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Rare tornado damages homes in Washington state

Last Updated Dec 18, 2018 at 4:57 pm PDT

Bill O'Rourke photo/Twitter

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. — A rare tornado touched down in a Seattle suburb on Tuesday, damaging several homes and toppling trees, authorities said.

Based on radar imagery and video evidence, a tornado touched down south of Port Orchard shortly before 2 p.m., the National Weather Service in Seattle said on Twitter.

There were no confirmations of injuries, but Bill O’Neil, KOMO-TV’s executive producer, says witnesses have seen some people who appeared to be holding their faces and being led into ambulances.

“This is very preliminary, but it seems at this point the injuries that we’re talking about would be relatively minor,” he says.

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Emily Silverman told the television station KOMO-TV she was driving to a store with her husband at the time.

“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.”

Her 2-year-old son was in the back seat.

“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.”

KOMO-TV reports damage has been reported on Rhapsody Drive and at the Bethel Tavern.

Video from the television station’s helicopter at the scene showed trees down, homes with roofs ripped off and debris scattered across yards.

The weather service said they wouldn’t be able to survey the area before it was dark and that they’d send a team Wednesday morning. They were working with emergency management partners to learn the extent of the damage.

Port Orchard is about 15 miles (24 kilometres) west of Seattle, across Puget Sound.