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Surprise! Twister Touches Down in McMinnville (UPDATED WITH VIDEO)Bonnie King Salem-News.com
Developing Story: Hundreds of people are without power and wondering what just happened.
(MCMINNVILLE, Ore.) - A twister struck the city of McMinnville, Oregon, shortly before 5:00 p.m. today, sending cars, roofs and more flying through the air.
One area firefighter tells us he has lived in the area ten years and has never seen anything like this.
Chief Rich Leitfert of the McMinnville Fire Department agrees.
During his career in McMinnville, this has never happened before, confirming that it is a very unusual situation.
Search is Clear
Four McMinnville buildings were affected, Chief Leitfert says fire crews are still performing an assessment of the damaged buildings.
He expressed relief that no local people were hurt, and confirms that all of the damaged buildings are commercial establishments.
"No injuries, all the buildings were cleared, one person was in a building but they were not injured." Leitfert added that crews are working diligently.
The tin roofing material that you can see in the photo below has been cleared from power lines.
Chief Leitfurt says a number of agencies pulled together when the event took place, including McMinnville Police, Public Works and Water.
"A couple of buildings may be uninhabitable," Leitfurt added.
Police and Fire crews are still on the scene where the twister touched down, which is in an area near McMinnville High School.
Cars were "hit" on Lafayette Avenue, and the electricity is out in that area and traffic is being rerouted down 14th Street. No injuries have been reported as of yet.
A local man took a photo of the cloud. "It is a good picture. It just swirled and swirled I've never seen anything like it especially in McMinnville," said Tammy McCarley.
The weather has been wet and sometimes gusty, but this type of occurrence is very rare in the Willamette Valley, in fact it is very unusual for this type of event to take place anywhere in the state of Oregon.
Richard Jones, who lives close by the touch down area, told Salem-News, "I kind of knew that it just didn't look right, it wasn't typical weather. Then there was a big explosion and I watched metal and debris flying in the air. Then I knew for sure what happened."
Like other McMinnville and Yamhill County residents, Jones says it is a different kind of day in this Oregon town.
"It's just ironic for around here is all, I've only seen it once before myself. My dog went nuts, and I have a American pit, so I knew something was up!"
The National Weather Service reports:
Our news photographer Jerry Freeman is on the scene and we will bring his video from the scene to our readers as soon as it is available.
Video from the scene by Salem-News.com's Jerry Freeman:
Bonnie King has been Publisher of Salem-News.com since August '04. She is a photographer and video producer, writer, editor and mother, which she considers her greatest position. Bonnie has served in a number of positions in the broadcast industry; TV Production Manager at KVWB (Las Vegas WB) and Producer/Director for the TV series "Hot Wheels in Las Vegas", posts as TV Promotion Director for KYMA (NBC), and KFBT (Ind.), Asst. Marketing Director (SUPERSHOPPER MAGAZINE), Director/Co-Host (Coast Entertainment Show), Radio Promotion Director (KBCH/KCRF), and Newspapers In Education/Circulation Sales Manager (STATESMAN JOURNAL NEWSPAPER).
Bonnie has a depth of understanding that reaches further than just behind the scenes, and that thoroughness is demonstrated in the perseverance to correctly present each story with the wit and wisdom necessary to compel and captivate viewers and readers alike. An lifetime activist for just causes, she continues to strive to present facts that support Truth, Justice and Peace, as we are in the world to change the world for the better. "TJP"
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