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Floods and Storms
     
Snowstorm, 1937
 
Columbus Day Storm, 1962
 
Christmas Flood, 1964
 
 
1937 Snowstorm Brings 27 Inches of Snow
"Yes, This is Salem," read the caption of a front page photo in the Capital Journal on February 1, 1937. During an eighteen-hour stretch the previous day, the City of Salem had received 27 inches of snow--one of the heaviest snows Salem has ever seen. That December had been a cold one for the City; snow earlier in the month had brought relief from a cold snap which saw daytime temperatures in the City at seven degrees above zero. Floating ice on the Willamette River had caused problems. Learn More

Columbus Day Storm, 1962
Any Salem resident who lived through the Columbus Day Storm will never for-get it. Although it is generally believed to have been a hurricane, the Columbus Day Storm was actually an "extra tropical cyclone," a weather pattern formed when a cool air mass meets up with a warm one. In addition, the Columbus Day Storm traveled very fast: nearly 1,800 miles in less than one-and-a-half days, much faster than a hurricane. At its peak, between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. that Friday, it brought gusts of 90 m.p.h. and sustained winds of over 70 m.p.h. Learn More

Christmas Week Flood, 1964
The 1964 "Christmas" flood followed the pattern familiar in Salem history: near- record snowfall followed by record amounts of rain. Snow and freezing tem-peratures early in the month gave way to warm temperatures and unrelenting rain - all within a 48-hour period, Salem received four inches of rain. Accumu-lated snow melted quickly and, with the rain, created heavy runoff which swelled the Willamette and its tributaries. By December 22nd, the Willamette was rising at the rate of three inches per hour at Salem. Basements in the City, including that of City Hall, were flooding, and storm drains were clogged with chunks of ice and snow. Learn More

 
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