by Scott Sistek
PORT ORCHARD, Wash. (CIRCA VIA KOMO) -- A strong tornado touched down near Port Orchard, a town across the Puget Sound from Seattle, on Tuesday afternoon, heavily damaging several homes and toppling trees.
Some minor injuries have been reported, but no one has needed hospitalization, according to Poulsbo Fire.
"KCSO, Port Orchard PD and several fire agencies have responded to a weather event that has caused catastrophic damage in the Port Orchard area," the Kitsap County Sheriff's Office said. "Most of the damage is contained to the area and neighborhoods east and south of WalMart."
Deputies say active power lines are down and now report no gas leaks were discovered.
"Mutual aid units from from all over the county, plus aid from Pierce County, are responding to assist going door to door," fire officials said.
The tornado touched down around 1:45 p.m. then went northeast into several neighborhoods, rendering some homes uninhabitable, according to Deputy Sheriff Scott Wilson with the Kitsap County Sheriff's Office.
"We're going inside that area going house to house asking those inside to voluntarily evacuate until the scene has been deemed clear," Wilson said. "We're going to bring in search and rescue dogs to make sure everyone is accounted for."
Emily Silverman was caught in the tornado as she was driving with her husband and 2-year-old son.
"And it's raining and it's pouring down really bad and before you know it everything was flying everywhere," she said. "Our car back windows blew out, our side windows blew out. Things hit us -- there were a few people who had some head injuries from being hit by things. A car got pushed into a back... there was an accident. It was crazy. There were things flying everywhere. I thought I was a goner."
She had her 2-year-old son in the back seat.
"So glad he's OK because the whole back window just busted in," Silverman said. "If it kept going and didn't leave as fast as it did, he could have been hurt really bad."
Video from KOMO's news helicopter at the scene shows a number of trees down and homes with roofs ripped off and debris scattered across yards.
"There's roof ripped off of things. There's windows bashed in. There's (power) lines down everywhere. It's just a mess," Silverman said. "There's big chunks of metal everywhere. It's just bad. It's really bad."
John Mueller was at work at a shipyard when he saw the social media video of the tornado and knew instantly it was his red home. He raced home to find heavy damage.
"If I could describe the house, it would be roofless," Mueller said. "The entire upstairs is gone. There's 2x4 and 4x4s sticking out of the walls. Glass shattered everywhere. The downstairs is just full of water and broken glass.... I think (the tornado) landed on top of the house. There's no garage door...there's nothing left."