Los Angeles County tornado: ‘It was a little shocking, but we’re doing okay’

Workers in a heavy industrial area southeast of Los Angeles recounted their harrowing experience as a rare EF-1 tornado moved through their neighborhood shortly before noon on Wednesday.

LOS ANGELES – Dozens of workers in a heavy industrial area southeast of Los Angeles are safe after the National Weather Service confirmed a weak tornado moved through the region shortly before noon on Wednesday.

City officials said 17 buildings were damaged, and only one person was transported to the hospital with what were believed to be minor injuries after the surprise EF-1 twister damaged roofs and vehicles.

The tornado struck without warning, but to some Californians it didn’t matter if a Tornado Warning was issued or not – they still wouldn’t have believed the sight.

"It was a little shocking, but we’re doing okay. You know, our main concern was our people. We had about 35 people in the factory at the time it hit, and everybody was fine," said Michael Turner, vice president of Turner Fiberfill, Inc, a manufacturer of polyester fiber.

The business was located right in the heart of where National Weather Service meteorologists surveyed damage into the evening. 

"On the roof, our skylights popped out. We have a big ten-foot hole in the roof in the front. And then the back of our building, there’s about a 5,000 square foot piece of the roof that’s gone and debris flying everywhere," said Turner.


"We talked to one business owner who has a sporting goods store here. We talked to him and his son about how they were trying to pry the door close as it was being ripped out of their hands as this tornado struck this area. The inside of the business is incredibly damaged," said FOX Weather correspondent Max Gorden.

An NWS storm survey team the tornado was on the ground for nearly a half-mile and had peak wind speeds of 110 mph, giving it a rating of EF-1 in the Enhanced Fujita Scale. It was the strongest tornado to strike the Los Angeles area in 40 years. 

The tornado was one of two twisters that impacted the Golden State over the last 24 hours.

On Tuesday evening, an EF-0 tornado damaged mobile homes and toppled trees in Carpinteria, a community northwest of Los Angeles. One person was reported to be injured during the event.


The adverse weather was triggered by a deadly bomb cyclone that continues to move across the state with gusty winds, heavy rain and mountain snow.

During the height of the event, more than 135,000 power outages were reported across the state, with Northern California seemingly experiencing the brunt of the impact.