LINCOLN CITY, Ore. - Authorities are saying that a tornado whipped through the coastal town of Lincoln City Friday night around 9 p.m. The severe weather tore roofs off vacation cottages and shattered windows on at least one parked car.
The National Weather Service issued a weather alert again Saturday morning for the central Oregon Coast. Strong thunderstorms - with winds up to 45 miles per hour - were reported through the area from late morning to at least early afternoon. The weather alert extended to other coastal cities, such as Newport and Florence.
Late Saturday, a source at the National Weather Service confirmed to KATU that the storm was indeed a tornado. The tornado was classified as a EF0 (zero) on the National Weather Service's Enhanced Fujita scale. The 0 classification "has wind gusts between 65 and 85 miles per hour - an estimate based on the amount of damage done to property, trees, vegetation," said Tiffani Brown, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Portland.
The storm left a blanket of hail - pellets up to one-half-of-an-inch wide. It also reportedly brought lightning expected by weather service sources to be "frequent" and "dangerous."
Lincoln City police tell KATU that just before 10 p.m. residents of the Roads End residential area, north of Lincoln City near the Chinook Winds Casino, reported seeing a large waterspout tornado move onshore and through a section of the community.
The waterspout dumped on Lincoln City, flooding the streets and bringing lightning that struck the Alsea Bay Bridge in Waldport about 15 minutes after 10 p.m. The bridge strike damaged a light pole and sprayed debris onto the roadway.
Lincoln County Sheriff's deputies, Lincoln City Police Department officers, and members of the North Lincoln Fire Department responded to reports of damage in the area. Deputies reported a damage path, about two blocks wide, leading from the beach and stretching about three blocks to the east.
Twenty to 30 homes were damaged, as were several vehicles in the area. Police tell KATU that the damage "mainly consisted of broken windows and downed trees, but one of the homes in the 7400 block of Logan Road suffered extensive damage."
Emergency responders checked the Logan Road area and reported that no one was injured.
Many of the damaged homes were vacant at the time the tornado stuck. At this time most of the home owners have been notified of the damage.
Power in the area was knocked out by the tornado and utility crews are working to restore services.
The National Weather Service was contacted and reported that meteorological data supported the existence of a tornado. However, that classification could not be determined until the damage is examined in daylight.
KATU sent Reporter Margy Lynch to Lincoln City Saturday to get the answer. Learn about her findings on the Saturday, 11 p.m. news on KATU Channel 2.
These photos are just in from Margy Lynch:
The winds tore this deck off of a waterfront home in Lincoln City.
The coastal winds were too much for a pane on this vacation home's glass-porch surround.
Another view of the damage to the home in the main photo above.