Rare Winter Tornadoes in California

Bill's Blog

When you think of tornadoes, California isn’t the first state that comes to mind and January isn’t the first month to come to mind. The National Weather Service has confirmed two tornadoes touched down in Central California, north of Chico on January 6th. The top pic. is courtesy of KRON.

The first tornado was reported around 1:34 p.m. in west Corning. This caused damage to a barn, tree, and power line. Another was reported around 2:40 p.m. near Vina but didn’t cause any damage. There were no injuries. A tornado warning was issued by the Sacramento National Weather Service.

So far, 10 tornadoes have been reported in the U.S. in 2021. One injury was reported from a twister near Dames Ferry, Georgia on Jan. 1. We’ve had 9 reports of thunderstorm-caused wind damage and 4 reports of marginally severe hail.

Threat of a severe weather report within 25 miles of a given location on Jan. 19

Severe weather is at a minimum during mid-winter. The map above highlights where there is a 1% chance of a severe weather report within 25 miles of a given point on January 19. It’s from Louisiana across Mississippi into western Alabama.

A rare exception was in January 2008 when strong tornadoes hit in NE Illinois and SE Wisconsin. One of the tornadoes was an EF3 that destroyed or seriously damaged 59 homes. Another EF2 tornado derailed a train – here’s video of that derailment. More damage pictures here.

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