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Los Angeles area hit by possible rare tornado

Originally Published: 22 MAR 23 18:47 ETBy Taylor Romine, Brandon Miller and Theresa Waldrop, CNN

    (CNN) -- At least one person was injured after what might have been a rare tornado hit a city just southeast of Los Angeles Wednesday, city officials said.

The "intense microcell" hit an industrial area of the city, Montebello Public Information Officer Michael Chee told CNN, and at least one commercial building was damaged.

"There was flying debris and everything!!!!" tweeted one person who shared a video of the storm. The video zooms in on a mass of dark gray clouds consuming the sky and tapering down toward land.

The injured person was transported to a local hospital and their condition is unknown, city spokesperson Alex Gillman told CNN.

Tornadoes are rare in California, with fewer than 10 per year on average, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Most tornadoes in the state are small and short lived.

They are commonly referred to as landspouts (similar to a waterspout, but over land). These differ from more traditional tornadoes that form from rotating thunderstorms, like those common in the Central Plains and the Southeast. While landspouts can cause damage, it is generally not extensive or severe.

On Tuesday evening, a weak tornado hit a mobile home park in Carpinteria -- a seaside city northwest of Los Angeles, the weather service confirmed Wednesday. The service rated it as an EF-0, with winds of 75 mph.

The tornado damaged 25 mobile home units in the Sandpiper Village mobile home park and caused minor tree damage to an adjacent cemetery.

"The damage survey assessment team will next survey the area in Montebello where a weak tornado potentially touched down this morning," the NWS said. "More information will be available later on once their survey is complete."

Additional video of the Montebello storm shows a swirling cloud of black debris as the roof of a nearby building gets blown off. Vehicles can be seen with damage and shattered windows.

"The roof came off this building," a witness says as he records a parking lot full of damaged vehicles.

"This is stuff you see in Ohio, Arkansas... Not Montebello," another witness is heard saying.

Wednesday's intense weather comes as California has been plagued in recent months by at least 12 atmospheric rivers that have brought devastating flooding and hurricane-force winds. An atmospheric river is like a fire hose that carries saturated air from the tropics to higher latitudes, dumping relentless rain or snow.

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