Tornado Ripped Through the South Valley

December 22, 2008 2:08:23 PM PST
The tornado lasted only about ten minutes from 12:10 to 12:20 Sunday afternoon.It packed a whallop with winds up to 70 miles per hour.

It was up to one-point- five miles long and 75-yards wide.

Just a couple hours ago the national weather service determined that yesterday's storm was, in fact, a small tornado.

Check out this home behind me?there's still a lot of serious clean up that needs to be done?but most of all, people are just thankful no one was hurt.

Crews worked to remove two large trees that fell on Tom McCormick's mobile home near Akers Avenue and Hurley Street.

He and his family hid under the cabinets during the nearly 5 minute storm.

Tom McCormick, Visalia Resident: "We were home watching TV and all of a sudden it was just like a freight train coming through."

Maryanne Gonzales, Visalia Resident: "The wind brought the trees down."

McCormick says all of a sudden the sky turned black.

McCormick: "My wife opened up the back door and then she shut it and then all of a sudden two trees came in you can see it right over here. - The trees came INTO the house? Yeah they were sitting right on top of the house."

A piece of his metal awning even ended up in a nearby tree.

On Monday, investigators from the national weather service in Hanford took a closer look at the damage and confirmed what many residents already knew...a tornado was to blame for all this destruction.

James Brotherton, National weather service: "I'm trying to look at the location of the damage and what pattern the trees fell."

Brotherton says when the tops of trees are damaged, that's usually an indication a tornado hit, because the rotating storms don't always hit the ground.

On Cottonwood Avenue, workers were trying to figure out how to get a more than 60 foot tree of this house.

Across the street, neighbors describe a large tree lifting up into the air and falling in their backyard and pieces of the roof of this shed flying across the lawn.

Wendy O'Connor, Visalia Resident: "We had some people come over and we went out on the porch because he came in and said "Oh I think we've got a tornado coming!" And I said (laughs) "No way" and so we walked outside and we saw the trees start to bend over."


Load Comments