As many as 21 homes were damaged when a tornado passed through a North California town.
According to Los Angeles Times, the tornado was declared a category 1 tornado, which is the weakest classification on a level of 5. The tornado carried winds of 86 miles per hour to 110 miles per hour. No injuries were reported due to the severe weather, Sgt. Anthony Bejaran of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office, said.
Strong thunderstorms, which caused rains to the cities of Modesto and Stockton, are being attributed to the formation of tornadoes. David Rowe, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said, “The Central Valley is probably the most tornado-prone area in the western part of the U.S.” As part of a severe weather system, strong winds resulted in snow in Sierra Nevada and power outages across Los Angeles County.
Residents experienced power outages and were left without gas. Rapidly progressing winds caused trees to fall on homes, with one that shifted from its foundation. The estimate of the damage has not been determined as of yet.
“It’s something that is rare for people in this community,” Bejaran said.
The cold wind affected parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, causing power outages and downing trees. As many as 7,900 residents in Los Angeles were left without power, Carol Tucker, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, said.
Edward Garcia, whose home was one of the 21 that was damaged, described the scene. “The windows were rattling … I opened up the door and everything was black, completely black,” he said, as reported by Modesto Bee. Lydia Beccard, who was planning a birthday party for her daughter next weekend, had painted the front porch of her house. “Saturday you are planning a party and painting and then Sunday there’s a tornado,” she said. “It’s California … we know what to do with earthquakes but we don’t really expect a tornado.”
The strongest tornado ever reported in California was category 3, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist, Eric Kurth. The state experiences eight or nine tornadoes a year, resulting in damage to agriculture land. “What is remarkable about this one is that it did go through at town so there is a good extent of damage,” he said. “There is a pretty long area where it went through a fairly densely populated area. I think we are quite lucky that there weren’t some injuries.”