This is a La Niña year in the Pacific Northwest. That results is wild and unpredictable weather. The temperature yesterday was 61, today it was in the low 40s. Cold moist air meant thunderstorms – heavy rain and hail. But south of Portland there was something else.
Tornadoes are rare in Oregon – we average about two a year and they normally just tear up some Willamete Valley farm land and perhaps an occasional out building. But this one was different it hit a small town south of Portland, Aumsville.
A tornado flashed through the town of Aumsville shortly before noon Tuesday, slamming a three-block area on the south end.
Several homes and business were destroyed, and thousands lost power. One house on the corner of Fourth and Cleveland was ripped off of its foundation and turned upside down.
“You can’t get around town because a lot of streets are blocked,” said Harold White, the town’s mayor. Aumsville is a small, conservative community near Salem.
The violent storm caught residents by surprise. Vincent Catron,46, was painting a friend’s house when it began to rain hard, then suddenly hail — and he saw a dark streak go horizontal in the sky. “You could see a tail dropping from it, it was so quick; it was like seeing someone snap a whip. It went down and came right back up.’’
No one was seriously injured but it was the news around here today.