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Tornado caps off weekend of severe, record-breaking weather in western Washington

Photos posted on social media show cars damaged, trees down and the roof partly blown off at Northwest Door, a manufacturing plant. (Twitter: Central Pierce Fire and Rescue)
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Weather experts have confirmed a tornado touched down in Pierce County Monday morning near the Boeing plant in Frederickson.

Photos posted on social media show cars damaged, trees down and the roof partly blown off at Northwest Door, a manufacturing plant.

"It looked from the inside like a wave going along. You could actually see the roof flexing," Northwest Door President Jeff Hohman said.

"We're seeing a swath of damage that is about a mile-and-a-half long," said Central Pierce Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief Ed Hrivnak.

Boeing is reporting damage at its production plant, including windows blown off of cars in the parking lot. Some train cars were blown over, according to reports sent to the National Weather Service.

No Boeing employees were hurt and operations have returned to normal. One building received slight damage and the company is asking employees to use caution as they arrive for work.

The tornado also ripped off one-third of the roof and destroyed a metal garage door at a tent-like structure in Frederickson where a company called EnCon is welding rebar cages for use in the tunnel project under downtown Seattle. Project manager Kasandra Paholsky said the damage forced work to halt but ultimately will not affect the schedule for digging the Highway 99 tunnel.

Washington may get a tornado or two every year, but they are usually small. One of the largest was an F3 in 1972 in Vancouver that killed six people.

The NWS reports the weekend storm has made this the wettest September on record in Olympia and the second-wettest in Seattle.

By 3 a.m. Monday the rainfall total at Olympia was 7.98 inches, breaking the old record of 7.59 set in September of 1978. The normal for the month is 1.71 in Olympia.

At Sea-Tac Airport, the monthly total by 3 a.m. Monday was 5.60 inches, second to 5.95 inches in September 1978. Normal for the month is 1.50 inches.

The totals are more like the totals for December and January.

Meteorologist Dana Felton at the Weather Service office in Seattle says the weekend storm was more like the storms the Northwest sees in late fall and early winter.

Forecasters say cool, unsettled weather will last through the middle of the week.

KING 5 meteorologist Rich Marriott had a positive outlook on the weather as the week goes on.

"We'll be looking for things to improve over the next few days and even be looking for some sunshine as we head towards the end of the week."

The Associated Press, KIRO Radio's Tim Haeck, and's Stephanie Klein and Alyssa Kleven contributed to this report.


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