National Weather Service officials confirmed a new twist to Monday’s deluge of tornados in the Yuba-Sutter region, identifying a fifth one touching down that afternoon in rural Olivehurst.
According to the NWS’ Sacramento office, the tornado formed at about 3:30 p.m. Monday and traveled about a half mile, taking off roofs and shredding a handful of empty outbuildings and sheds on Rancho Road.
NWS meteorologist Stefanie Henry said with a fifth tornado identified, that’s the most in the Sacramento office’s forecast area for a single weather event since 1996.
The tornado had an estimated speed of between 90 and
100 mph during the five minutes it existed, giving it a classification of EF-1, the second-lowest designation for such climatic events.
“At least in Northern California, it’s very rare we get anything like an EF-2,” Henry said. “It was not unusual damage that we saw.”
Scott Bryan, Yuba County’s emergency operations manager, said the carnage he saw, where roofing crossbeams of four feet by 12 feet looked as if they were ripped in half, was the worst he’d seen from wind-related damage.
“It’s really kind of difficult to be able to describe,” he said, though where the tornado traveled was fortunate.
`“If it had gone a couple hundred yards to the west, for example, we could’ve been talking about serious injuries.”
All the buildings damaged by the newly identified tornado were empty and in some cases abandoned, he said, and there were no reports of injuries.
The NWS previously identified four tornadoes: one in rural Sutter County, another in Browns Valley and others in southern Nevada County near Lake of the Pines and in Elk Grove in Sacramento County.
Henry said the unusual conditions creating the tornadoes with instability following a cold front aren’t likely to repeat anytime soon.
The next possible rainfall in the area may come next Tuesday evening, she said.
Ben van der Meer is a reporter with the Marysville Appeal-Democrat. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4786.