Tornado hit Aumsville, Oregon, on December 14, 2010

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AUMSVILLE, Ore. – As a roar thundered over his Main Street barber shop around noon December 14, 2010, Steven Worden looked up from his client’s hair and saw a big black cloud come over his shop.

“It started hailing and it got worse then all the sudden the wind started howling, it just got worse and harder and harder and then it just blew the whole roof off,” Worden told KVAL News, the first news organization in Oregon on the scene that day. “When the roof came off, it just started swirling, glass started breaking, the TV came down and the air conditioner went with the roof.”

David Walker and Loren Ruark from KVAL News happened to be en route to the Oregon Capitol when the tornado hit.

KVAL News redirected them to Aumsville, and they arrived minutes after the storm passed.

Up and down Main Street, business owners watched the funnel cloud smash through the town just before noon on Dec. 14, 2010.

The tornado tore a path 5 miles long and 150 yards wide across Oregon, delivering winds estimated at 120 mph, the National Weather Service later determined.

“It was just swirling like in the middle of Main Street,” said Sharon Ciampi, who was in her coffee shop at 10th and Main. “It was probably 100 feet wide and 120 feet tall and it was just swirling, like, wow, it’s a tornado.”

Juanita Nichol was over in Stayon at the Ford dealership when the tornado hit.

She moved to Aumsville in 1942. She are her husband started T G Nichol Plumbing in 1959, and in 1962 they built the building that housed the business – until the tornado.

“I didn’t know any of this happened,” Nichol told KVAL News. “I just came in and they told me that my building was gone.”

The storm damaged 50 structured and injured 2 people. Nearly 3 dozen large trees were uprooted or snapped.

What caused the tornado?

“On December 14, a cold low pressure trough over the Pacific Northwest generated showers and thunderstorms,” the National Weather Service said in a report. “A short wave (thought to be a gravity wave generated by a small offshore low that developed in the cold pool behind the main front) rotating through the trough increased convection southeast of Salem shortly before noon. At 11:53 AM, a Severe Thunderstorm Warning was issued based on 88D radar signature combined with a report from the public of some downed trees. At 11:59 PM, the WFO received a report of a tornado touching down from the same convective cell and a Tornado warning was issued at 12:02 PM.”

December 14, 2017

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Kyrie Wagner