Tornado Hits Oregon Coast as Wild Conditions Continue
(Oregon Coast) – The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed Saturday that what Lincoln City witnesses saw destroy property on Friday night was indeed a tornado. Ininitially, the NWS was not willing to classify this as a tornado when reports first came in, no matter how many witnesses talked about seeing a tornado.
About 20 to 30 homes were damaged in the Roads End neighborhood of Lincoln City, along with a few cars, as a water spout quickly developed just offshore and then came onto land, creating havoc.
All this happened as major windstorms, massive waves and even lightning hit various parts of the Oregon coast, starting Wednesday and continuing through Saturday. To see current, realtime weather and wave data, click here.
The tornado hit Lincoln City around 9:30 p.m. on Friday night. Deputies reported a damage path about two blocks wide, leading from the beach and stretching about three blocks to the east. The damage mainly consisted of broken windows and downed trees, but one of the homes in the 7400 block of Logan Road suffered extensive damage as the roof was blown off and it was practically split in two.
Nearby, the tornado picked up the homeowners' deck and slammed it against the side of his house.
Most of the affected homes were vacation rentals and were empty. No injuries have been reported, but locals are still a little shaky.
Michelle Franck is owner of Oregon Beach House Rentals, which has rentals in various cities on the central coast.
“We live ten blocks away from the tornado and never even knew it happened until someone told us this afternoon,” Franck said. “Wow.”
Franck said the neighborhood is thick with traffic due to onlookers this weekend.
“All our homes are safe and secure,” she said. “The closest on NE 71st.”
Thunder and lightning added to the spectacle for those on the coast this weekend, as well as in Portland in the early hours of Saturday.
In Depoe Bay, Angi Wildt photographed the spouting horn going wild – a rocky structure that causes seawater to shoot up high into the air.
“Lots of people standing under the waves that sizzle up the sea wall, screaming like it's an amusement park,” Wildt said. “It's so fun listening to the crashes and screams.”
Keith Chandler, manager of Seaside Aquarium, said the north coast experienced a bit of thunder and lightning. A massive squall came in at one point Friday and did some unusual things.
“For about ten minutes it rained as hard as I’ve ever seen it,” Chandler said. “There was a big west wind, so the rain was blowing in through the ventilation windows in the front of the aquarium. So it actually rained inside the aquarium, by where the seals are. A bunch of customers had to wait to go see the seals because it was raining too hard - inside.”
Chandler said the winds were at their highest on Friday, estimating gusts around 50 – 60 mph just by how it felt.
Enormous swells captivated people, but they were big enough to wash up onto the streets of the cove area.
“All I know is that it was a boiling cauldron of death out in the ocean,” Chandler said.
Wildt said there is an interesting problem developing in Depoe Bay, however, partially because of the stormy conditions. A crosswalk was recently built right where the waves will shoot into the air, causing some dangerous issues with pedestrians on this busy part of Highway 101.
“The crosswalk was built right where the wave shoots up above the seawall,” Wildt said. “So you either have to stand in the wet zone to wait for the traffic to stop and risk getting soaked, or you have to walk into the highway. Several people ran out into traffic when the waves came.”
Luckily, the spouting horn isn’t always so active. But it did create numerous close calls in recent days.
“Some guy ran into the crosswalk to avoid getting wet,” Wildt said. “He stopped just short of a van. The van had to jam on the breaks and the guy didn't seem to understand how ludicrous the whole thing is. He was still having fun from playing in the water crashing. The person in the van was probably having a mini heart attack.
“All day long we hearing screeching breaks from truckers and cars, from people meandering into the crosswalk without looking. Pedestrians are treating it like a cross walk in the middle of Disneyland where there aren't any cars to pummel them.”