Tornado warning in California as storm hits

Tornado warning in California as storm hits

20 January 2010

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USA — A rare tornado warning was issued for Los Angeles Tuesday as a storm slammed into southern California, dumping heavy rain and snow across the region and leaving thousands of homes without power.

National Weather Service meteorologist Ryan Kittell said a strong storm moving in from the Pacific Ocean and packing winds of around 60 miles per hour had triggered the tornado alert.

“We don’t have any physical evidence of a tornado, but our radars indicated it is spinning rapidly so there’s a good chance of a tornado at the surface,” Kittell told AFP.

Powerful storm fronts developing at sea often weakened by the time they made landfall, Kittell cautioned, admitting that tornado alerts in sun-baked California were “pretty rare.”

“We do get them from time to time but they are pretty rare,” he said.

The storm rolling into southern California on Tuesday followed a similar weather front which deluged the region 24 hours earlier.

Authorities placed hillside communities on alert for flash flooding and mudslides, a major concern in regions affected by raging wildfires last year.

Tuesday’s storm was one of a series of wet weather fronts forecast to hit southern California this week, which are expected to drop as much as 16 inches of rain in some areas.

Local power companies reported Tuesday that engineers were working to restore power to nearly 17,000 customers suffering outages because of the weather.

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