Damage reported from rare California tornadoes

Reuters News
Posted: May 26, 2011 4:03 PM
Damage reported from rare California tornadoes

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Farm buildings and orchards were damaged when at least two tornadoes touched down in Northern California over the last 24 hours, a National Weather Service spokesman said on Thursday.

There were no reports of injury from the storms, which struck between 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday in a largely rural area south of Chico, California, about 140 miles northeast of San Francisco.

Both were rated EF-1 or smaller on the Enhanced Fujita scale, National Weather Service spokesman George Cline told Reuters.

"Neither of these actually hit any towns but they did cause some damage to some farm buildings, barns. Some orchards were damaged," Cline said.

He said survey teams were headed out to the area on Friday and would investigate reports that as many as four tornadoes touched down.

Cline said the storms were generated by a strong low pressure system over the area that mixed with warm temperatures on the ground and were uncommon but not unprecedented for Northern California.

"Its somewhat unusual, although almost every year we'll get one or two," Cline said.

"They never approach the magnitude of the ones that occur in the Midwest or south, but if we get the right conditions we can get a couple EF-0 or EF-1 storms," he said.

(Editing by Jerry Norton)