NEAR VERNONIA, Ore. - When a storm blew through an area 10 miles from Vernonia on Tuesday and damaged a home, weather officials were not sure whether a funnel cloud or tornado had formed.
But now it's official - the National Weather Service issued a statement Wednesday confirming that it was, indeed, a tornado. They made the determination after talking with the homeowner, viewing photos of the damage and looking at radar data from that day. They did not send a storm survey team to the area.
"There was very minor and minimal damage to the home where a small strip of flashing was removed," the statement read. "Additionally, a very small tree with an estimated trunk diameter between 8 and 12 inches was snapped off approximately three to four feet from its base. This evidence was deemed sufficient to determine an intensity EF0 (wind speeds of 65 to 85 mph) on the enhanced Fujita scale."
This is the third tornado we've seen here in Oregon in the past few weeks. Last week, an EF0 tornado left a small path of destruction in Roseburg and a week before that, an EF1 tornado damaged buildings in McMinnville.
It's unusual for a twister to strike populated areas in the Northwest. Recent memorable tornadoes are the 2008 storm that struck near Vancouver Lake and in 2010 the city of Aumsville was badly damaged. Also, in March of this year, there was an EF0 tornado in Hockinson, Wash.