Richland tornado
© Chamise Hartman
Chamise Hartman of the Tri-Cities captured this view of the tornado Tuesday from the parking lot of the At Home store near the Columbia Center mall in Kennewick.
A small tornado appeared to touch down near north Richland on Tuesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

The agency was emailed photos and videos that show a rotating dark cloud column that appears to touch the ground.

Meteorologists checked their radar images and saw possible evidence of a tornado between 2:30 and 2:45 p.m.

"As best we can tell from reports and our own data, it was brief and weak," according to the weather service.

It could have lasted from a few minutes to many minutes, it said.

Shawn Alton was taking pictures of the dramatic spring cloud formations against a blue sky above the Tri-Cities on Tuesday afternoon.

About 1 p.m. she posted a photo of the clouds, saying, "I love spring weather!"

About an hour and a half later she just happened to look up and see the tornado and captured some video of the dark funnel.

Some jokesters on social media were calling it the coronado, because people spotted it as they were staying home in response to the new coronavirus pandemic.

People in Benton City reported a hail storm and strong winds between 3 and 3:30 p.m.

There were no reports of any injuries or damage from the tornado.

Tornadoes are rare in Washington state, including around the Mid-Columbia.

A tornado touched down just west of Seattle in December 2018.

In May 2006, the Umatilla Chemical Depot received an unconfirmed report of a tornado touching down near the former nerve agent storage area. Farmers in the area made similar reports.

In June 2004, a series of three small tornadoes touched down in Washington state, with the closest one to the Tri-Cities southwest of Prosser just across the Yakima County line.