Readers of Nature Notes will be sorry to hear that the wind storm which occurred in Mount Rainier National Park on April 22 and 23 destroyed over 400 acres of timber, damaged roads, trails, telephone lines, buildings and grounds in excess of $25,000.00. The greatest amount of damage was done at Longmire and along the Nisqually road between headquarters and the entrance. Aside from the loss of valuable trees, the debris left by the storm constitutes a very serious fire hazard.
Starting about 1:00 A. M. on the 22nd, the wind increased until it reached a velocity of about 40 miles an hour at 7:30 A. M. During the remainder of the day gusty periods lasting from five to ten minutes occurred at frequent intervals, but the real force of the storm was not felt until between 9:30 P. M. on the 22nd until 2:30 A. M. on the 23rd. It is estimated that during the peak of the hurricane the wind attained a velocity of 60 miles an hour.
A strange coincidence of the storm was the centering of its force during the night of Wednesday and early morning of Thursday in the identical areas partially destroyed twenty-four hours previously. It seemed as if it were not satisfied with the damage it did and returned a second night to finish the job.
Great clouds of dust carried from east of the Cascade Range settled over the south side of the park during the morning and afternoon of the 22nd. So thick was this dust cloud that The Mountain was completely obscured from view at Longmire. In some sections of the park dust settled on the leaves of the bushes giving them the appearance of a dusty roadside. At Paradise Valley during the early morning of the 22nd a light snow fell, which mingling with the dust appeared as "brown" snow. Later in the day when rising temperature melted the two inches of new snow, the tiny rivulets left streaks of mud where they trickled down the snow banks.
Following the storm on the 24th, humidity dropped to 6 at the Ohanapecosh Ranger Station and at Longmire it did not go above 18 for two days. Normal for that time of year is about 75 to 80.
A force of 100 men was started immediately clearing up the extremely hazardous litter in and about the residential area at Longmire and along the main road. Fire patrolmen were entered on duty, pumps set up at streams and hose strung out along the road and in wind-thrown areas, smoking was stopped and all other fire season precautions were taken.
The effects of the wind storm will be seen along the Nisqually road. for many years and it will require the greatest vigilence to prevent serious outbreaks of forest fires in them.
- - O. A Tomlinson
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