Spokane tornado reaches 80 mph and earns EF-0 rating

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SPOKANE, Wash. – The National Weather Service in Spokane has discovered nearly three miles of damage from the two May 6 tornadoes.

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

Oh Tornado

The first tornado touched down at 7:03 p.m. near West Greenwood Road north of Airway Heights and moved west to east nine-tenths of a mile before lifting at 7:06 a.m. Trees and poles electrics were broken, but no structures were damaged.

On May 7, the NWS said eyewitness video proved damage from the storm was indeed from a tornado, while Friday night damage was thought to be from straight-line gusts of wind. Estimated peak winds in this tornado were 70 mph.

Spo East Tornado

NWS Spokane Geodata

The rotating storm that produced the tornado in Airway Heights then moved into Spokane. The second tornado first touched down at 7:17 p.m. 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 leap through neighborhoods like a rock leaping across a pond, landing, lifting, and landing again.

The NWS says it has identified four distinct touchdown zones along the tornado’s two-mile path. Broken 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 tornado’s final touchdown occurred along 5th Avenue between Coleman and Grand. Peak winds in this tornado were 80 mph.

Improved Fujita scale for tornado damage


These are the 14th and 15th tornadoes recorded in Spokane County since 1950. The county’s last tornado before these two occurred near Airway Heights in August 2016.

RELATED: Spokane Area Tornado Radar Analysis

RELATED: ‘A Wild Experiment’: Tornado Damages Spokane Valley Homes, Cars


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