Rare Tornado Touches Down in Suburban Los Angeles
The U.S. National Weather Service reports a rare tornado touched down Wednesday in a suburb of the city of Los Angeles, California, injuring one person and damaging commercial buildings.
In a report late Wednesday, the NWS said it was the strongest tornado to hit the area since 1983 and just the 46th tornado reported in Los Angeles County since 1950.
The weather service says the tornado touched down late in the morning, Los Angeles time, Wednesday in an industrial park and warehouse district in the suburban city of Montebello. The report says the tornado damaged 17 structures, mostly their roofs.
The NWS said the roof of one building almost totally collapsed and the air conditioning unit was torn off. Other buildings saw their skylights broken.
A Montebello city spokesman told The Associated Press one person was taken to a local hospital with unspecified injuries.
Long before the weather service confirmed the tornado, residents posted videos on social media of a funnel cloud forming and stretching toward the ground and debris swirling beneath it.
The NWS said the storm was rated an EF1 tornado on the 0-to-5 Enhanced Fujita Scale for tornado intensity, its second-weakest rating. It said it had winds of about 177 kilometers per hour.
As rare as Wednesday’s tornado was, the weather service says it was the second tornado to hit the area this week. The agency says a weak tornado with winds of about 120 kph was confirmed north of Los Angeles in the city of Carpinteria in Santa Barbara County.
The NWS said that tornado likely originated as a waterspout over the ocean and moved on shore.
The U.S. state of California has seen a succession of strong storms in recent months, driven by what are known as atmospheric rivers: long, concentrated regions in the atmosphere that transport moist air from the tropics to higher latitudes. California has seen 12 atmospheric rivers since late December.
Some information for this report was provided by the Associated Press and Reuters.