While not a terribly common weather condition, funnel clouds (which don't hit the ground) do occur in the region, occasionally becoming full-fledged tornadoes (which do hit the ground).
The vast majority of tornadoes around here are rated as F0 on the Fujita Scale with the rare occasion they might make it to F1. The Central Valley doesn't get severe enough storms to get anything much bigger — no tornadoes above F2 have ever been recorded in California. The Fujita Scale has been replaced by the Enhanced Fujita Scale which began operational use in 2007. Los Angeles County is the tornado capital of California with the most tornadoes. Orange County also has had a high number of tornadoes. The last F2 tornado to hit Sacramento County was in 1972, and the one before that was in 1921.
Benjamin Miller recalls seeing a tornado touch down from the Student Farm House in the early nineties. A photo and video of a funnel cloud was captured in East Davis by Terry Nathan and Kyaw Tha Paw U, both faculty in the Atmospheric Science Program. Both are available on the program's website.
- June 1, 2011 - a funnel cloud was sighted in Davis according to this article in the Sacramento Bee, while several locals reported hail.
- Feb. 28th, 2006 - A tornado touched down in eastern Fairfield.
- Apr. 8, 2005 - Four tornados sighted in Sacramento region: one 9 miles north Of West Sacramento, one near Arco Arena, at the Sacramento Airport, one at Truxel and I-80.
- Feb. 21, 2005 - Severe winds and at least one reported tornado hit West Sacramento and Natomas. The twister itself knocked over vehicles and tore gutters and roof tiles off buildings but did not cause major damage. No injuries were reported. Some photos of these twisters.
- May 20, 2002 - A tornado touched town in Knights Landing (north of Woodland). No damage was reported.
Example of EDIS message
From: EDIS Email Service [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2006 10:07 AM To: EDIS Email Recipient Subject: [EDIS] TORNADO WARNING [FLASH: Sacramento Valley] NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SACRAMENTO CA 958 AM PST TUE FEB 28 2006 THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SACRAMENTO HAS ISSUED A * TORNADO WARNING FOR... SOUTHWESTERN ["SACRAMENTO COUNTY"] IN CALIFORNIA EAST CENTRAL ["SOLANO COUNTY"] IN CALIFORNIA EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN ["YOLO COUNTY"] IN CALIFORNIA * UNTIL 1030 AM PST * AT 954 AM PST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO 8 MILES NORTHWEST OF RIO VISTA...OR ABOUT 11 MILES EAST OF SUISUN CITY... NEAR HIGHWAY 113 MOVING EAST AT 40 MPH TOWARDS HIGHWAY 160. * THE TORNADO IS EXPECTED TO BE NEAR... RURAL EASTERN ["SOLANO COUNTY"] AT 1010 AM PST RURAL WESTERN ["SACRAMENTO COUNTY"] AT 1015 AM PST RURAL SOUTHEASTERN ["YOLO COUNTY"] AT 1010 AM PST SEEK SHELTER ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF THE BUILDING IN AN INTERIOR HALLWAY OR ROOM SUCH AS A CLOSET. USE BLANKETS OR PILLOWS TO COVER YOUR BODY AND ALWAYS STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS. IF IN MOBILE HOMES OR VEHICLES...EVACUATE THEM AND GET INSIDE A SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER. IF NO SHELTER IS AVAILABLE...LIE FLAT IN THE NEAREST DITCH OR OTHER LOW SPOT AND COVER YOUR HEAD WITH YOUR HANDS. LAT...LON 3828 12196 3812 12184 3821 12152 3842 12165 $$ HS EDIS-02-28-06 1001 PST --------------------------------------------------------- To update or terminate your subscription to this email service visit our webpage at http://www.incident.com/edismail.html. Please DO NOT reply to this message: replies may be treated as errors and result in your subscription being deleted. If you have trouble with the Web form, or for other queries, email <edistrouble@incident@com>. (But for faster service try the Web method first!) EDIS is operated by the Governor's Office of Emergency Services, State of California. This email relay service is offered by incident.com on a non-commercial, subscription-only basis. Because of the complexity of this system and its dependence on other systems, we cannot be responsible for delays or failures in forwarding or transmission. ---------------------------------------------------------
2011-06-01 19:09:45 That tornado picture is actually hella sick —NikhilDahal