10 January 2008

[van_wa, breaking] Two Tornadoes in 40 Years ...

1247. And they both hit Vancouver. Talk about bad luck.

Carl Click, KATU News:

I talked to a sheriff's deputy, and he said that that tornado came off Vancouver Lake and touched down at 78th and Fruit Valley Road, now that's before you get to I-5, before you get to Highway 99, before you get out to Saint Johns* where that billboard was down, I'm now up in the hills just above that, I see a big, huge tree that came down, and it's, ah, leaning against the house, ah, big, huge section of a fir tree, ah, came down, and that police officer, that sheriff's deputy, told me that there are several big trees down on Fruit Valley Road ...

The last time a real tornado tore up the ground in the Portland metropolitan area was also in Vancouver. On 5 April 72, according to Waymarking.com:

On April 5, 1972, a F3 tornado struck at 12:51 PM, leaving death and devastation in its nine-mile path across the east side of Vancouver to the Brush Prairie area. A Waremart grocery store lay in rubble. A bowling alley was damaged. Peter S. Odgen Elementary School was demolished. Students and faculty from Fort Vancouver High School had watched the elementary school collapse and without a second thought, they ran to help the children. They lifted the debris off the children and performed some first aid.

This doesn't look as ruinous. The trouble with twisters in the PNW is that since the odds are so staggeringly against one and there isn't a "tornado season" as such they tend to strike without any warning and frequently nobody is watching. It'll be a surprise indeed if someone gets a picture of this one.

* There is also a section of Vancouver called Saint Johns (for those of you Portlanders who don't know). It's east of I-5, and just north of S.R. 500. This storm tracked almost due east.

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