DISCUSSION: April 5, 1972 is a date left in infamy among many living in the Northwest United States. On this day, a severe category F3 tornado ripped through Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington leaving 6 dead and over 300 injured. This tornado not only was the deadliest tornado in the U.S for 1972, but also stands as the deadliest tornado in the Pacific Northwest history.
During the morning hours, cold air started to move inland from the coast and collided with warm air in the Oregon Valley. This created instability that generated a squall line which brought heavy rain, hail, and high winds to northeast Oregon. As the storms developed, the tornado touched down south of the Columbia River, and moved into Washington State. At the time, no warnings about the storm were issued, which led to confusion about what was going on.
Ogden Elementary School in Vancouver, Washington was one of the places that were hit directly. There were no deaths, but 70 people sustained injuries. Overall, this storm caused $3-5 million dollars in damage, and remains one of the most unforgettable catastrophes of the Pacific Northwest.
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©2017 Meteorologist David Tedesco