National Weather Service in Seattle confirmed a tornado touched down near Port Orchard, WA just before 14:00 local time on Tuesday, December 18, 2018. An extensive, official damage survey will be conducted by the NWS Wednesday morning. Until then, the strength of the tornado can't be determined.
The state averages 2.5 tornadoes a year, but December tornadoes are even more rare, averaging just 0.1 a year, NWS office in Seattle said.
The tornado swept through a neighborhood near Port Orchard, Washington, causing considerable damage. It ripped roofs off of buildings, damaging at least 50 homes, downed trees and damaged numerous vehicles.
Local media reported one of the homes had its roof completely destroyed. Additionally, 20 homes were evacuated after a possible gas leak but there are no reports of injuries.
Tornado today just west of Seattle at Port Orchard... video from Matthew Hargis pic.twitter.com/x61ajwNzjH— James Spann (@spann) December 18, 2018
National Weather Service in Seattle can confirm that a tornado touched down near Port Orchard just before 2pm on December 18. An extensive, official damage survey will be conducted by the NWS Wednesday morning. Until then, the strength of the tornado can't be determined. #WAwx pic.twitter.com/Hs1MVIkzoz— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) December 19, 2018
How rare are tornadoes in Washington?
On average, the state has just 2.5 tornadoes a year, but December tornadoes are even more rare, averaging just 0.1 a year, NWS office in Seattle said.
Here is the Washington State tornado climatology. Only 15 recorded EF2+ tornadoes. We will find out tomorrow if the Port Orchard tornado is #16. @ShannonODKOMO @ScottSKOMO @NWSSeattle @KSeattleWeather pic.twitter.com/hDLhCyhJTT— Joe Zagrodnik (@joejoezz) December 19, 2018
"If Tuesday's tornado is rated EF-2 or higher, it would become the first 'significant' tornado (>EF-2) in Washington state since 1986, and the first significant December tornado in the state since 1969. Even more unusual: if the storm is rated EF-2 (or higher), Washington state will match Texas for the number of EF-2 storms in December -1. Washington state has no EF-4 or EF-5 tornadoes on record," The Weather Network meteorologists said.
Featured image credit: Matthew Hargis