Spokane tornado hit 80 mph, gets EF-0 rating

SPOKANE, Wash.– The National Weather Service in Spokane found almost three miles worth of damage from the two May 6 tornadoes.

Both twisters were rated EF0, which means wind speeds in the tornadoes were between 65 and 85 mph. This comes from a report released to the public one week after the tornadoes hit.

Ah Tornado

The first tornado touched down at 7:03 pm near West Greenwood Road north of Airway Heights and traveled west to east for nine-tenths of a mile before lifting at 7:06. Trees and power poles were snapped, but no structures were damaged.

On May 7, the NWS said that eyewitness video proved that this storm damage was indeed from a tornado when on Friday night it was thought the damage came from straight-line wind gusts. The estimated peak winds in this tornado were 70 mph.

East Spo Tornado

Geodata from NWS Spokane

The rotating storm that produced the tornado in Airway Heights then moved over Spokane. The second tornado first touched down at 7:17 pm near the intersection of East 9th Avenue and South Cuba Street; five blocks east of Freya and south of I-90 in East Central Spokane.

Over the next seven minutes the tornado would skip across neighborhoods like a rock skipping across a pond, touching down, lifting, and touching down again.

The NWS says it identified four distinct areas of touchdown along the two-mile path of the tornado. Snapped trees and damaged roofs were found on 6th Avenue between Havana and Carnahan. The tornado lifted again before its worst damage path from 4th Avenue and McKinnon Road east to the Spokane Club. The final touchdown of the tornado came along 5th Avenue between Coleman and Grand. The peak winds in this tornado were 80 mph.

Enhanced Fujita scale for tornado damage

NOAA

These are the 14th and 15th tornadoes on record in Spokane County since 1950. The last tornado in the county before these two was near Airway Heights in August 2016.

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