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Port Orchard picking up the pieces after ‘stronger than normal’ tornado destroys homes

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. -- The National Weather Service is on the ground in Port Orchard to determine how strong the tornado was that ripped through neighborhoods Tuesday afternoon and caused significant damage.

Logan Johnson with NWS Seattle said crews will be following the path of the storm, seeing how strong it was at various points, and ultimately giving it a number on the Enhanced Fujita scale, which rates the intensity of tornadoes.

Johnson said tornadoes are rather rare in Western Washington, averaging about one a year. The last one was in March 2017 in Monroe.

This tornado was stronger than the typical Western Washington tornado, and it happened when a thunderstorm coming in off the ocean encountered a "favorable wind shear environment."

Meanwhile, Port Orchard residents and business owners are left picking up the pieces.

The Red Cross opened a shelter that housed seven people overnight, and restaurants like That One Place are opening their doors and offering free meals to those affected.

Officials said 400-450 homes will be surveyed for damage.

No injuries have been reported, and for all involved, that's the most important take away.

"The fact that there are no injuries is very fortunate. That’s the best possible outcome," Johnson said. 

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