A strong tornado touched down near Port Orchard Tuesday afternoon, heavily damaging several homes and toppling trees.

“KCSO, Port Orchard PD and several fire agencies have responded to a weather event that has caused catastrophic damage in the Port Orchard area,” the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office said. “Most of the damage is contained to the area and neighborhoods east and south of WalMart,” reported by Komo News.

Deputies say active power lines are down and gas companies are checking their supply lines for leaks.

“STAY OUT OF THE AREA OR SHELTER IN PLACE! This area has not been deemed ‘safe’,” deputies tweeted. “Do not attempt to drive in the areas of Lund, Bethel, Salmonberry, Harris and Chase. Those roads are closed.” Harris Road SE is closed between SE Lund Ave and SE Salmonberry Road due to the tornado. SE Salmonberry Road between Branson Drive SE and Harris Road SE is restricted to through access, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Officials said.

“It’s raining and it’s pouring down really bad and before you know it everything was flying everywhere,” Silverman said. “Our car back windows blew out, our side windows blew out … I thought I was a goner.”

“So glad he’s OK because the whole back window just busted in,” Silverman said. “It was just crazy. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” reported by The News Tribune.

The National Weather Service reports Washington state is hit by about 2.5 tornadoes per year, on average. “But they are rare in December and in this region,” Jacob DeFlitch, meteorologist with the NWS, told KIRO Radio.

The most deadly tornado on record was a rating of E3 in the Vancouver, WA area on April 5, 1972. The tornado killed six people and injured 300 people.

According to the Tornado History Project, there have been 118 tornadoes in Washington state between 1954 and 2016. Most often, they’re rated an EF0 and EF2.

Buehner said that tornadoes often happen during the changing of the seasons, such as during spring or fall. Winter Solstice begins on Friday at 2:23 p.m.

By TheBL

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