In the early afternoon hours of December 18, 2018, a tornado touched down in South Kitsap. Dozens of homes where either destroyed or badly damaged, along with a number of Port Orchard businesses. While the damage to property was substantial, the miracle was there were no fatalities or serious injuries to people living and working in the impacted area.

This day is not only a reminder of those unexpected and destructive winds, it also marked the beginning of a rapid community-wide response support and assistance to those directly impacted. This effort was a collaboration of government, non-profits, local and national businesses, faith-based organizations and caring community members that responded in practical and helpful ways. This response continued for weeks and months and is a testament to the compassion and commitment of the people of Kitsap County. Thank you to all of you who contributed in both big and small ways.

One week ago, the people of Kentucky and surrounding states experienced one of the most devasting tornados in our nation’s history. Thousands of disaster response workers continue to help meet the  basic needs of food and shelter. Others are providing consolation to those who lost friends, neighbors and family members to this deadly storm. May our experience here in Kitsap County remind us that this important work of recovering from a disaster will continue for weeks, months and years – long after the news cameras have moved on to other stories.

On November 8, a tornado warning was issued for parts of Kitsap County. Three years ago there was no warning.  This time cell phones provided many with a warning that there was an eminent danger. Fortunately, a tornado did not touch down this time. Many people and organizations did take protective safety measures included within the alert. We also recognize that tornados have occurred infrequently in Western Washington and we have not provided information about tornado safety in the same way we have promoted earthquake awareness and safety. A good starting point for understanding tornados and how to stay safe can be found on this page from FEMA:

Additionally, FEMA has provided this flyer that can be printed and shared with family, co-workers and clubs and organizations to which you belong: tornado-information-sheet FEMA

fallen trees and response crew at 2018 South Kitsap tornado

South Kitsap 2018 tornado – photo courtesy of Kitsap Sun