MASON COUNTY, Wash. — A path of destruction followed a tornado that hit Western Washington. It ripped trees out of the ground and destroyed at least one building. Video shows the moment the tornado hit water Friday night.
Tornadoes are a rare sight in these parts.
So, Tayler Geiger grabbed her phone as she saw the funnel cloud making its way across Pickering Passage in Shelton.
"And we heard some thunder, thought maybe there was a storm coming," Geiger said. "And then all of a sudden, see a water spout and a tornado happening across the way."
Her first thought was that it was indeed a tornado.
"I've seen videos of tornadoes before," she said. "It's never, never something you expect to see here. But crazy things happen, I guess."
Carly Kovacik, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, says the conditions were right Friday night for a tornado.
"We had an area of low pressure that was moving overhead, which is usually conducive to unstable conditions," Kovacik said. "And in such an environment, you can get rotation on storms. And that's in this case what happened."
Still, they had to send a crew to confirm their suspicion and determine where on the Enhanced Fujita or EF scale the tornado fell.
"In this case, it was more from what we were seeing with the uprooted trees and some of the damage on those few homes," she said. "It was evidence of wind speeds in the 90-100 mile-an-hour range, which would be more EF-1 damage."
Tayler Geiger saw it all.
"It's cool to be able to watch," she said. "But it's also kind of nerve-wracking because you realize that's someone's home, someone's yard. That's someone's stuff flying and going into the water."
The good news is that no one was hurt in any of this. That tornado was on the ground for just five minutes. The National Weather Service says that is too short a time to even issue a warning that one is coming.
And they say looking at the forecast, they don't expect another one any time soon.
See raw video below of a waterspout dissipating near Shelton. Video provided by Tayler Geiger.
© 2020 Cox Media Group