A Look Back in Time: Storm Causes Power Outages and Flood Scare Over Weekend of Nov. 24 and 25 in 1962


A storm that struck Western Washington was covered in multiple front page stories in the Monday, Nov. 26, 1962, edition of The Chronicle. The storm was the second to hit the region in a week.

“Lewis County communities survived another storm over the weekend and, left wet and wind-blown, had concern Monday that any continued rain might bring flooded streams,” The Chronicle reported. “A Sunday storm that hit peaks of up to 40 miles an hour left a Sunday rainfall measurement of 2.25 inches.”

While no serious property damage had been reported in the Twin Cities, some windows in Chehalis and Centralia were reported cracked or broken and the area had been hit by power outages. State officials reportedly were concerned about flooding in several waterways.

“River watchers kept a keen eye on stream levels Monday, following the weekend deluge. In the Twin City area, the Skookumchuck and Chehalis rivers began cresting Monday morning,” The Chronicle reported. 

East Lewis County was reportedly spared the wind and rain that hit nearby areas, though low temperatures brought snow down to the 600-foot level. 

Utility crews around Lewis County were busy restoring power following the storm on Monday, Nov. 26. Centralia City Light faced only minor issues, though a portion of northwest Centralia had lost power after a tree fell on Saturday morning. According to The Chronicle, the Lewis County PUD was working “almost constantly” to restore power in rural areas. About a dozen customers on Coal Creek were still without power as of the morning of Nov. 26. Other areas of rural Lewis County faced repeated power outages throughout the day, The Chronicle reported. 


Saturday, Nov. 26, 1932

• Paul Donahoe was endorsed by a group of Lewis County sportsmen for a position on the state game commission. Donahoe was a prominent sportsman in Lewis County and a member of a Chehalis pioneer family, according to The Chronicle. It was unclear from the story who appointed members of the state game commission. 

• The weather forecast for the week of Nov. 27 through Dec. 3 expected rain at the beginning of the week followed by “fair weather” later in the week. The temperature for the week was expected to be “normal,” according to The Chronicle.

• Hugh Shaw, an 88-year-old Lewis County resident, died in Chehalis on the evening of Friday, Nov. 25, according to The Chronicle. Shaw was born in Scotland and was survived by a daughter, Edith Kitchel Werts.

• The annual Northwest assembly of YMCA workers met at Centralia’s Lewis-Clark Hotel on the night of Nov. 25. About 25 delegates from Washington’s Seattle, King County and Olympia and Oregon’s Portland and Salem YMCA organizations attended. The purpose of the event was to give YMCA workers the chance to exchange ideas, according to The Chronicle. 

• The Centralia Merchants’ Christmas was expected to have a “grand beginning” with a “gift hunt” party on Thursday, Dec. 1. The event was free and open to all ages. “Tremendous bargains are being offered in connection, due to the fact that this royal event falls upon one of the series of Centralia Merchants’ Surprise Thursdays, and hot bargains have surpassed themselves this time,” The Chronicle reported. Prizes for the gift hunt included baskets of groceries, shoes and “possibly a radio.”

• A review of the book “As China Sees It” was expected to be given on the evening of Sunday, Nov. 27 at Chehalis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. The event was separate from the sermon expected to be given that morning by Rev. J.C. Tourtellot at the same church. 

• A charity card party was being arranged by Chehalis’ Women of the Moose for Tuesday, Nov. 29, at the Moose Hall. Proceeds were to go to the local welfare committee, which was providing aid during the ongoing Great Depression. It was unclear what was involved with a charity card party.


Wednesday, Nov. 25, 1942 (the day before Thanksgiving)

• Centralia’s lights were officially inspected on the night of Tuesday, Nov. 24, by an interceptor command officer. The officer found only minor infractions of the night time lighting policies in place during the U.S. ongoing involvement in World War II. Multiple Centralia officials accompanied the officer, named Lieutenant W.H. Erwin, on his inspection. “Bringing a sigh of relief from the Centralia Defense officials was Lieut. Erwin’s approval of the manner of dimming the city’s 406 street lights, many cities, despite considerable effort, having been unable to satisfactorily dim their arcs,” The Chronicle reported. 

• Elias Wepsalainen, a 67-year-old Winlock poultryman, died in a Seattle hospital after a short illness, The Chronicle reported. Wepsalainen came to the U.S. from his native Finland in 1905 and lived in Winlock for 31 years. He was survived by his wife, Elsa; a daughter, Olga; and three sons, Arthur, Hugo and Alex.

• Harry Bixler passed away at the age of 54 while working on a road construction project on Tuesday, Nov. 24. The death was attributed to a heart attack, The Chronicle reported. Bixler was born on February 1, 1888, in Ohio. He was a member of the Adna Evangelical Church and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Bixler was survived by his wife, a daughter, his mother, a brother and three sisters.

• The Napavine Volunteers, a group of women engaged in war work, was reported as asking for donations of clothing for its volunteer service. Since the previous August, the group had donated $40 to the USO and China Relief. 

• Chehalis and Centralia men employed in the Tacoma shipyards had reportedly been asked to register whether they desired a daily bus service that would take the workers from the Twin Cities to their jobs. According to the labor relations director of the Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation, the Twin Cities residents were expecting to face difficulties commuting from soon to be implemented gas rationing during U.S. involvement in World War II. 

• It was announced by “Mrs. Charles Mitchell,” the chair of the Lewis County Red Cross’ Knitting Department, that the American Red Cross had been selected to knit all clothing for the U.S. Army and Navy. Mitchell asked that all yarn be brought to the local Red Cross office because it was “badly needed,” The Chronicle reported. 

• The names of 12 Lewis County men who had enlisted in the Navy were announced on Wednesday, Nov. 25. The men were Robert Nelson Jr., of Centralia; Harold Smith Jr., of Morton; John Talley, of Morton; Carroll Smith, of Chehalis; James and John Garrett, of Chehalis; John Svinth, of Centralia; Darwin Waddell, of Chehalis; George Dvorack, of Centralia; Charles Greene, of an unspecified location; William Kain, of Chehalis; and James McGuire, of an unspecified location. 


Wednesday, Nov. 26, 1952

• Chehalis city commissioners had requested outlines for a plan to expand the city’s treatment plan and municipal water supply on Wednesday, Nov. 26. The request followed a meeting earlier in the week with two consulting engineers, one from Seattle and one from Portland. The cost of changes to the sewage plant would come out to an estimated $60,000 while the cost of new wells to potentially expand the water supply were estimated to cost a total of $100,000 to $175,000. 

• Lester Withrow was fined $100 in Chehalis Justice Court for second-degree assault charges for involvement in a fight on Armistice Day. Withrow was accused of threatening his sister, “Mrs. Meridith Roberts,” with a gun, though he admitted to aiming the loaded gun at another person. The fight took place at Withrow’s home when he fought his brother-in-law Meredith Roberts, of Willamette, Oregon. Roberts received a gunshot wound to his left arm. Judge William Bartz suspended $75 of the fine. 

• High school students who made the Pe Ell honor roll were listed in the Nov. 26 edition of The Chronicle. The students were Theresa Davis, Jeanette Knos, Barbara Capps, Robert Feuchter, Evelyn Kindell, Ellen Kroll, Lucille Lyons, Bill Raschkow, Bob Rollins, Leona Barber, Shirley Diamond, Leona Helvie, Marsha Mackovich, Jeanne Novak, Mike Gunter, Sharon Johnston, Dorothy McEachron and Charlotte Myers. 

• George Thrift, a 20-year resident of Winlock, died in a Centralia hospital on Tuesday, Nov. 25, after a long illness. According to The Chronicle, Thrift was 74 years old at the time of his death. He was born on Oct. 20, 1878, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was survived by his wife, Belle. 

• The Pe Ell junior class play, “The Groom Said No,” was to be presented in the Pe Ell High School gym on Dec. 5, 1952. The cast included Barbara Raymond, Evelyn Kindell, Pauline Ratkie, Bill Raschkow, Robert Feuchter, Ellen Kroll, Fred Tobiason, Ellen Floyd, Lucille Lyons, Barbara Capps and Jim Roney. 

• Bail was forfeited by 14 motorists in Chehalis Police Court earlier in the week of Nov. 26, The Chronicle reported. The motorists had been charged with speeding and negligent driving. Bail amounts were $5, $10 and $15. 

• A “nice,” three-bedroom house in Chehalis was listed for $75 a month in rent. The house was furnished and references were requested. 


Monday, Nov. 26, 1962

• Centralia City Attorney Donald Schnatterly had reportedly passed away at a Centralia hospital after a “lingering illness.” Schnatterly was 40 years old and had been the city attorney for 10 years. The Chronicle described him as a “leader in civic and community activities.” He was born on March 4, 1922, in Kinsley, Kansas, and had lived in Centralia for 13 years. Schnatterly served in the Navy from 1942 to 1946. He practiced law in Seattle for a short time before becoming a local law partner with Dale Nordquist. He had previously served as president of the Centralia Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis Club. 

• The storm that had struck the region had begun to lull, according to an Associated Press story featured in The Chronicle. “A flood threat, second in a week, eased in Western Washington Monday after a one-two weekend storm punch had pummeled the area with hurricane-force winds and torrential rains,” The Associated Press reported. Winds reached 86 miles per hour along the coast on Sunday, Nov. 25. Winds reached 60 miles per hour in Seattle. According to the Associated Press, winds reached 121 miles per hour in Oregon with 100 miles per hour recorded  in the Tillamook Bay area. 

• “Mrs. James Garlinghouse” died in a local nursing home after a long illness, The Chronicle reported on Nov. 26. Garlinghouse, a native of the Lewis County area, was born in Littlerock on Dec. 11, 1903. A longtime resident of Pe Ell, she had lived in Centralia for the previous 12 years. She was survived by her husband, two sons, two daughters, a brother, five sisters and a grandson. 

• Kay Jones, an 85-year-old Centralia resident, died in a local hospital on Nov. 26. Jones was born on March 8, 1877, in St. Paul, Minnesota. She was survived by a daughter, three sons, a sister, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

• The road system in Mount Rainier National Park was badly damaged during the storm on Nov. 24 and 25. According to Park Superintendent John Rutter, “nearly all the park’s forces and equipment” were being directed at completing important repairs before heavy snowfall occurs. A total of 5.88 inches of rain fell in 24 hours in the park. “In a few short hours, water cascaded down the mountain sides overflowing the smaller creeks and swelling the rivers to flood stage,” The Chronicle reported. “Road ditches became torrents themselves, overflowing across the roadbed, washing away large sections of road shoulders and leaving boulders and debris on the road surface.”

• The Chronicle published the names of the Mossyrock High School honor roll on Nov. 26. Among those listed on the honor roll, two received 4.0 GPAs for the first quarter. Those two students were Arlene McMahan, a junior, and Linda Warren, a sophomore. 

• Martin Kocaj, a 50-year resident of Pe Ell, received a funeral service at Pe Ell’s St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on Monday, Nov. 26. Kocaj, who died at 76 years old, was born in 1886.