YUBA CITY (CBS13) – A tornado touched down just south of Yuba City and another touched down in Elk Grove Monday afternoon as the first weather system of the season pounded the Sacramento Valley with hail, lightning and fierce winds.
Sutter County firefighters say they saw the tornado touch the ground in the area of Railroad and Oswald avenues around 3 p.m. about a mile from their firehouse.
The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed on Tuesday morning that an EF1 tornado had touched down in the area.
“This is the closest I’ve seen,” Capt. Ken Clark said.
CBS13’s Nick Janes said it tore off parts of the nearby roofs and scattered branches and debris.
“I stepped out on my back porch and there it was,” Sutter County resident Lorna Enns said. “You could see the funnel cloud and it just kept going!”
The Elk Grove Police Department said a funnel cloud, which has since been confirmed as an EF1 tornado by NWS, also damaged a building on Grant Line Road shortly before 5 p.m. A CBS13 viewer reported “semi trucks falling over like dominoes at the power plant off Grant Line. The craziest experience of my life so far!”
In Elk Grove, trees toppled, fences tumbled down, even a large AC unit was moved by the force of a funnel one Elk Grove resident said “sounded mean.”
“It sounded like a freight train or an airplane starting slow and going faster and faster,” Carol Kearns said.
It was time for the mother to move fast.
“I grabbed my kids and ran to the bathroom,” Kearns said.
Just down the street, Krista Trinchera did the same thing:
“When I saw the dog house go swirling by and heard the wind, I told my kids to go to the interior of the house.”
The wind destroyed the Trinchera’s backyard gazebo and took down a fence.
In another Elk Grove neighborhood, the storm even destroyed one resident’s plans for the night.
“It blew away my dish so I couldn’t watch the Giants game,” Bobby Mann said.
NWS officially confirmed the sighting as a tornado on Tuesday.
The weather system moved northeast from Yuba City and NWS issued seven tornado warnings throughout the day as the storm continued over El Dorado, Nevada and Placer counties.
Johnny Slafin was at a bar in Auburn when the funnel cloud rolled over that area Monday night.
“I took everybody out of the bar and it went all the way across this hill,” he said. “It was like crazy. I grew up in St. Louis and I’ve seen tornadoes. It was stuff going here and there.”
There were no reports of any injuries in the Sutter County twister, but the Sutter County Sheriff’s Department reported there was damage to some outbuildings and to Mallard Lake Golf Course, which is off Highway 99 near Oswald.
“My two cousins and I were playing golf at Mallard and were right in the path of the tornado,” Michael Lukens said. “We clung to a tree as it passed over full of debris and pulling up trees as it went by.”
A few homes on nearby Orchard Avenue were in the path of the twister.
“We came outside and the boat was in the yard,” one Sutter County resident told Janes. “Mother Nature definitely took the best of us today. It was exciting to watch.”
The boat was lifted and moved about 100 feet, he said.
The sheriff’s office also said it was getting inundated with calls and reports of damage at Bogue Road and Highway 99, where the twister also reportedly touched down.
The Yuba County Sheriff’s Department also confirmed a touchdown in the Browns Valley area. The funnel cloud touched down in a rice field west of Browns Valley at Spring Valley Road. Deputies said there was no damage. NWS has not officially confirmed this tornado sighting.
Two more tornadoes were reported, but neither has been confirmed by NWS. One was north of Auburn around Lake of the Pines/Higgins Corner area near Highway 49. The second was seven miles south of Palermo and west of Bangor. A brief touchdown was reported, but no damage was caused.
An NWS survey team will go out Tuesday to investigate the remaining tornado reports, and says it places a priority on those with the most damage.