Tornado at Manzanita
by Kristen King
On Friday, October 14 there was a tornado in Manzanita, Oregon, a small town of about 600 residents. The tornado reached land at about 8:18 am and reached Manzanita at about 8:20 am. It started as a water spout in the ocean, and made landfall as a tornado.
There were 128 structures in a half-mile stretch from Ocean Beach to Highway 101 that were damaged. Twenty-five to 30 of the buildings that were damaged were houses. Eighteen hundred people lost power in Manzanita and surrounding towns, and did not have power for about three days. The Red Cross opened a shelter at the Calvary Bible Church to help out, but they left because no one needed any medical help. A lot of the people in Manzanita have second homes that are not usually in use during this time of year so most people had a place to stay if their house was ruined. Roughly a third of the town’s trees were destroyed.
Michael Klein, a resident of Manzanita, said that it’s a completely different neighborhood now and that all the big, beautiful trees are gone (source #1). The good thing is that no one got injured during the tornado. Other residents said the tornado looked a lot like the tornado in The Wizard of Oz.
“It was just a normal beach storm, which we get a lot. Then out of nowhere the wind went whoooo, and suddenly the whole sky was filled with debris. It was just crazy and then it just stopped,” said local resident Debbie Harmon (source #2).
The maximum winds ranged from 125 to one 130 miles per hour. A second tornado was spotted 40 minutes later that day in Oceanside, but it didn’t do a lot of damage. Once it reached land, it broke up quickly, but it did knock down some tree limbs. The last time two tornadoes touched down on the same day in Oregon was on November 12, 1991. Ten tornado warnings were issued that Friday morning. The last tornado warning they had was on November 23, 2014. Its maximum width was 225 yards. The maximum winds ranged from 125 to 130 miles per hour. The rating of the tornado was an EF2 on the Fujita Scale. The Fujita Scale is used to gauge a tornado’s severity with numbers from zero to six based on the degree of damage. Oregon has had 106 tornadoes since the1960’s, but only four of them were big enough to actually scale. Tillamook County Sheriff Andy Long says that the tornado was ten streets long and went right through the center of town (source #2).
After the tornado swept through Manzanita, they declared a state of emergency to clean up. A lot of buildings are still deemed “unsafe”. On the positive side though, all but 500 people got their power back early Saturday morning. Resident Jane Wannell said that she always has camping equipment in her house so she was able to have some nice meals, and that they have been getting a lot of help from surrounding villages in Tillamook (source #3). Devon Mersereau noted that he “wouldn’t trade what happened for anything. Because this community comes together, and it’s like magic.”(Source #1). They have cleared most of the roads and the power is back up, but they still have a lot of work to do.