Port Orchard residents are still recovering from the EF-2 tornado that touched down on the afternoon of December 18. Amazingly, no one was killed or seriously hurt, but the storm devastated homes and property in the area.
The National Weather Service reports the tornado reached speeds of 120-130 mph. It measured between 250 and 300 yards wide, starting on Geiger Road about two miles south of Port Orchard, and ending on Southeast Kerri Court, about two miles southeast of Port Orchard. It traveled 1.4 miles.
Kitsap County Emergency Management reports 20 homes are red-tagged, meaning uninhabitable. Another 28 homes have yellow tags, indicating significant damage to the structure. In all, approximately 250 structures were damaged in the storm.
Resources have been mobilized to assist residents impacted by the storm.
Displaced families can contact the American Red Cross for immediate assistance, including emergency lodging, by calling 1-800-295-3717.
According to Kitsap County Emergency Management, homeowners can also receive free assistance on damaged homes or property from Team Rubicon by calling 360-525-4978 or emailing joseph.crossgraves@Teamrubiconusa.org.
Kitsap County commissioners on Wednesday approved the formal declaration that is necessary to qualify Kitsap for federal disaster assistance. The chance of receiving that aid depends on if the tornado damage meets certain federal thresholds.
Elizabeth Klute, the director of the Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management, said the state has been tallying damage from an ongoing series of emergencies and warnings from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The tornado in Port Orchard is going into that tally.
Right now, the total damage does not meet the federal threshold, but Kulte said the county should know about federal assistance by the beginning of the new year.
Volunteers and community members have also stopped by the center offering donations of food, clothing, empty boxes, and even pictures with Santa Claus.