Rare, powerful EF-2 tornado leaves major damage near Seattle

A powerful tornado hit outside of Seattle Tuesday, ripping trees from the ground and tearing roofs from homes and buildings, and causing natural gas leaks and evacuations.

A storm survey team from the National Weather Service in Seattle on Wednesday confirmed an EF-2 tornado touched down near Port Orchard, Wash., located 13 miles west of Seattle.

It was the most powerful twister to hit Washington state since 1986.

Tornadoes are rare in Washington state. They only occur about 2½ times a year, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle.

Tuesday’s EF-2 tornado lasted from 1:50 to 1:55 p.m. It had maximum sustained winds between 120 and 130 mph. Its length was 1.4 miles and its width was 250 to 300 yards, according to the NWS.

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Mountainous terrain can help to produce spin and quick spin up tornadoes, said Chief Meteorologist Morgan Palmer of our sister station KIRO 7 News in Seattle.

The debris from this tornado was lofted more than a mile into the air, he said.

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The deadliest tornado on record in the state occurred April 5, 1972, according to KIRO 7 News. It was an EF-3 tornado in Vancouver that injured 300 people and killed six.

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