Tornadoes slam Pacific Northwest, more storms expected
High winds and rain whipped Oregon and Washington Saturday, downing trees and wires, causing flooding and knocking out power for tens of thousands of customers in the coastal regions of the Pacific Northwest.
The fierce storm spawned by Typhoon Songda put 13,700 customers in the dark in the Portland area, Portland General Electric reported at 11 p.m. (2 a.m. ET).
Throughout the night, utilities worked to restore power to residents in Oregon and Washington.
Around 11 p.m., Puget Sound Energy said nearly 15,000 customers were without power. Seattle City & Light tweeted that it had fully restored power after about 3,000 customers who lost power due to a fallen tree in southeast Seattle.
The National Weather Service said winds reached 70-80 mph along the Oregon coast and 45-55 mph in the Portland area Saturday. The Portland Bureau of Transportation tweeted around 4:45 p.m. (7:45 p.m. ET) that 34 trees were down on roads.
So far, no deaths have been reported.
Despite reports of downed trees and power outages, the Saturday storm was not as powerful as initially predicted.
“We are glad conditions were not as extreme as we were forecasting for the coast,” said a Facebook post by the National Weather Service in Portland. “This is better for everyone who may have been negatively impacted who now came through unscathed.”
The winds lost some power in the afternoon and the weather service canceled high-wind warnings for the Oregon coast around 4 p.m. (7 p.m. ET). A wind advisory for south Willamette Valley was lifted.
In preparations for the storm, Seattle had braced for winds expected to move up the Washington coast. The city had hunkered down by shutting its parks, preparing emergency resources and opening more slots at homeless shelters.
“We’re glad the storm passed without significant damage, given the potential outcomes,” tweeted the National Weather Service Seattle on Saturday night.
Earlier in the day, emergency workers treated a 4-year-old boy with serious injuries and his father for minor injuries after they were struck by a falling tree branch. They were transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Storms were expected to hit when the Seattle Seahawks play the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday afternoon.
To the south, winds of 45 mph were reported in the Sacramento Valley in California and high gusts were reported as far south as Las Vegas, Nevada.
Two confirmed tornadoes
The National Weather Service confirmed two tornadoes touched down Friday in the northwest Oregon coastal cities of Manzanita and Oceanside.
Judson Moore of Manzanita told KOIN he looked outside and saw “a wall of water and debris coming up the street.” He and his wife locked themselves in a bathroom.
“The pressure changed. You could almost feel the suction and the whole building was shaking,” he said. “I could hear the neighborhood just being torn apart.”
It lasted 30 seconds, he said. They weren’t hurt and their business was not badly damaged.
Jane Wannell of Manzanita weathered the storm well.
“I always have my camping equipment ready because we lost power,” she told KOIN. “So I was able to cook nice meals yesterday. The utility people were amazing! We got power back at 8 o’clock last night. That was an amazing gift to us.”
First responders searched the Mazanita area but have not found anyone trapped under the debris, Tillamook County Sheriff Andy Long told CNN.
The tornadoes damaged 25-30 homes, Gordon McCraw with Tillamook County Emergency Management told CNN. Video and photos showed uprooted trees, toppled telephone poles and ruffled rooftops.
The Coast Guard rescued 40 teenagers and six adults near Lake Crescent, Washington, Coast Guard Petty Officer Ali Flockerzi told CNN.
The group was stranded at their camp without power and was blocked in by falling trees, Flockerzi said. The Coast Guard deployed a 29-foot rescue boat to take them to safety, Flockerzi said.
The National Weather Service’s Portland office said it broke its record for the most tornado warnings in a day, issuing 10 on Friday.
Saturday’s weather may not be the end of it. A third storm could potentially pass through the Pacific Northwest next week, according CNN Meteorologist Dave Hennen.