Tornado touches down in St. Helens area; homes damaged


"Welcome to 2020. It's not over yet."

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Multiple homes were damaged when a tornado touched down in St. Helens on Tuesday afternoon, officials confirmed.

“I was looking out my window doing a Zoom meeting and all of a sudden I saw these flying trash cans going by,” Shelly Thompson said. “Welcome to 2020. It’s not over yet.”

Now, her new gazebo is gone and the rest of her yard is trashed.

The National Weather Service said the tornado touched down in the northwest part of town and traveled 1.6 miles with a damage path width of 200 yards. The peak winds were between 60 and 65 mph.

Fire officials started getting calls just before 12:30 p.m.

St. Helens firefighters arrived in the area and met with several residents who said a tornado had come through the neighborhood and found that three different homes were damaged when larger evergreen tree limbs went through the rooftops. Another home was damaged as a result of its roofing being peeled up from the porch overhang.

“When it hit the roof the part that broke off kinda toothpicked into my roof and made like a perfect hole,” Tin Pham said. “It was pretty nuts.”

There were also numerous limbs down in roadways and hanging over from utility lines, along with blown over garbage cans.

If anyone sees cloud rotation, “especially if it starts to lower, head indoors,” the NWS said in a tweet.

No injuries were immediately reported.

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