Tornado and Heavy Rains Bring Dramatic Damage and Flooding to Pacific Northwest
Tornadoes are rare, but not unheard of in the Pacific Northwest.
By EMILY SHAPIRO
December 11, 2015, 7:18 PM
• 6 min read
-- Extreme weather is pummeling the Pacific Northwest.
The area is recovering from a tornado in Washington, as well as heavy rain in Washington and Oregon, that have left devastating damage and flooding in their wake.
On Thursday, an EF-1 tornado struck the town of Battle Ground, Washington, with winds estimated up to 104 miles per hour. The town is about 25 miles north of Portland, Oregon.
EF1 tornados are considered to be weak, with winds ranging from 73 to 112 miles per hour, and they do not normally cause extensive damage.
Tornadoes are rare, but not unheard of in the Pacific Northwest. Washington state averages about one tornado each year.
Heavy rains also drenched Oregon and Washington this week, causing mudslides and flooded roadways.
While some water has receded, some rivers in Oregon are rising, where more rain is expected this weekend.
At least two people were killed in Oregon from the extreme weather, the Associated Press reported.
A 60-year-old woman died when a tree crashed into her Portland home Wednesday, the AP said. Another woman drowned Wednesday afternoon after her car became submerged on a flooded road, The Oregonian reported.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency on Wednesday and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency for 13 counties on Thursday, the AP reported.
Washing County Executive Dow Constantine offered advice to residents at a news conference this week.
"Don’t try to drive through standing water," Constantine said. "We had to rescue someone during the last flood, and you’re not as tough and your car is not as tough as you think. So just let it be, go around, call for help."
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