What was expected to be a tropical storm ended up causing millions of dollars in damage and killing seven people – Typhoon Freda, the whirlwind that hit the southern BC coast on Oct. 12, 1962.
The typhoon originated in Hawaii, and as it approached BC it was downgraded to a tropical storm. Unfortunately, the storm combined with a low-pressure system, causing the storm to be much worse than anyone had anticipated. At its peak, Typhoon Freda was pushing winds through Metro Vancouver at 145 kilometres an hour.
Vancouver’s mayor at the time, Tom Alsbury, said, “This is the worst storm to hit Vancouver in the life of our city.”
Jack Westaway, a retired BC Hydro worker, told CBC News that he hasn’t seen anything like Typhoon Freda since the day she blew in. The storm was the strongest ever recorded to hit the Pacific Northwest.
- In today’s dollars, Typhoon Freda caused the equivalent of $600 million in damages.
- About 1,000 trees were knocked down along city roadways.
- About 3,000 trees came down in Stanley Park, including 500-year-old cedars.
- Seven people died as a result of Typhoon Freda.
- BC Hydro