Battle Ground begins cleanup after tornado

EF-1 tornado struck Battle Ground on Dec. 10, 2015

An EF1-rated tornado hit Battle Ground on Thursday. (KOIN)
An EF1-rated tornado hit Battle Ground on Thursday. (KOIN)

BATTLE GROUND, Wash. (KOIN) — One day after an EF-1 tornado touched down in Battle Ground and damaged 36 homes and 2 businesses, crews are cleaning up and residents are recovering.

Rain hampered the cleanup and the city looks much as it did after the tornado blew through around 11:15 a.m. Thursday. Trees remain down, branches are scattered, roof shingles flapping and littering the neighborhoods.

Damage done by a tornado in Battle Ground, Dec. 10, 2015 (KOIN)
Damage done by a tornado in Battle Ground, Dec. 10, 2015 (KOIN)

Vanessa Easley was working the cash register inside one of the businesses when the roof blew off.

“It was a loud boom at first, sounded like thunder,” she told KOIN 6 News. “Then we thought it sounded more like a freight train coming through the building.”

She said the doors flew open. “My daughter, who was with me, held onto me and began screaming. Then I grabbed ahold of her. There was not really anywhere for us to hide so we were just standing there, huddled together, until it finished.”

No one in the city was injured during the tornado.

In a statement, Mayor Shane Bowman said:

“We greatly appreciate each and every individual and business who, without a bit of hesitation, showed up to assist with the cleanup effort. As I watched the various news accounts last night, I realized they got the story right – yes, we had a tornado in the City of Battle Ground, but the focus of their stories was that of city staff, residents, businesses, and volunteers working together to put our neighborhoods back together. Thank you Battle Ground.”

Battle Ground officials will post updates on the progress of the cleanup on both the Battle Ground Facebook page and their Battle Ground City website. A Go Fund Me account has also been set up for employees of the IQ Mini Mart.

Friday afternoon, Battle Ground city officials addressed a number of issues:

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

Discolored water. The storm-related power surge to the water pumps caused the discoloration. Flush the system by running water from your tap until it clears.

Homeowners with non-structural damage. Officials said homeowners with siding, roof or fencing damage can move forward with repairs as permit requirements will be waived.  Anyone with questions on what is and isn’t allowed can call 360.342.5046.

Homeowners with structural damage. Officials said permits will need to be obtained and approved before reconstruction.

Cleanup near a stream or critical area. Contact the Community Development Department at 360.342.5047.

Disposing of debris. Two dumpsters for woody debris are at SW 18th St and S. Parkway and at SE 5th Ave and SW Rasmussen.
Battle Ground Rockery, 917 East Main Street, will accept, for no charge, any wood debris including fencing, treated wood, and tree limbs. Call 360.666.6718.

Two Waste Connection dumpsters at Kiwanis Park, 422 SW 2nd Avenue, one for woody debris and one for all other debris.

Other questions. Call 360.342.5047 to confirm that a business is licensed in the city.

Damage estimates, federal help

The federal government will provide $2 million in aid to help repair damage from this week’s potent storms in the Northwest.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said the federal government is making $1 million available to Oregon to help repair roads and bridges damaged by the torrential rains that flooded the state this week.

The Federal Highway Administration on Friday said it’s also giving $1 million in emergency relief funds to Washington state, where flooding, landslides and erosion closed many roads.

The preliminary estimate of damage in Oregon, according to the federal government, is $15 million – including at least $5 million to state highways.

In Washington, preliminary damage estimates are pegged at $5 million.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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