It's official: Tornado destroys barn in Moses Lake

It's official: Tornado destroys barn in Moses Lake
MOSES LAKE, Wash. -- The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado touched down near Moses Lake Wednesday evening.

The report states the 300 foot-wide tornado touched down about five miles northeast of Moses Lake, lifted up a horse barn off its foundation and dropped it some 30 feet away.

Property owner Rick Call said the conditions outside changed in the blink of an eye.

"I went out to feed the horses at about 15 after 6, and it was very calm. It was drizzling just a little bit," he said. "By the time I loaded up to feed the horses, I got out to the gate and it started blowing. I looked to the south, and the tornado touched down, probably 100, 150 yards from me.

"By the time I got the horses fed - it wasn't even 30 seconds - it was right on me."

Call said he watched in disbelief as the funnel cloud lifted his barn some 20 feet high in the air.

"It didn't just lay it over; it picked it up and moved it. It moved it probably about 30 to 40 feet," he said. "The whole barn lifted up. It snapped the timbers and everything."

The barn owner said he scrambled to run back into his house as his four horses frantically ran about.

"By that time, I couldn't even see. There was so much stuff moving in the air, I couldn't even see'em," he said.

The horses survived, but Call said he came very close to losing them during the storm. He said they'd followed him out of the barn just moments before it flew away, because they were expecting to be fed.

"When they see me out to feed, they head out to eat," he said. "If I would've took 10 minutes longer in my (saddle) shop, I would've probably lost my horses."

The horses were spared, but the barn was not. Call said the barn, which used to stand about 80 feet long and 50 feet wide, is now in pieces.

"There's nothing even sticking up. It just moved it all over the place," he said. "I've got to get that mess cleaned up, because, you know, there's a lot of nails. And I need to get that cleaned up before the horses step on'em."

And Call fears the tornado may have claimed a few other casualties.

"Every year, we have two crows come in (to the barn), have their babies in there. And they're still in there. And hopefully, we can get in there tomorrow and find them babies, and hopefully, we can get'em situated," he said.

But Call is keeping his hopes up for the birds.

"Just that one end where the crows were - it's kind of still standing there. It's laid over, but it's still upright just a little bit. And that nest might still be in there," he said.

A line of thunderstorms pushed through Eastern Washington on Wednesday evening. In the Spokane area, winds with those storms gusted near 50 mph.

It's estimated the reported tornado traveled a little farther than one-half mile, and was only on the ground for about five minutes.