Weather Service: Tornado, Rain Walloped Pacific Northwest

By and | October 17, 2016

A tornado struck an Oregon beach town, sending debris flying and toppling power lines and trees as strong winds and heavy rain walloped the Pacific Northwest over the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

Thousands of people were without power. In Seattle, a 4-year-old boy and his father were injured by a falling tree branch Friday. The Seattle Fire Department said the child suffered serious injuries and the father minor injuries.

The Coast Guard and other agency officials near Port Angeles, Washington, had made several trips to rescue 40 teenagers and six adults who became stranded at an outdoor recreation camp after they lost power and downed trees blocked their way out.

The National Weather Service in Portland, Oregon, urged people to stay off roads as multiple streets in the city were flooded and impassable after heavy rains hit the area Friday evening.

The tornado was reported on the northern Oregon coast. Tillamook County Sheriff Andy Long said it touched down in the city of Manzanita about 8:20 a.m. There were no reports of injuries.

Debbie Harmon, owner of the Amanita Galley, said most of the damage is near the beach and downtown.

tornado in a field“It was a normal beach storm, which we get a lot of, and then out of nowhere the wind went ‘whoooo,”‘ she said. “Suddenly the whole sky was filled with debris. It was just crazy. And then it just stopped.”

The mayor declared a state of emergency, a necessary step for the small town 90 miles west of Portland to be eligible for federal disaster money.

Long said two businesses were destroyed and one home is uninhabitable. He says other homes have roof damage. The Red Cross opened a shelter for those affected.

Julee Ward, who lives between Manzanita and Nehalem, said she awoke to violent thunderstorms and an eerie, dark sky. Her husband went outside to check on things after 8 a.m. and called for her to come out.

“Behold there was this big tornado flying about a mile away from our house,” she said. “There was debris flying everywhere … you could see the debris up in the funnel.”

Video shot by her husband showed a massive funnel spilling down from dark clouds.

“You could hear it howling too, which was the crazy part,” she added.

The National Weather Service said another twister made landfall about 9 a.m. near Oceanside, Oregon, but no damage was reported. A total of 10 tornado warnings were issued.

The heavy rain created dangerous conditions throughout the region , as drivers tried to see out rain-pounded windshields and navigate through standing water on roads.

Portland had the rainiest Oct. 13 in its history. In addition, the National Weather Service says a 103-mph wind gust was recorded at Cape Meares.

In Washington, Puget Sound Energy responded to scattered outages affecting thousands of people throughout the day. Lightning strikes hit the southwest Washington coast.

In northern Nevada, winds gusting up to 76 mph fueled a wild fire that has destroyed at least 22 homes and charred 3 square miles of brush and timber in a rural valley between Carson City and Reno.

Bellisle reported from Seattle. Associated Press writers Alina Hartounian in Phoenix, Gene Johnson and Lisa Baumann in Seattle, Kristen Bender in San Francisco, Scott Sonner in Reno, Nevada, and Rebecca Boone in Boise, Idaho, contributed.

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