Thursday, June 4, 2009
Severe weather alerts across Oregon
SALEM, Ore. – A series of powerful and dangerous thunderstorms began roaring through western Oregon Thursday afternoon, prompting multiple warnings from the National Weather Service. A rare Tornado warning was issued briefly for parts of Marion County. In a rare move, the Rose Festival announced the closure of the Waterfront Village for the remainder of the evening. East of Salem, Highway 22 was delayed at Mill City due to multiple trees down along the highway. In Stayton, the Fire Department reported isolated trees and power lines down. In Albany, a KGW viewer captured a photo of lightning strikes over the city. ODOT reported trees down on Hwy 213 near Silverton. The right lane of I-5 NB was blocked by a downed tree at MP 268 was between Woodburn and Salem. KGW Chief Meteorologist Matt Zaffino said the storms were coming off the Cascades foothills and developing very rapidly. The storm was also causing power outages across western Oregon. At 5 p.m., PGE estimated that about 18,000 customers were without power Zaffino said the storms were developing at nearly 30,000 feet -- making an intense combination of wind, hail, rain and lightning. An intense line of radar activity could be seen from the Oregon Coast, through Albany and across the Cascade Range. The threat of thunderstorms was expected to last through about 9 p.m. A 14-year-old La Pine boy was in fair condition in a Portland hospital Thursday after he was struck by lightning on Wednesday outside a high school gymnasium in LaPine in Central Oregon. More than 5,000 lightning strikes were recorded across the state on Wednesday.