Tornado confirmed to have touched down in Gig Harbor

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PIERCE COUNTY — People in Gig Harbor were convinced that a tornado touched down on Sunday, causing trees to fall and power to go out — right in the middle of the NFC Championship game.

Downtown wasn’t hit too badly — there were limbs and debris scattered on the ground and several kayaks were tossed into the water. But one neighborhood a couple miles away were dealing with a big mess.

“You couldn’t even walk, you had to climb over everything,” said Renee Lebeau, “You couldn’t see the road at all.”

Several trees covered 72nd Avenue Northwest on Sunday afternoon. Huge trees fell onto the roadway making it impassible for cars.

Neighbor Joe Lebeau said the winds were twisting debris everywhere.

“Swirling in a circular pattern,” he said.

Tom Greetham shot cell phone video of what looks like a waterspout near Henderson Bay. He said it happened about the same time that people in Gig Harbor heard the winds roaring.

By Monday morning, neighbors had cleared the road but there was plenty of work left to do.

Joe Lebeau said it’s the worst storm he had seen in 30 years.

“I’ve never seen it before and I’ll probably never experience it again,” he said, “It’s just a once in a life time deals.”

Neighbor Sarah Thorpe said she was gone when the winds came blowing through, leaving trees blocking her driveway, but she returned to find trees down and her home damaged.

“I went upstairs to change and there’s fresh air coming in through the skylight that had blown off,” she said.

The National Weather Service sent out a team to survey the damage, and Monday night they confirmed it had been a tornado.

"Storm survey completed. Gig Harbor tornado yesterday determined to be EF1 at its maximum strength. Path length just over 4 miles," NWS Seattle said.

There were no reports of injuries.

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