Funnel cloud hits Springfield Monday, damages property

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Springfield resident Phil Port had just woken up from his nap Monday afternoon when he heard whistling sounds coming form outside.

"There was just a pitch black cloud above us and the whole thing was spinning, in a counter clockwise direction," Port said.

When Port saw the stirring in the sky just above his home on D Street, he said he knew instantly what it was.

"It looked like the start of a tornado immediately," Port said.

The National Weather Service did not confirm the storm activity as a tornado, but they did confirm it as a funnel cloud.

Recent weather made possible water spout and cold core funnel cloud formation, forecasters said.

And tornadoes like the one that ravaged Aumsville, Ore., in 2010 are not unheard of in Oregon.

Tornado or not, witnesses described a twister over Springfield.

"A couple hundred feet above this tree right here actually, there was like a cloud just twisting a little bit," said Scott Ericson, a resident who saw the cloud.

The strong wind gusts caused damage to some homes in the area.

The gusts broke a large tree branch and sent it crashing into someone's backyard on 52nd Street.

The storm also ripped off shingles from homes and tilted a car port to its side.

"I can't believe that something that big snapped," Ericson said. "I didn't even hear that break. The wind was so loud that you couldn't even hear the tree snapping."

No one was injured in the storm in Springfield.

Residents added that it's a sight not commonly known in the Willamette Valley.

"It's unusual for around here and you're pretty fortunate to walk out your door and look up in the sky and see a funnel cloud here in Oregon," Ericson said.

The City of Springfield cleaned up some of the debris in the area shortly after the storm hit.