Freak Oregon Storms Bring Tornado, Minor Floods and Mountain Snow
|Downtown Portland shoppers were treated to a rainbow in between rain squalls Saturday.
(Portland, Oregon) - You can't say the state of Oregon was boring this past weekend, with a series of storm systems bringing good and bad news to various parts of the region. The snow sports industry is in love with the weekend snowfall, Portland streets experienced some flooding, and the coast was hit with a tornado, among other bizarre conditions.
Snow levels dropped to around 3,500 feet over the weekend, freezing some passes in Oregon as well as Washington.
18 inches of snow fell on Mount Hood in the latter part of the week, up until Saturday, making good news for skiers with a 36-inch base. Timberline Lodge opened for business this weekend to an extremely happy ski industry. (See full Oregon weather coverage)
Mount Hood Meadows had 11 inches of snow fall in a 24-hour period over the weekend. Mount Hood is the first of five major ski resorts in Oregon to open.
Last year, the ski season opened very late, and then so much snow hit around Christmas time that it was actually too much for travelers.
Heavy snow caused one family of seven to get stuck in the mountains around Breitenbush Lake. Mark Shaver of Eagle Creek and his seven children were reported missing on Saturday, having started out on Tuesday, November 3 they were expected back by Saturday.
Searchers from the Marion County Sheriff's Office began looking Saturday but had to suspend the search around 9:15 p.m.
“Search and Rescue members used snowmobiles to search for the family and at 7:23 a.m. Sunday the family was located and all were found to be in good condition,” said the sheriff’s office. “According to deputies and searchers on scene, there was at least 16 inches of snow in the area and the Shaver's Astro van got stuck in the snow and was unable to drive out of the area.”
In Portland, over an inch of rain fell in the form of various heavy squalls on Saturday. Downtown Portland was lighter than usual when it came to traffic, although the many shoppers braving the weather created a sea of umbrellas walking the streets.
|Depoe Bay's spouting horn went bonkers this weekend
At one point, the rains and skies calmed for a while, with the skies parting just enough to bring a rather spectacular rainbow to the downtown area.
Washington Square was filled to the brim with shoppers, obviously not willing to deal with the rain.
Almost an inch fell in a six-hour period on Saturday. Driving throughout the metro area was precarious at times, when the heaviest downpours made it difficult to see. Those squalls caused havoc with some of the area’s drains, clogging them with leaves and other debris, and leaving numerous Portland streets flooded.
Some streets were closed or adversely affected by high water, including SW 92nd Avenue from Division to Powell, SW Macadam at Carolina Street, parts of Naito Parkway, Northeast Lloyd Boulevard, SE Grand Avenue, and in Beaverton parts of the Home Depot store was blocked off for a time.
On the Oregon coast, where bizarre weather moments are the norm during storm season, a rare tornado hit the town of Lincoln City on Friday night, cutting a swatch of destruction for about two blocks.
“At about 9:54 p.m., residents of the Roads End residential area, just north of Lincoln City, near the Chinook Winds Casino, reported seeing a large waterspout tornado move onshore and through a section of the community,” the Lincoln County sheriff’s office said in a press release.
|Tornado damage at Lincoln City (courtesy Lincoln County Sheriff's office)
No was injured, but one house was seriously damaged and the neighboring home had its deck lifted up by the winds and it was slammed against the side of the house.
The National Weather Service said that tornado probably had winds of around 85 mph, and power was knocked out to around 350 homes in the area for a day.
Tornados are rare in Oregon and extremely rare on the coast, although not without precedent.
The National Weather Service said in January 1996, also in Lincoln City, what is believed to be a tornado hit the town, lifting a trailer up and dropped it on an adjacent mobile home. That and a massive electrical storm created other damage. More bizarre is the fact it pulled fish from the ocean and dropped them in a parking lot.
Lightning struck the bridge in Waldport earlier on Friday evening, and other oceanic oddities have been seen all week. Read more on this...