Dec. 18 (UPI) -- A rare December tornado touched down in Western Washington on Tuesday, heavily damaging several homes and toppling trees.
Video from a KOMO-TV helicopter showed homes with roofs ripped off and debris scattered across yards, including trees.
"[Authorities] and several fire agencies have responded to a weather event that has caused catastrophic damage in the Port Orchard area," the Kitsap County Sheriff's Office said in a post on Twitter. "Most of the damage is contained to the area and neighborhoods east and south of Walmart. Active power lines are down and gas companies are checking their supply lines for leaks."
Port Orchard is 15 miles southwest of Seattle by ferry.
Some witnesses reported seeing people injured.
"Me and my husband were driving on the way to the store and it's raining and it's pouring down really bad and before you know it everything was flying everywhere," Emily Silverman told KOMO-TV. "Our car back windows blew out, our side windows blew out. Things hit us -- there were a few people who had some head injuries from being hit by things. A car got pushed into a back... there was an accident. It was crazy. There were things flying everywhere. I thought I was a goner."
The National Weather Service confirmed it was a tornado, based on radar and damage reports, and said it would send a damage survey team to the area Wednesday for an official rating.
The NWS tweeted: "How rare are tornadoes in Washington? On average, the state averages 2.5 tornadoes a year. December tornadoes are even more rare, averaging just 0.1 a year."
KING-TV reported most twisters happen in the eastern part of the state.
"Based on radar, it seemed pretty quick and isolated, there have been no other reports of damage," MWS meteorologist Jeff Michalski told KING-TV. "That's the nature of these types of storms."
Michalski said the winds and rain appeared to break off a larger thunderstorm line through the Puget Sound region and targeted that one area. Circulating winds combined and merged to form rotation.