National Weather Service confirms Battle Ground tornado

A home in West Linn was significantly damaged by a lightning strike

Tornado damage in Battle Ground, Washington. (Trevor Petersen)
Tornado damage in Battle Ground, Washington. (Trevor Petersen)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s been a week of wild weather in the Pacific Northwest, and the activity continued Thursday with hail, thunderstorms and even a tornado.

Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency for 13 Oregon counties due to the severe winter storm.

The counties include: Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Washington, and Yamhill.

The declaration ensures state resources, emergency response personnel and equipment can be activated to respond to communities if local resources are exhausted.

The National Weather Service confirmed it was indeed a tornado that damaged homes and businesses, uprooted trees, ripped off roofs and caused power outages in Battle Ground, Washington on Thursday.

The tornado was rated an EF1, which indicates wind speeds of 86-110 mph.

No injuries were reported. A total of 36 homes were reportedly damaged when the tornado hit at 11:15 a.m., and power was shut down in affected areas to allow clean-up crews to work more efficiently.

Clark Public Utilities – Power Outages

Officials closed SE Rasmussen Boulevard between 5th Avenue and Clark, and 189th Street from SR-503 to 20th/112th.

Two commercial buildings — Real Deals Home Decor and IQ Food Market on South Parkway — were damaged and deemed unsafe by city inspectors.

Kathy Corcoran, who owns Real Deals Home Decor, told KOIN 6 News she had a store full of customers and employees when the tornado hit.

Corcoran said everyone hid behind the counter when the store’s front door blew open. A tree came through one window and 2 others were blown out. She said everyone ran out when the roof started buckling and water began pouring inside.

Although Corcoran said she thinks she lost everything, she’s glad no one was hurt.

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Jessica Colunga, who was at work in Battle Ground when the tornado hit, said she looked out the window when she heard winds and then the power went out.

Colunga said she and her husband “drove to where the sirens were” and took pictures in the area of SR-503 and Eaton Boulevard. She said she saw flooding from a possible water line break and damage throughout the neighborhood.

“Big trees were ripped right out of the ground a shed [was] in the middle of the road,” Colunga recalled. “It’s pretty bad.”

Hail fell quickly in Vancouver, Dec. 10, 2015 (KOIN)
Hail fell quickly in Vancouver, Dec. 10, 2015 (KOIN)

The Red Cross is prepared to help anyone affected in the Battle Ground area. Their number is 888.680.1455.

Thunderstorms popped up in the region in the early hours of the day, and hail fell in Vancouver around the lunch hour.

A home in West Linn, Oregon was significantly damaged by a lightning strike.

Firefighters were called to the residence on Churchill Downs Drive and Clubhouse Drive where they determined a large tree near the house was struck by lighting. Repercussion from the lightning strike was strong enough to blow out several windows and cause power outages.

The lightning didn’t spark any fires and no injures were reported.

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Earlier in the day, a lightning strike sparked a fire that destroyed a home in Jefferson, Oregon and killed 2 pets.

Jefferson Fire District spokeswoman Tammy Robbins said renter Maria Lugo awoke to the sound of what she thought was pounding rain or hail. When she looked out the window, she saw flames.

Lugo and 5 relatives, 3 of them children , escaped as flames engulfed the house. A Chihuahua named “Angel” and a bird named “Blue” did not make it out.

Firefighters needed 2.5 hours to get the fire under control Thursday morning.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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