Shockwaves rippled across Los Angeles when a rare tornado touched down roughly 11 miles outside the city’s downtown Wednesday morning.
The small twister, described by the National Weather Service as the “strongest tornado to impact” the area since 1983, ripped off the roofs of commercial buildings in a Montebello industrial park and sent debris circling into the sky, according to footage of the wild scene.
The EF-1 tornado packed winds of up to 110 mph and damaged 17 buildings, 11 significantly, the weather service said.
“It’s definitely not something that’s common for the region,” said weather service meteorologist Rose Schoenfeld.
One person was injured and they were taken to a local hospital, said a Montebello spokesperson. The person’s condition was unknown.
“I’ve been in California since 1965. Never seen anything like this,” said Michael Turner, who owns a warehouse just south of downtown Montebello. “Earthquakes — we’re used to that.”
Lights began to flicker which sent him outside, joining some of his workers to check out the grim weather. They all quickly returned inside when the darkening sky appeared threatening.
“It got very loud. Things were flying all over the place,” Turner said. “The whole factory became a big dustbowl for a minute. Then when the dust settled, the place was just a mess.”
One video shows the tornado in the distance as a man can be heard advising someone over the phone to stay in their office. Other footage shows light debris spinning in the sky.
Another video shows the aftermath where cars windows were blown out and some debris was strewn across a parking lot.
Montebello @ktla pic.twitter.com/fOGsD6l9wN
— Daniel Gonzalez (@DanielGee626) March 22, 2023
California has faced violent – and deadly – weather over the last few weeks, including heavy rain, wind and snow.
Five people were killed from the latest storm in the San Francisco-area this week. An on-duty city police officer was also critically injured when a tree fell on him during the San Francisco storm, the department said.
Strong winds in the area even forced a couch off a high rise balcony and onto the street, according to footage obtained by KPIX.
The weather service also sent assessment teams to Santa Barbara County Tuesday where it confirmed a tornado struck a mobile home park in the city of Carpinteria. Gusts reached close to 75 miles per hour and damaged about 25 homes.
Additional reporting by Marjorie Hernandez
With Post wires
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