Last night, around 5:30 pm, a tornado hit Northeast Portland, uprooting trees and pulling bricks out of chimneys and shingles off roofs.

It is the second tornado to hit the metro area in nine months but only the fifth tornado in Portland history.

Experts suggest caution before drawing any link between global climate catastrophe and this element of freakish local weather.

Tornado damage in Northeast Portland. July 1, 2019. (Julie Showers)
Tornado damage in Northeast Portland. July 1, 2019. (Julie Showers)

Matthew Cullen, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service Portland, says that "looking at the impact of what a changing climate might do [to weather patterns] there is not a strong link with tornadoes."

NWS reported that the tornado was rated EF-0, the lowest on a scale of 0 to 5, and touched down for about 1 mile between Northeast 10th Avenue and Wygant Street and Northeast 29th Avenue and Skidmore Street.

Surveyors estimate wind gusts reached 80 mph based on damage they observed.

Tornado damage in Northeast Portland. July 1, 2019. (Julie Showers)
Tornado damage in Northeast Portland. July 1, 2019. (Julie Showers)

North Portland was last hit with a tornado on October 28, 2018. That storm was "brief, short-lived," snapping a few tree trunks and overturning an 18-wheeler, says Cullen.

There been five recorded tornadoes in Portland since 1900. The strongest, rated EF-3, was in April, 1972. It started in Portland crossed over into Vancouver.

"People should be aware that there are many weather hazards in the Northwest," Cullen says. "There's of course the potential for a big earthquake and tsunami. Tornadoes are just one more possible threat to be aware of."