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Tornado Touches Down As Severe Weather Hits Northern California

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Bystanders snap photos of a funnel cloud northeast of Yuba City on June 1, 2011. (Credit: Jenny Keen)

Bystanders snap photos of a funnel cloud northeast of Yuba City on June 1, 2011. (Credit: Jenny Keen)

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YUBA CITY, Calif. (CBS13) — The first day of June brought weather that seemed more suited for a different season and a different region of the country, with severe weather that spawned several funnel clouds and at least one tornado while dropping heavy hail and rain across the Central Valley.

Reports of the nasty weather streamed out from Davis after a severe thunderstorm cell moved across Yolo County, prompting reports of marble-sized hail and sparking funnel cloud sightings from residents and UC Davis students who snapped photos of the unusual phenomenon between 1:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning shortly after 3:00 p.m. when the system gained strength over Natomas and began dumping hail more than an inch in diameter at times north of Sacramento.

Funnel cloud sightings persisted throughout the afternoon, but a touchdown wasn’t confirmed until a new storm cell sudden gained strength over Yuba County, dropping a twister into a rural area a few miles north of Yuba City.

Motorists and residents photographed the large funnel cloud as it trailed over the area for several minutes, apparently dissipating before causing any structural damage or injuries.

Dozens of lightning strikes split open trees but did not cause any other reported damage, according to officials.

The storm system’s instability became less dangerous when it reached the Sierra foothills, but the upper elevations were under a winter storm warning by Wednesday night. Snow is expected to fall as low as 5,000 feet, and weather experts say as much as six inches of powder could accumulate at elevations about 6,500 feet.

High winds could make traffic dangerous across the icy Sierra roadways throughout the night. Drivers are urged to use caution.

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