DAVIS (CBS13) – Yes, that was a tornado that touched down north of Davis Saturday.
The tornado came in at an EF-0, meaning it was considered relatively weak. While most people think California doesn’t see tornadoes, the National Weather Service says that’s not true, but seeing one in September is what makes what happened this weekend, unique.
On Saturday, it looked like something straight out of a movie, with massive hail hammering the area just north of Davis. The sky turned a dark shade of orange.
Chris Clements and his family live along the two-mile path the tornado took.
“It almost looked like fire weather, like that weird orange tint to it,” Clement said. “There was this huge, dark cloud and the wind was just going insane, and the walnut trees were bending over and the walnuts behind us were flying off the trees.”
Clements says the storm came out of nowhere, surprising people who had their eyes glued to the sky. It triggered a wireless emergency alert telling people to, “take cover.”
“This was a picture-perfect tornado, it was something you see in the movies,” said Michelle Mead with the National Weather Service.
Mead calls the tornado, “visually impressive,” but strength-wise, actually pretty weak. The tornado moved less than 74 miles per hour.
“It looked scary like something you’d see out of Oklahoma because it picked up all the brown dirt, but it was a relatively weak tornado,” said Mead.
Drone13 captured the path of the storm, which touched down multiple times along a two-mile path.
How rare are tornadoes in California?
The National Weather Service says the state sees an average of 11 a year. More than 100 have been reported in Northern California between 1950 and 2018.
“We’re kind of the tornado alley. Now, keep in mind they’re mostly these weak tornadoes,” Mead said.
But, only three of those happened in September. The early season cold front is partly to blame, creating conditions that welcomed a tornado to our area.
“All of that cold air aloft makes for unstable conditions that are conducive for a stronger storm,” said Mead.
Thankfully, no one was hurt and the most damage was to some trees in the area.