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Los Angeles was hit by its first major tornado in three decades on Wednesday, March 22nd. The tornado and an additional smaller tornado touched down in the San Fernando Valley and caused significant damage to homes and businesses in the area. Read on below to find out exactly what happened.
The tornado in question was part of a larger storm system that has been moving through Southern California. The storm brought heavy rain and strong winds to the area, causing flooding and power outages. As the storm moved eastward, it began to produce tornadoes. The tornado that hit Los Angeles hard was an EF-1 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, with winds that reached up to 110 mph. It briefly touched down in the city of Montebello on Wednesday of last week, causing havoc and damage to the city’s industrial park.
Another weaker tornado with winds up to 75 miles per hour hit northwest of L.A. on Tuesday, specifically hitting the seaside city of Carpinteria. This tornado was an EF-0 on the EF scale, significantly weaker than the second one but still extremely unusual for the area.
Was anyone hurt?
Thankfully, no one was killed in the tornado. However, several people were injured as a result of it. The Los Angeles Fire Department reported that they responded to over 100 calls for service related to the storm, including reports of downed power lines and trees. Some injuries were due to these downed objects and others were most likely due to buildings collapsing.
While this individual tornado didn’t cause any deaths or hurt a large number of people, the larger storm that encompassed it did far more damage. At least five people in and around the Bay Area died due to the storm. The atmospheric rivers that have been striking the Bay Area over the last twelve months are continuing to cause damage.
Property damage done
These two tornadoes caused significant damage to homes and businesses in the San Fernando Valley. Over 50 homes were damaged or destroyed during the storm, including 25 units in a mobile home park northwest of Los Angeles. In addition, several businesses were damaged or destroyed, including a grocery store and a gas station. There hasn’t yet been an official report of how much money’s worth of property damage was caused, but it was certainly a big hit to this area that isn’t used to these types of storms.
What caused the tornado?
Tornadoes are extremely rare in Southern California and only about 10 happen per year, but they can still occur under certain conditions. In this case, the tornado was caused by a combination of factors, including warm air from the south meeting cooler air from the north. This created instability in the atmosphere, which led to the formation of large thunderstorms. As these thunderstorms moved across Southern California, they produced several tornadoes.