Tornado hit Aumsville 5 years ago
KVAL News returned to Aumsville on Monday on the anniversary of the tornado. Story #LiveOnKVAL Monday at 5, 6 and 11
AUMSVILLE, Ore. - The tornado that tore a path across Battle Ground, Wash., last week is not without precedent.
That twister was an EF-1 with winds up to 104 mph.
Five years ago December 14, a more powerful EF-2 tornado tore a path 5 miles long and 150 yards wide across Aumsville, Ore.
As a roar thundered over his Main Street barber shop around noon that Tuesday, Steven Worden looked up from his client's hair and saw a big black cloud come over his shop.
"It started hailing and it got worse then all the sudden the wind started howling, it just got worse and harder and harder and then it just blew the whole roof off," Worden told KVAL News, the first news organization in Oregon on the scene that day. "When the roof came off, it just started swirling, glass started breaking, the TV came down and the air conditioner went with the roof."
David Walker and Loren Ruark from KVAL News happened to be en route to the Oregon Capitol when the tornado hit. KVAL News redirected them to Aumsville, and they arrived minutes after the storm passed.
Up and down Main Street, business owners watched the funnel cloud smash through the town just before noon on Dec. 14, 2010.
The tornado tore a path 5 miles long and 150 yards wide across Oregon, delivering winds estimated at 120 mph, the National Weather Service later determined..
"It was just swirling like in the middle of Main Street," said Sharon Ciampi, who was in her coffee shop at 10th and Main. "It was probably 100 feet wide and 120 feet tall and it was just swirling, like, wow, it's a tornado."
Juanita Nichol was over in Stayon at the Ford dealership when the tornado hit.
She moved to Aumsville in 1942. She are her husband started T G Nichol Plumbing in 1959, and in 1962 they built the building that housed the business - until the tornado.
"I didn't know any of this happened," Nichol told KVAL News. "I just came in and they told me that my building was gone."
A National Weather Service storm survey indicated 110 to 120 mph winds.
The storm damaged 50 structured and injured 2 people. Nearly 3 dozen large trees were uprooted or snapped.
What caused the tornado?
"On December 14, a cold low pressure trough over the Pacific Northwest generated showers and thunderstorms," the National Weather Service said in a report. "A short wave (thought to be a gravity wave generated by a small offshore low that developed in the cold pool behind the main front) rotating through the trough increased convection southeast of Salem shortly before noon. At 11:53 AM, a Severe Thunderstorm Warning was issued based on 88D radar signature combined with a report from the public of some downed trees. At 11:59 PM, the WFO received a report of a tornado touching down from the same convective cell and a Tornado warning was issued at 12:02 PM."
The storm is the most powerful tornado to hit Oregon in recent years. In June 2013, an EF-1 tornado hit McMinnville Oregon. And in November 2009, an EF-0 tornado in Lincoln City damaged several homes. | More Oregon tornado history