Intense thunderstorms pounded Central and Western Oregon Thursday, toppling trees and knocking out power, but apparently causing no serious injuries.
The storms began early in the afternoon and moved north toward Portland, which saw strong winds, heavy rain and a lightning show at rush hour. Several cities saw golf-ball sized hail and there were unconfirmed reports of funnel clouds and tornado activity.
The National Weather Service lifted a severe thunderstorm watch early Thursday evening. The watch was expected to stay in effect until 9 p.m., but the storms were quicker than expected.
Power outages were reported across the storm area. Portland General Electric said about 50,000 of its customers had no lights as of 6 p.m. The utility said the hardest-hit areas were in Salem, Silverton, Woodburn, West Linn and Oregon City.
Temperatures were in the mid-70s in the Willamette Valley when the storm hit, but quickly dropped into the lower 60s. Dan Keirns, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Portland, said the storm was the type usually seen midsummer, not late spring.