A rare tornado touched down in a Los Angeles suburb on Wednesday, ripping roofs off a line of commercial buildings and sending the debris twisting into the sky and across a city block, injuring one person, the AP reports. The National Weather Service sent teams to assess damage in Montebello and later confirmed that a tornado had touched down around 11:20am. “It's definitely not something that's common for the region,” said meteorologist Rose Schoenfeld with the weather service. One person was injured and was taken to a hospital in Montebello, said Alex Gillman, a city spokesman. He didn't know the severity of the injury.
Michael Turner could hear the winds get stronger from inside his office at the 33,000-square-foot warehouse he owns just south of downtown Montebello. When the lights started flickering, he went outside to find his employees gazing up at the ominous sky. He brought everyone inside. “It got very loud. Things were flying all over the place,” Turner said. “The whole factory became a big dustbowl for a minute. Then when the dust settled, the place was just a mess.” Nobody was hurt, but the gas line was severed, fire sprinklers broke, all the skylights shattered and a 5,000-square-foot section of roof was “just gone,” Turner said. Debris was spread over more than one city block. Inspectors checked 17 buildings in the area, and 11 of them were red-tagged as uninhabitable, according to the fire department. Several cars were also damaged.
The rare and violent weather came amid a strong late-season Pacific storm that brought damaging winds and more rain and snow to saturated California. The weather service also sent assessment teams to the Santa Barbara County city of Carpinteria, where it confirmed that a tornado hit a mobile home park on Tuesday, with gusts up to 75 miles per hour that damaged about 25 residences. The last time the weather service's Los Angeles office sent out tornado assessment teams was 2016 near Fillmore in Ventura County, where it was determined that a small twister had touched down, Schoenfeld said. A tornado warning based on radar also was issued Tuesday night for the Point Mugu area west of Malibu. The warning was later canceled and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office tweeted there was no evidence a tornado touched down.
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