Well that was an exciting afternoon! We started with a steady soaking rain this morning, then went into a sunbreaks/showers pattern the rest of the day. As expected a few thunderstorms popped up along with the usual hail, downpours, and breezy wind. Now remember yesterday we had numerous funnel clouds/waterspouts off the coastline and up in Puget Sound. Today some of that spinning energy decided to touch down in the Willamette Valley.
This was a weak tornado, even by Pacific Northwest standards. It was weaker than the Lacomb tornado last month. But it still flipped two planes at the Aurora Airport and damaged a bunch of greenhouses nearby.
This is also the only tornado I’ve seen pass close to an official observing site. Check out the observations from the ASOS sensor near the southern end of the airport:
A couple of things to notice. First check out the wind shift. From gusty southerly just as the twister passed by, yet you can see how localized wind is with tornadoes. Then notice the peak wind gust was only around 30 mph at the sensor which is maybe 1/2 mile south of the tornado path.
This will rank on the low end of tornadoes around here.
I missed all the excitement because I had the day off. I was taking a run up the road with no cell service from 3:45 to 4:30. Came back to a whole bunch of texts and warnings. But with all this weather fun I had to come in of course. That’s one benefit of your hobby becoming a career. It’s all the same to me.
Looking ahead, we still have a nice and dry weekend, the rain returns Tuesday. Enjoy the briefly dry weather!
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen