A small tornado swept through McMinnville, Oregon on Thursday, doing considerable damage to property and businesses.
While tornadoes occur mostly in the midwest and southern states, occasionally one will pop up on the West Coast. Strong storms have been moving through the country after a system with strong winds--called a derecho--passed through several states and caused widespread damage.
"It's a cluster of thunderstorms that congeal into a line, and that line will then start moving east or southeast, and as it progresses the winds increase and produce damage along that path," said Jim Keeney, weather program manager at the National Weather Service's office in Kansas City, Mo."If they do form winds in excess of 75 miles an hour, we're talking significant tree damage. Some derechos can be in excess of 90 miles an hour, this is getting into more structural damage, roof damage and things of that nature, so it's something people have to be more watchful for."
Indeed, the tornado that hit McMinnville--though only registering as an F1 on the Fujita scale--did some damage; residents today are cleaning up the mess and trying to salvage what they can.
"People heard it all over town," businessman Dave Lewis said.
Several commercial buildings and at least one home were damaged in the winds, and witnesses said they saw the funnel cloud on the ground for around five minutes. Debris from rooftops fell on power lines, knocking out the electricity for three hours.