Hurricane on Langara Island – 1962

Hurricane on Langara Island – 1962

– Jeannie (Hartt) Nielsen (daughter of Ed Hartt, Senior Keeper on Langara 1957 – 1963) 

Langara Point - photo Jeannie Nielsen

I had gone by myself to the cabin for a weekend, and in the evening of the second day I was sitting in front of an open campfire watching the sun set. As the sun sank in the sky, a fast moving band of black cloud moved in. 

By midnight that night, the wind was screaming, and the sound of the ocean was ferocious. I could see nothing in the black night, and shone my flashlight toward the bay. All I could see was spray and white water. I watched anxiously for any sign of water coming in under the cabin walls, as the cabin was not far from high tide mark. And from the sound of the ocean, it was wild out there. I was scared. I laid awake all night listening to the sounds of crashing branches, and just hoped that one of the giant trees around the cabin wouldn’t come down. It would have been foolhardy to try to go home in the dark, so all I could do was wait it out. 

In the morning my dad appeared at the door to see if I was okay. He said the storm was actually a hurricane, and hit winds at over 105 mph. A barge was driven aground on the Queen Charlottes . I learned later that the storm actually had a name, Hurricane Freda1 (October 12 – 13 1962). As far as I know it is the only west coast storm that rated it’s own name! It was a night I will never forget. 



1 Typhoon Freda

Category 3 typhoon (SSHS)
Duration October 3 – October 10
Intensity 185 km/h (115 mph) (1-min),  948 mbar (hPa)
A 15 mph (24 km/h) outdraft formed on the morning of September 28 south of Eniwetok Atoll. The outdraft became an ordinary tropical cyclone on October 3, when it developed 500 miles (800 km) off Wake Island. It moved to the northeast, then turned to a northwest where it strengthened into a typhoon and peaked at 115 mph (185 km/h) on the 5th. Freda then turned and accelerated to the northeast, where it weakened until becoming extratropical on October 10 to the south of the Aleutian Islands.[2] The extratropical remnants of Freda headed to the east, and hit Victoria, British Columbia on October 12 with winds of 45-50 mph, with wind gusts up to 90 mph (140 km/h). There, great damage was seen across the Pacific Northwest, causing a major disruption in daily life with power outages and store closings from shattered windows.

As an extratropical storm, Freda caused an estimated $10 million (1962 USD ($74.8 million (2011 USD)) in damage, with 46 deaths occurring. – Wikipedia

Published by

Retired (2001) British Columbia lighthouse keeper after 32 years on the lights.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please identify yourself as human. *