That Tornado Warning in Portland Metro Area This Evening? UPDATED WITH 2ND WARNING

September 8, 2019

7:30pm Sunday…

Updated at 10pm Sunday…

Immediately after I published this post at 7:40 pm a 2nd tornado warning was issued for parts of Vancouver from the same strong cell.    Here’s a quick summary of the entire evening:

  • A heavy shower/thundershower moved from about Hillsboro to east Vancouver from 6:45 to 8:15pm
  • It prompted two separate tornado warnings (around Cornelius Pass and then central/east Vancouver)
  • It’s likely a tornado touched down around Cornelius Pass at a Pumpkin Patch (christened a “Gourd-Nado” by Brian MacMillan)

This pic from Jim Kessinger


  • As of this moment there are no reports a tornado actually touched down in Vancouver.  Apparently the “confirmed tornado on the ground” wording in the 2nd warning was because the funnel cloud appeared to just about touch the treetops.  So in reality a tornado was never observed on the ground, but very close.


Well that was exciting…for about 10 minutes.  If you have a weather app, or the FOX12 app, you probably noticed a TORNADO WARNING appeared for a small part of the metro area around 6:50pm this evening.  That’ll get your attention!

As far as we are aware, there wasn’t a tornado on the ground.  If it happened, it would have been right around Cornelius Pass & Skyline Road in extreme NW Multnomah County.

Here’s the sequence of events:

  1. Weather spotter (and local weather geek) sent pic and called in funnel cloud report.  It was seen north of Hillsboro Stadium over the West Hills.
  2. At the same time radar did indicate very weak rotation, although that alone typically wouldn’t lead to the Portland office of The National Weather Service issuing a tornado warning in my experience.
  3. So Portland NWS issued a tornado warning for about 13 minutes from 6:47pm-7pm.  Then the warning expired.
  4. No tornado was seen on the ground and no funnel cloud was seen over NW Portland as it moved off the West Hills and into the flatlands as far as I’m aware.

Radar looked like this when the warning was issued.  Nothing out of the ordinary


But checking out the Storm Relative Velocity shows there was some weak rotation almost right over Cornelius Pass at 6:45pm.  We get a real clear view since it’s only about 5 miles from the Dixie Mtn. radar site.

KPTV 2017 Default Earth

Green colors indicated movement TOWARD the radar site and red is movement AWAY from the radar.  So you’ve got some counter-clockwise rotation going on in that spot.  I’ve seen weaker rotation than this produce a weak tornado in our region.

Within a few minutes most of that “wind shear” or weak rotation disappeared.

That wraps up your funnel cloud story for this evening kids!  Here’s a pic of the funnel cloud from Mitch Etter, taken from Hwy 26 on the west side of the metro area

photo mitch etter

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen