SLIDESHOW: Funnel cloud batters rural property

Curtis Stergion's home was damaged by a tree that was snapped off by Sunday's funnel cloud.

Sunday afternoon’s wild weather left trees toppled and some roofs ruined as a tornado – or what was believed to be a tornado, at least – zig-zagged its way through a rural Enumclaw neighborhood.

The funnel cloud that had plenty of witnesses was not immediately termed a tornado by the National Weather Service, as no staff members were on duty due to the Labor Day holiday.

But there was no mistaking the funnel cloud for those who were witness to its damage.

“I saw it,” said Ti Hendershot, an employee of GE and B Nursery, who was standing with Garry Horton in the showroom when the wind started to kick up.

“The width of the funnel cloud was the size of our showroom,” Hendershot said.

The tornado uprooted trees on the property, swept the plastic sheeting from a number of greenhouses, set tree branches flying and left a swath of tipped-over shrubs in its wake.

The nursery is on Southeast 400th Street.

Not far away, Chuck Bender watched the events unfold.

“It was kind of crazy,” he said. Bender was sitting at a desk, looking out windows facing to the east, “and all of a sudden, trees started flying around the front of my house. It kind of came out of nowhere.”

Cruising his neighborhood around Westwood Elementary School after the funnel cloud disappeared, Bender took inventory. One neighbor told of a tin roof pulled from an outbuilding and flung 150 feet. He saw where trees had spun in the ground, root systems and all. Trees perhaps 18 inches across were bent and broken. In one case, a tree was snapped and fell onto a neighbor’s home.

Tornado damage wasn’t limited to areas on the King County side of the White River.

Buckley residents Art and Shirley Kaelin were away from the acreage they’ve called home for more than 60 years when an isolated tornado ripped apart their barn and toppled equipment.

There were no reported injuries from Sunday’s weather events.

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