A funnel-shaped cloud that touched down near Anderson Island shortly after noon Saturday prompted the National Weather Service to issue an emergency tornado warning for Pierce County.
Several golfers at The Home Course in DuPont spotted a rotating black cloud about five miles to the northwest.
Ron Hagen said he’d seen tornadoes only in movies or in a picture before. The course’s player assistant called Hagen to warn him of a dark, ominous cloud.
“He said ‘There’s a twister,’ ” Hagen said of the call. “I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
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Then the funnel just disappeared, he said.
“It was just eerie, the way it all happened — and it passed so quickly,” Hagen said. “Is this the way it’s really like in the Midwest?”
While it brought a heavy outburst of rain to portions of the county, no tornado developed and, according to the Pierce County Department of Emergency Management, no damage was reported.
The Weather Service issued the warning after two trained weather spotters reported seeing the funnel cloud, or “waterspout,” in Puget Sound. At 12:10 p.m., one of the spotters reported a brief touchdown of a waterspout west of Anderson Island.
At 12:20 p.m., another spotter reported the waterspout and also reported lowering of clouds and possible rotation between Steilacoom and University Place while driving north on Interstate 5 around Exit 120.
Some Pierce and Thurston county residents received this disconcerting message from the Weather Service on their smartphones: “Tornado warning this area til 12:30 PM PDT. Take shelter now. Check local media. NWS.”
According to reports, Western Washington hadn’t seen a tornado warning for more than 17 years.