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Tornado's 100 mph winds rip roofs off buildings

By Jerry Olenyn, jolenyn@krcrtv.com
Published On: Mar 27 2014 07:55:27 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 27 2014 10:33:48 PM CDT
WILLOWS, Calif. -

Some Glenn County residents spent Thursday cleaning up from Wednesday’s EF-1 tornado that touched down several times. 

The National Weather Service surveyed the area northeast of Willows and estimated the tornado packed winds of up to 100 miles per hour when it touched down between 5:30 and 6 p.m. Wednesday.  The damage was concentrated along County Road 39 between Road P and Road TT.  The area is northeast of Willows just east of Interstate 5.

EF-1 tornados have estimated winds ranging from 86 to 110 mph.

Roofs were torn from outbuildings and trees were cut in half.  There were power poles toppled and the top of a tractor weighing about 90 pounds flew 155 feet into the air. 

Wednesday night's tornado created a mess for rice farmers and almond growers like Gary Alves, who saw a dozen trees cut in half.
     
”We lost a lot of our crop,” said Alves.  “The high winds shook them and many nuts fell on the ground.” 

Michelle Mead of the National Weather Service in Sacramento came to Glenn County to survey the damage and learn more about the severe weather that struck Wednesday night.  

”It might have been a multi-vortex or multi-tornado touchdown,” said Mead.  “We had numerous funnel cloud reports so it's fair to say we probably had more than one tornado touchdown last night."

Mead said tornado activity is rare for Glenn County, although a similar scene happened in this vicinity a few years ago.  Wednesday’s storm lingered over the area for a long period of time, moving 5-10 mph and prompting tornado warnings for more than three hours from 3:15 to 6:30 p.m.

”It didn't move,” said Mead.  “(It was) a nearly stationary storm. It was a slow mover, lots of hail, lots of rain and tornadoes.”

Thus far she's found no structural damages to homes.

”But we've seen supplemental damage to vehicles, tractors, outbuildings and trees.” 

The National Weather Service will take the data from their survey, and put them into what's called a local storm report which the public can access.  They can use this information to learn how much damage this type of severe weather can create.