Three of the biggest weather events in recent memory shook residents of Shasta County in Northern California on Friday evening, causing event cancellations and sending residents to seek shelter.
What started as a normal weather week in the Northern California's Shasta and Butte counties, quickly took a turn Friday with the arrival of severe thunderstorms and showers, eventually dumping hail the size of golf balls.
A Tornado Warning to our north in Shasta County and my friend sends me these pics of the cell from her back porch near Redding. Wow. pic.twitter.com/9IS7sOxooL— Drew Tuma (@DrewTumaABC7) May 25, 2019
According to the Redding Record Searchlight and Redding Electrical Utility, the next stage of the storm brought city-wide power outages around 8 pm, leaving some 714 residents without power. The cause of the outage was a lightning strike on a power line in northeast Redding. Fortunately, power was restored at 8:37 pm, but Shasta College was forced to cancel their Friday evening graduation ceremony for the safety of their students and family members.
Then came the formation of funnel clouds that signify the first stage of a possible tornado. According to ABC 7 News, the National Weather Services issued a formal tornado warning at 9 p.m., and urged residents to seek shelter immediately. The warning included the southern part of Shasta County, from Redding to Anderson. An additional Flash Flood Warning was issued for the neighboring Butte County.
Fortunately, a tornado did not form and both warnings have since expired as of Saturday morning.
While tornadoes would seem rare in California, they are more common than people may think. Since 1950, around 403 tornadoes have touched down in California, ranging from south of Redding to the Mexico border. This is an average of about six or seven each year, as compared to the nearly 1,000 tornadoes that touch down in the United States each year. Most of them occur east of the Rocky Mountains and not on the West Coast. In California, most tornadoes touch down in the Central Valley due to its large stretch of low, flat land.
Fortunately, the evening ended with no major damage or injuries to residents of Shasta or Butte counties. While Saturday weather shows clear skies with a high of 62 degrees, rain is on the forecast for both Sunday and Monday.