Rare tornado hits Los Angeles area, injuring one, damaging buildings
The tornado was categorized as an EF-1, with peak winds of 110 mph, making it the strongest tornado to hit the area since 1983.
March 23, 2023 7:19am
Updated: March 23, 2023 7:19am
A rare tornado swept through a city southeast of Los Angeles on Wednesday, causing widespread damage and injuring at least one person, according to local officials.
The tornado “briefly touched down” in an industrial park and warehouse district in Montebello, California, less than 10 miles from Los Angeles, at around 11:20 a.m. PT.
The tornado was categorized as an EF-1, with peak winds of 110 mph, making it the strongest tornado to hit the area since 1983, according to the National Weather Service.
um tornado in south montebello @ABC7 @KTLA pic.twitter.com/houu2nW1zn— Daniel (@djavim) March 22, 2023
The tornado damaged at least 17 buildings—11 of which were deemed too dangerous to use by the fire department, according to city public information officer Michael Chee. Additionally, the tornado snapped a power pole, damaged cars, broke skylights, uprooted trees, and tore an HVAC unit from a building.
At least one person was injured during the freak tornado. The injury is considered minor, said Chee.
Tornadoes are a rare occurrence in California, with less than 10 happening every year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“It’s definitely not something that’s common for the region,” said meteorologist Rose Schoenfeld with the weather service.
California tornadoes, however, differ from traditional tornadoes found in the Southeast and Central Plains. While traditional tornadoes form from rotating thunderstorms and can be extremely dangerous, California's tornadoes are referred to as landspouts—similar to waterspouts but over land—and generally cause less damage.
We've received lots of questions regarding what is a landspout vs. a tornado. A landspout IS a tornado. It usually causes less damage than a "typical" tornado. Check out this Weather-Ready Nation graphic explaining the differences of a couple different tornado types. #CAwx pic.twitter.com/d235TUXXlM— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) March 22, 2023