The National Weather Service confirmed an EF1 tornado Thursday afternoon at 4:33 p.m. in McMinnville. Winds were estimated to be 86-110 mph. The tornado is further classified as a cold core funnel. The twister was produced by the cold upper level low responsible for today's heavy showers and small hail. I spoke with the Weather Service to confirm that no warning was issued. Doppler radar briefly showed rotation during one scan and then nothing. In other words, radar operators only saw a quick bleep, which would rarely, if ever, alert a meteorologist to issue a warning solely based on radar data.
Today's severe weather is a reminder that due to the weak and isolated nature of Northwest tornadoes, warnings are very rare. The good news is that cold core tornadoes in our region are typically the weakest two categories of the EF tornado scale.
There were several reports of funnel clouds today, meaning the funnel stayed high and did not touch down. One funnel observed at 1:13 pm south of Corvallis lasted for 3 minutes. A second funnel cloud was spotted from the Hillsboro airport at 5:05 pm. Today's funnel clouds are a good lesson that when our weather is unstable with heavy showers due to a cold upper level low, tornadoes and micro-strong wind events can develop and we should all keep an eye to the sky.
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KGW Meteorologist Rod Hill, follow me @