Tornado rips through downtown Longview; 'I couldn't believe what - KPTV - FOX 12

Tornado rips through downtown Longview; 'I couldn't believe what I was seeing'

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Plenty of people were picking up the pieces Thursday in Longview after a tornado damaged at least eight buildings, took out power lines and toppled trees.

The reports of the tornado started coming in around 1 p.m. Longview authorities urged people to avoid the area of Vandercook Way from 7th Avenue to 12th Avenue due to damaged property and downed power lines.

By Thursday evening, the National Weather Service ruled it was an EF1 tornado. FOX 12 meteorologists said it was the strongest in the area in around four years. 

Claire Hauge at the Emergency Operation Center of Cowlitz County reported that while the tornado only spread a few blocks, it caused damage to roofs, shattered windows and knocked down trees.

Witnesses described it as an "incredible" sight.

"I walked out the front door as it went by and I could not believe what I was seeing," said Steve Harding, service manager at Sterling Honda.

The showroom is surrounded by huge pieces of glass, but only one window was fractured, Harding said.

No employees at Sterling Honda were injured and there have been no confirmed reports of any injuries connected to the tornado.

"Thank goodness nobody's been injured that I've been made aware of," Harding said.

One person in the area said the noises from the storm were shocking.

"There was like this roaring sound over the top of us," said Cindy Strange from the Momma Made It quilt store.

Students had just finished up recess at Kessler Elementary School and were back in the building when the tornado hit nearby. Administrators said everyone was safe and there was no damage to the school.

It had been business as usual at Big Town Hero, when workers started noticing plenty of people looking up at the sky.

Employee Maggie Dills said everyone went outside to see what was happening, and they immediately noticed papers swirling in the air.

They then walked down the street and saw the destruction the tornado had caused on Vandercook Way.

PHOTOS: Tornado hits Longview, leaves behind damage

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