A Rare Tornado Touched Down Near Portland, Oregon, On Monday Night

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A relatively rare tornado touched down in southwestern Washington on Monday night. Multiple videos captured the damaging tornado as it churned near Battle Ground, Washington, located about 20 miles north of Portland, Oregon.

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service office in Portland surveyed the damage on Tuesday and rated the tornado an EF- 0 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. The tornado stayed on the ground for about 3.9 miles and measured 240 yards wide at its largest extent.

The storm that spawned the tornado was a small supercell, or a thunderstorm that features a rotating updraft. The severe thunderstorm had a classic hook echo on radar imagery around the time the tornado touched down.

Forecasters didn’t issue a tornado warning for the storm. However, a severe thunderstorm warning was in effect for the area, and the warning explicitly stated that a tornado was possible.

Monday’s severe thunderstorm formed as a low-pressure system rolled into the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, bringing the region heavy rain and gusty winds.

While tornadoes aren’t unheard of in the Pacific Northwest, they’re not exactly frequent, either. Washington and Oregon each average 2-3 tornadoes per year, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

Washington recorded 124 tornadoes between 1950 and 2019, while Oregon recorded 122 tornadoes over the same period. Most of the tornadoes were on the weaker side.

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