A powerful EF2 tornado tore through a Seattle-area town on Tuesday afternoon, damaging homes and vehicles along its path with top wind speeds of up to 130 mph (210 kph). It was the strongest twister to hit Washington state since 1986.
In five minutes Tuesday afternoon, the twister’s 1.4 mile-path (2.3 kilometers) tore roofs off homes, shattered windows and toppled large fir trees, but no injuries have been reported.
This video by Hannah Lowhead shows as the tornado ripped through Port Orchard, 13 miles (21km) west of Seattle, on Tuesday causing severe damage to houses in the town of 14,000:
The twister touched down just before 2 p.m. local time, raking through the Puget Sound community of Port Orchard, about 13 miles west of Seattle.
The NWS will send a survey team on Wednesday morning to asses the damage and classify the intensity of the storm. “Until we conduct a tornado survey tomorrow morning, we can not speculate on the strength of the tornado,” the weather agency said via Twitter.
While tornadoes occur in every month of the year in the United States, they aren’t particularly common in the Pacific Northwest, and especially not in December. Washington averages only 2.5 tornadoes per year.
If Tuesday’s tornado is rated EF-2 or higher, it would become the first ‘significant’ tornado (those EF-2 or higher) in Washington state since 1986, and the first significant December tornado in the state since 1969.
Tornado today just west of Seattle at Port Orchard… video from Matthew Hargis pic.twitter.com/x61ajwNzjH— James Spann (@spann) December 18, 2018
Even more unusual: if the storm is rated EF-2 (or higher), Washington state will match Texas for the number of EF-2 storms in December — 1. Washington state has no EF-4 or EF-5 tornadoes on record.
Another weather anomaly in December 2018.