NWS: St. Helens tornado traveled 1.7 miles
The tornado that touched down in St. Helens on Tuesday, Nov. 9, traveled more than a mile and a half across the ground, the National Weather Service has assessed.
The federal agency's Portland forecast office said Wednesday morning, Nov. 10, that the tornado started west of St. Helens, near the intersection of Pittsburg and Robinette roads and the confluence of Dart and Milton creeks. Its path took it east-southeast into West St. Helens before terminating near McBride Elementary School.
With wind speeds estimated at up to 65 mph, the tornado has been rated an EF-0, the weakest possible according to the Enhanced Fujita scale used to measure tornado strength.
Its path was estimated at about 600 feet wide and 1.7 miles long.
"Luckily," the National Weather Service noted, "there were no injuries."
The NWS did a storm survey of the tornado observed in St Helens, Oregon ~ 1220 pm yesterday (Nov 10). The tornado was rated as an EF-0, with a path length of 1.7 miles. It caused minor property and tree damage, but luckily there were no injuries. #orwx #tornado #sthelensoregon pic.twitter.com/f0g7dwv3MX— NWS Portland (@NWSPortland) November 11, 2020
The tornado did inflict some minor damage to buildings, including the roof of at least one home near the elementary school, and tore limbs from trees. The National Weather Service shared one photo of a tree near Pittsburg Road and Barr Avenue that was snapped like a twig by the storm.
The tornado touched down at about 12:20 p.m. and dissipated at about 12:26 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.
Tornadoes are not common in the Pacific Northwest, but they are far from unheard of.
A tornado touched down at Plumper Pumpkin Patch & Tree Farm, near Cornelius Pass, last September. That storm destroyed the farm's popular corn maze and damaged a barn.
In October 2018, a tornado inflicted tens of thousands of dollars in property damage when it struck greenhouses at a plant nursery outside Forest Grove.
Both of those tornadoes were also rated EF-0.
A more severe EF-1 tornado caused more than half a million dollars in damage in Vancouver, Washington, in January 2008.
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