Tornado damages buildings near Los Angeles, NWS confirms
(KTLA) – The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado touched down in the Los Angeles suburb of Montebello on Wednesday, causing damage to multiple buildings.
In a Wednesday evening tweet, NWS Los Angeles said a damage survey team was able to confirm a tornado hit around 11:20 a.m. PT. Because the damage was still being surveyed, and the EF rating wasn’t available.
The Verdugo Fire Communications Center initially reported the “weather incident” in an area along South Vail Street.
Images from the scene show ripped-off parts of roofing on what appear to be commercial buildings and debris strewn about the area. Damage spread over more than one city block but the extent of the perimeter was still being determined.
A video shared with Nexstar’s KTLA shows what appears to be a funnel cloud descending from the clouds above:
The owner of a recycling company in the area told KTLA he was driving when the weather event occurred and he later saw the activity had torn off the roof of the building next door.
“All the windows of the cars were shattered … it was just a mess,” he said. “I saw cars just swiveling through the streets and it was just the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. I was only a few inches away, I had to reverse out of it.”
In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis called the weather event a “landspout.” NWS described a landspout as a tornado that “usually causes less damage than a ‘typical’ tornado.”
Meteorologist Rose Schoenfeld with the weather service said tornadoes are “definitely not something that’s common for the region.”
A damage survey team will also visit southeast Santa Barbara County, where another reported twister damaged mobile homes.
One person was injured and was taken to a hospital, said Alex Gillman, a city spokesman. He didn’t know the severity of the injury.
The rare and violent weather came amid a strong late-season Pacific storm that brought damaging winds and more rain and snow to saturated California. Two people died Tuesday as the storm raked the San Francisco Bay Area with powerful gusts and downpours.
Schoenfeld said more unstable weather was possible through the afternoon in Southern California.
“All the ingredients are there for more possible events like the one we saw earlier,” she said.
The last time the weather service’s Los Angeles office sent out tornado assessment teams was 2016 near Fillmore in Ventura County, where it was determined that a small twister had touched down, Schoenfeld said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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