A Windy Day, And A Tornado That Never Was

October 15, 2014

The gusty southerly wind showed up as expected this morning, with peak gusts in the 25-35 mph range for most of us.  PDX hit 35 mph.  That of course prompted some scattered power outages, but those were pretty much gone by early afternoon.

Around 4pm we got an email from a viewer that thought a tornado may have gone through the part of Woodburn just west of the Outlet Stores.  So we sent a reporter down to check it out.  I assumed it probably wasn’t much, but you never know.  In the past I’ve found that unless several viewers call/email/tweet from a populated area like that, there’s a good chance that it wasn’t a tornado.  So I was surprised when I read two tweets (from other news organizations) that said there was a small tornado in Woodburn.  I said “What?”, fearing I had fallen woefully behind in the information business.  I checked the “pre-2010” channels of National Weather Service information, which involves checking Public Weather Statements and Storm Reports…Nothing.  So then I went to the “pre-2000” level…I called the NWS.  Of course they said “What?” too, noting they sent a team down to investigate but as of that time (5pm), there was no tornado.

Sure enough, damage pictures came in from our reporter Laura Rillos…

Woodburn Tornado 3 Woodburn Tornado 1

and showed what the NWS told us in a Tweet around 6pm…”Storm survey concludes down tree limbs on Butteville Rd (west of Woodburn Outlet Mall) was from 30-40mph straight line winds & NOT a tornado

It was just a heavy shower that sent out a strong straight-line wind.  A lot of drama for that, but it sure made two hours of TV pass quickly!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen