Have We Ever Had A Hurricane?

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By By Steve Pool

SEATTLE - The Pacific Northwest is no stranger to strong winds, but it has never had a documented hurricane. Why? Because hurricanes are terms given to storms that are tropical in nature.

The Pacific Ocean near the U.S. West Coast is much too cold for hurricanes to develop or survive. Normally, you need water temperatures at least in the upper 70s, but likely over 80 degrees for hurricanes to draw their strength from. However, our waters are generally between 50 and 60 degrees.

Now, that's not to say we can't get hurricane-force winds (defined as winds over 74 mph.) The Columbus Day Storm in 1962, as well as even the Inauguration Day Storm in 1993 had wind gusts over hurricane strength. But since the storms were not tropical, they were just termed plain old wind storms.

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Sunset Wednesday night from the hills northeast of Grand Coulee Dam looking in the direction of the Carlton Fire.