'The most impressive thing was the sounds of the trees snapping': Possible tornado hits southern Washington
The National Weather Service in Portland, Oregon says Doppler radar and multiple videos indicated a weak tornado touched down north of Battle Ground, Washington.
BATTLE GROUND, Wash. -- A rare-for-the-Northwest tornado appears to have touched down in southern Washington Monday evening.
The National Weather Service in Portland, Oregon, says Doppler radar and multiple videos indicated a weak tornado touched down north of Battle Ground, Washington.
One of those videos was shot by Tyler Mode, who has photographed several weather events across the Northwest over the years, only to have Mother Nature deliver this tornado to his hometown.
"I saw some rotation on radar, so I decided to go looking to see what was going on," Mode told FOX Weather. "I drove about a mile north of my house and could see major rotation. It wasn't until I saw the power flashes that I called 911."
He said he drove south back toward his home "when the tornado moved across the road in front of me."
"The most impressive thing was the sounds of the trees snapping!" he said.
The storm passed in less than 15 minutes and then went all calm.
"Peak wind at my house was just 19 mph," he said.
The National Weather Service is sending a storm survey team from Portland later Tuesday to check the area for evidence it was indeed a tornado.
If confirmed, they will give the tornado a rating on the Enhanced Fujita Scale -- likely an EF-0 based on initial data -- and determine its path, length and width.
Tornadoes are rare in the Pacific Northwest, with the cooling waters of the Pacific Ocean acting as a moderating force for keeping the atmosphere from becoming too unstable.
Washington averages about two tornadoes a year somewhere in the state, and a vast majority are weak and do minor damage. The last -- and only -- deadly tornado in recorded state history was on April 5, 1972, when an EF-3 tornado killed six people and injured 300 others when it struck Vancouver.