland
“The damage, the survivor stories (video)”

Wolf Read, Windstorm Expert / PhD Candidate (University of British Columbia)
“A climatological perspective – return cycles of powerful storms to strike the Pacific NW.”

Audience Question/Answer Session with Presenters

Raffle – $300 Davis Weather Station & More

Please note — OMSI’s main auditorium will hold approximately 300 guests. Please arrive early in order to be assured a seat. Once standing room capacity has been met, the only additional viewing area will be from the hallway outside. For complete meeting details, including overnight accommodations in and around Portland, please see the Oregon AMS web site at: http://www.ametsoc.org/chapters/oregon/.

Stay tuned!
Steve Pierce, President
Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS)
http://www.ametsoc.org/chapters/oregon

Don’t forget — you can now get my latest in depth weather and climate updates via Facebook. Send me a friend request at http://www.facebook.com/stevepiercevancouver and I will add you in. Don’t forget to bookmark this blog at http://www.columbian.com/weblogs/weather for my latest thoughts. Are you interested in weather? Why not join the single largest chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in the country with 165 fellow members? We host eight monthly weather meetings from September through June. All of these meetings are open to the public and 100% free! We are always looking for new members. For additional Oregon AMS chapter meeting details please see: http://www.ametsoc.org/chapters/oregon

Steve Pierce

Steve Pierce

Steve Pierce is widely known as Oregon and Washington's "go-to-guy" when it comes to fast, accurate historical meteorological research and forecasts. Steve is currently the President of the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). Steve is also recognized as a regional weather commentator and blogger who can be heard on local radio stations and seen in print media outlets across the Pacific Northwest. His Weather Blog is hosted by the Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Check it out! He is a third generation resident of Vancouver, Washington and holds a degree in Communications. Both sets of Steve's grandparents migrated to Vancouver during World War II. One set traveled from Lenox, Iowa to work in the Kaiser Shipyards supporting the war effort. The other set came to Vancouver from Olympia, Washington to work as educators for the rapidly expanding Vancouver School District. When the war was over, both sets of grandparents decided to stay in Vancouver and continue raising their families, as did thousands of other families at the time. Those who are most familiar with Steve can attest to the fact that weather is his true passion. His love for "all things weather" began at the age of 7 when Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980. He was fascinated with which direction the ash plumes were headed. Then came the very powerful windstorm of Friday, November 13, 1981, also referred to as the "Friday the 13th" storm. This was the strongest storm to hit the Portland / Vancouver area since the great Columbus Day Storm of 1962! At age 11, he was asked to publish an extended weather forecast for his elementary school's weekly newsletter. In the 1980's, at age 14, Steve was the youngest of KGW-TV's local "weather watchers" and would phone in his daily Vancouver weather stats to then television meteorologist Jim Little for use on-air. Steve has lived through all of the major Pacific Northwest weather events of the past 30 years, and then some. The most notable events include; the bitterly cold winter of 1978-1979, the record setting snow storms of January 1980, the summer heat wave of August 1981, the windstorms of November 1981 and December 1995, the severe arctic blast of February 1989, the record flood of February 1996, the historic ice storm of January 2004, the Vancouver tornado of January 2008 and the record setting snow storm of Christmas 2008. Not to mention every Mt. St. Helens volcanic eruption in between. With access to the most extensive set of historical weather records available to date, Steve has personally designed and integrated a proprietary system that gives him the ability to quickly locate and manipulate weather data as far back as the 1800's. As one local Meteorologist put it, "Steve has fast access to historical weather data that is needed for media, agriculture, business, personal, historical and other climatological needs. He can quickly manipulate the data in many different ways. His forecasts are also quite accurate, especially at longer lead times." Steve also provides local storm assessments, narratives and weather presentations to the general public, as requested. In his spare time, Steve enjoys spending time with his family, the outdoors, vacationing at his family's coastal cabin and just relaxing! By the way, do you like your weather on the "extreme" side? So does Steve! Whether it is collecting damage assessment data & photos after record setting 125 mph winds at the coast in December 2007, being one of the first on the scene after the January 2008 Vancouver tornado, or feeling (literally) the awesome power of 100 mph wind gusts at Oregon's Crown Point in January 2010, Steve has experienced it all! As Steve says, "don't just love weather, live weather!" Check out Steve's personal weather website at: http://www.piercevideo.com/weather.shtml