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A pedestrian walks with an umbrella near a damaged business, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018, in Port Orchard, Wash., where a tornado touched down Tuesday. A National Weather Service storm damage survey team was working elsewhere in the neighborhood to assess the damage. 
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A pedestrian walks with an umbrella near a damaged business, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018, in Port Orchard, Wash., where a tornado touched down Tuesday. A National Weather Service storm damage survey team was working elsewhere in the neighborhood to assess the damage.
Credit: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Rare tornado touches down near Seattle

A rare tornado touched down on Port Orchard, Washington, just before 2 p.m. on Tuesday, ripping off roof tops and sending debris through the air.

No deaths or injuries were immediately reported.

Samantha Borth, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, confirmed the tornado.

"We cannot say anything about the strength," Borth said. "We're going to send a team out tomorrow to survey the damage."

The Kitsap County Sheriff's Department says about 50 buildings were affected.

Deputy Scott Wilson: "We've got reports of trees down, fences down, travel trailers overturned, that kind of damage and chaos. Now, what we don't have is reports of casualties or injuries at this point."

The National Weather service says rain and thunder is in the forecast for this evening, and another tornado is unlikely. The weather service said it would conduct a tornado survey on Wednesday.

The National Weather Service had earlier reported a high wind watch for that area, with gusts up to 60 miles per hour. Port Orchard is 13 miles across the water from West Seattle, and accessible by commuter ferry.

Washington state averages about 2.5 tornadoes per year, but always very minor.

In 1972, a deadly tornado hit an elementary school in Vancouver, Washington, near the Oregon border, and was the deadliest tornado that year.