December 18, 2018 6:17 pm
Updated: December 19, 2018 11:40 am

Tornado touches down in Port Orchard, Wash., leaving damage in its wake

WATCH: Chopper footage shows destroyed properties in Port Orchard, Washington damaged by high winds and a tornado on Tuesday.

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A tornado touched down in the area of Port Orchard, Wash., on Tuesday afternoon.

Homes were damaged and trees uprooted in Kitsap County, west of Seattle, when the tornado touched down just before 2 p.m.

WATCH: Rare tornado leaves path of destruction in Seattle suburb

The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office called the damage “catastrophic,” saying it was contained to neighbourhoods east and south of a Walmart in Port Orchard. Power lines were down and roads were closed in the area, the sheriff’s office said.

“There’s quite a bit of residential damage,” Port Orchard public works director Mark Dorsey said.

“There’s going to be a dozen or so homes that people may not be staying in their house tonight and there’s definitely some commercial properties that sustained damage.”

WATCH: Floyd Parkins joins Jennifer Palma from Washington state after witnessing the tornado that touched down there on Tuesday afternoon. He describes what he saw.

Footage from the region shows homes without roofs and trees that have been uprooted.

“If you’ve seen some of the pictures of roofs torn off and damaged houses and buildings… everybody’s freaking out because, this is Washington,” Dorsey said. “We don’t have tornadoes in Washington.”

WATCH: Tornado causes widespread damage in Washington state

The South Kitsap School District says there are outages in the region and bus routes are delayed.

READ MORE: Alaska earthquake: ‘Major’ damage left by 7.0 magnitude jolt

There are no reports of any injuries at this time.

The sheriff’s department is asking everyone to stay off the roads Lund, Bethel, Salmonberry, Harris and Chase.

All Port Orchard bus service, including Southworth, has been suspended.

Damage from the tornado can be seen in this aerial view. Credit: King 5 News.

King 5 News

In southern B.C., meteorologist Kristi Gordon says there is a risk of thunderstorms Tuesday with some hail possible but nothing like the intensity seen south of the border at this time.

Tornadoes are very rare for B.C.’s South Coast, although not unheard of, adds Gordon. The South Coast may get one tornado every 10 to 15 years.

Washington state averages 2.5 tornadoes a year, but December tornadoes are extremely rare, the National Weather Service service said on Twitter.

— With files from Nadia Stewart and The Associated Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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