Storm brings twisters, heavy rain to Pacific Northwest

PORTLAND, Ore. — Two tornadoes touched down Friday in Oregon, including one that damaged several city blocks in the coastal town of Manzanita, as heavy rain walloped the Pacific Northwest.

The Manzanita tornado hit at around 8:20 a.m. PT and had maximum winds between 125-130 mph, according to the National Weather Service in Portland.

There were no reports of injuries.

Tillamook County Sheriff Andy Long said the Manzanita tornado path was about "10 streets long" and traveled "right through the center of town."

Manzanita Mayor Garry Bullard declared a state of emergency.

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

“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.”

City manager Jerry Taylor said Manzanita has a permanent population of about 620 people. Many people own second homes there, he said.

"Many of our houses, especially this time of year, are not occupied," said Taylor.

The Red Cross opened a shelter at the Calvary Bible Church in Manzanita.

"I haven’t seen anything like this in my 20 years here. Maybe a small waterspout 20 years ago," Taylor said.

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 NWS confirmed a second tornado came near Oceanside at around 9 a.m. There were no immediate reports of damage.

The last time there were two tornadoes in Northwest Oregon was Nov. 12, 1991, when three tornadoes touched down, according to the NWS.

Elsewhere, thousands of people were without power as utility crews in the region prepared for what’s expected to be an even rougher storm on Saturday.

In Seattle, a 4-year-old boy, and his father were injured by a falling tree branch. The Seattle Fire Department said the child suffered serious injuries and the father minor injuries.

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.

In Oregon, Portland General Electric reported that more than 4,000 customers were without power early Friday. Pacific Power reported that 2,800 customers in coastal communities had no lights, down from a peak of more than 15,000.

At one point, 15,000 customers were without power in Seattle.

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.

Meteorologists expect a lull before the remnants of Typhoon Songda, which wreaked havoc in the western Pacific days ago, hit the Pacific Northwest on Saturday. Forecasters say wind gusts as high as 70 mph could sweep through Seattle. Mayor Ed Murray urged residents to avoid the city’s many parks during the wet weekend weather.

Contributing: The Associated Press

USA Today


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