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VIDEO: Rare California Tornado Spins in Central Valley

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Tornadoes aren’t exactly a common occurrence in the Golden State of California, but sure enough on Monday morning, a rare twister made a cameo appearance, and there’s video to prove it.

Courtesy of our affiliate KBAK in Bakersfield, California here’s a look at the EF-0 tornado, which struck near Taft, California (Kern County) at 11:40am on Monday morning:

The National Weather Service office in Hanford, California said the tornado was on the ground for approximately 10 minutes with a peak width of 150 feet. The twister was given the NWS’ lowest rating of EF-0, and because it wasn’t associated with a thunderstorm, it was classified as a ‘landspout’, or a tornado that typically develops from the ground up (as opposed to typical tornado formation from the cloud deck downwards towards the surface). Landspouts are typically weaker and smaller than proper tornadoes.

However, due to instability from cold air aloft overrunning warmer air at the surface, instability can sometimes produce brief, weak tornadoes in California during the winter months. Small hail was also reported nearby on Sunday afternoon, also a product of the same atmospheric instability that produced the Kern County tornado.

Regardless, the rare twister was the first in the Hanford office’s realm since May 2013, and just the 73rd tornado in the office area’s recorded history.

Meteorologist Chris Bianchi

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