NWS confirms tornado in Spokane, photos show flipped trailers and downed trees

Baseball fans were in for more than just peanuts and Cracker Jacks at Friday’s Spokane Indians game as a tornado was spotted near the field.

Brian Stern and his sons were in a covered area when they noticed a funnel coming out of the sky.

"Lightning started, and [I] noticed the circulation in the clouds," Stern said. "My boys noticed it as well."

They watched as the tornado formed near the field.

"It was a pretty surreal moment," he said.

The National Weather Service in Spokane said that the tornado touched down near I-90. They received reports of trees down and two trailers flipped.

"Tornadoes are not something you usually associate with Spokane," Stern said.

And he’s right.

"On average, the state of Washington will see one to two tornadoes per year," NWS Spokane says.

Friday's tornado was the first in Spokane County since August 9, 2016. Since 1950, there have only been 13 reported tornados, most of them registering as EF0.

Stern and his boys say that while there was a rain delay for the field, he was disappointed that there wasn’t a warning for tornadoes.

"There was no announcement, no alerts on phones, etc," Stern said. "That part was rather unsettling."

The NWS issued a Special Weather Statement for strong thunderstorms in the area, but Stern says the field made no mention.

"Would have been nice to have a couple of minutes warning," he said. "Now I understand why a few minutes makes a difference."

The National Weather Service said the tornado was confirmed on radar, but it showed a weak rotation and didn't issue a warning because the signature on radar was so brief.  

His kids were pretty shaken up after seeing the funnel, but Stern used it as a learning moment.

"It was a good teaching point. How to maintain your cool and collective in a chaotic situation," Stern says. "Gotta get those leadership traits going and how to be safe."

Photos from Spokane Valley Fire Department show downed trees and flipped over mobile homes and vehicles. Thunderstorms and heavy wind swept through the area as well during Friday's weather event. 

Deputy Fire Chief Greg Rogers says no one was injured. The exact weather cause is still being determined.

Image 1 of 4

Spokane Valley Fire Department