A landspout tornado touched down outside Richland, NWS confirms

Tornado Wset Richland
Photo courtesy of Nancy Pierce

RICHLAND, Wash. — A landspout tornado touched down outside Richland on Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service in Pendleton confirmed.

NWS Meteorologist Joe Solomon said based on footage and other data, the tornado appears to have formed around 2:30 p.m. just north of Richland and traveled east, possibly crossing the Columbia River into Franklin County near Pasco.

Weather experts are trying to determine if the tornado caused any damage.

“A landspout is a tornado with a narrow, rope-like condensation funnel that forms while the thunderstorm cloud is still growing and there is no rotating updraft – the spinning motion originates near the ground,” according to NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory.

It’s not uncommon for funnel clouds and occasionally tornadoes to form around this time of year, but they are generally weak and rarely cause much damage, Solomon said.

Chamise Hartman, a Prosser resident, captured video of the weather event from the At Home parking lot off Columbia Center Boulevard in Kennewick.