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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Rare tornado touches down near Richland

UPDATED: Tue., March 31, 2020

Tri-City Herald

RICHLAND – A small tornado appeared to touch down just north of Richland on Tuesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

The agency was emailed photos and videos that show a rotating dark cloud column that appears to touch the ground.

Meteorologists checked their radar images and saw possible evidence of a tornado between 2:30 and 2:45 p.m.

Shawn Alton was taking pictures of the dramatic spring cloud formations against a blue sky above the Tri-Cities on Tuesday afternoon. About 1 p.m. she posted a photo of the clouds, saying, “I love spring weather!”

About an hour and a half later, she just happened to look up and see the tornado and captured some video of the dark funnel.

Some jokesters on social media were calling it the coronado, because people spotted it as they were staying home in response to the new coronavirus pandemic.

People in Benton City reported a hail storm and strong winds between 3 and 3:30 p.m.

There were no reports of any injuries or damage from the tornado.

Tornadoes are rare in Washington, including around the Mid-Columbia.

A tornado touched down just west of Seattle in December 2018.

In May 2006, the Umatilla Chemical Depot in Eastern Oregon received an unconfirmed report of a tornado touching down near the former nerve agent storage area. Farmers in the area made similar reports.

In June 2004, a series of three small tornadoes touched down in Washington, with the closest one to the Tri-Cities southwest of Prosser, just across the Yakima County line.

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