PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Not one, but two tornadoes occurred in Umatilla County Friday, the National Service confirmed Monday.
In a damage survey, meteorologists say two EF-1 tornadoes were produced from a severe thunderstorm between the small cities of Weston and Tollgate, in the northern Blue Mountains. The tornadoes moved east along the Weston-Elgin Highway.
NWS said they occurred roughly between 1:40 p.m. and 1:55 p.m.
The first tornado was about 8 miles east of Weston and traveled between 1.25 and 1.5 miles.
The second tornado occurred a mile east of the first tornado and traveled less than a mile.
Meteorologists determined the tornadoes were both EF1 based on estimated wind speeds and the corresponding damage they caused. NWS said the winds from the first tornado peaked at 97 mph and the second tornado’s winds peaked at 104 mph. Both were about 175 yards wide.
The first tornado reportedly uprooted trees, snapped off large branches and tore the roof off a manufactured home. It also collapsed the walls and roof of a farm outbuilding.
The second tornado snapped tree trunks and large branches, and uprooted trees. It did not cause any damage to structures.
“Our PNW tornadoes are nothing compared to those in the Midwest. But every year, we can’t rule out seeing a few weak ones in any part of the state. EF-0 and EF-1 scale tornadoes are the most frequent. And as springtime brings in convective conditions, we can get these cells that rev up into severe thunderstorms and even weak tornadoes, all due to daytime heating,” KOIN 6 News Meteorologist Kelley Bayern said.
She said even these weaker tornadoes can be dangerous because of the damage they can cause to an isolated area.
All day on Friday, the National Weather Service station in Pendleton was posting on social media, reminding people of the severe thunderstorm warning that was in effect in parts of Umatilla County, Morrow County, Union County and Grant County. They warned of winds up to 60 mph and quarter-size hail.