Tornado Warning for Long Beach, most of Southwest Los Angeles

I’m sitting here, watching the Kings play the Ducks, and I casually mention to my son that the Kings are playing so well tonight, it’s a sign of the apocalypse.

Then I see a real sign of the apocalypse: there’s a freaking tornado warning for Long Beach, Lakewood, San Pedro, and Norwalk. (Update from Markland: add all of Southwest LA to the list, including Topanga, Malibu, and Palisades. Yikes.)

Earlier today, Warren Ellis Twitter’d to Sean, “sounds like the fucking apocalypse over there.”

Maybe, Uncle Warren. Maybe.

8 Replies to “Tornado Warning for Long Beach, most of Southwest Los Angeles”

  1. Apocalypse? Dude, don’t you read Mike Davis? :-)

    He says that LA has lots of tornadoes – always has had; it’s just been covered up in the past by a conspiracy of image-conscious newspapermen, civic boosters, and land barons.

    Perfectly normal weather. Happens all the time.

    Now, I’ve never seen one m’self, mind you, in thirty-some years here.

    But like Davis’s subtitle says, that’s “Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster.” :-)

    “Our Secret Kansas”, he calls it.

    It’s been so completely suppressed that even the locals don’t know about it. :-)

  2. Nice post Wil. Will has a great pic of the beginning stages of either a funnel or just a very strong downdraft. Can’t tell which as you can’t really tell the swirl. (I grew up in tornado country so you kind of learned to tell the difference).

    MAPNERD is correct in that we have quite a few twisters along the coast, some make it inland every few years. It’s just infrequent enough people forget about them. We even had one here some 10 years ago pass over the 210/605 by the quarry’s. We are just lucky I suppose that we don’t get the huge killer twisters like “Tornado Alley” does every spring.

  3. Oh this is interesting…yesterday between 4 and 5, I was out in my back yard and it got weird looking, I immediately thought, “tornado” and looked up. The sky was that sick tornado yellow and it had gotten still like it does right before the tornado comes. I wondered if my part of LA is prone to tornados like parts of the South Bay.

  4. In January 1998, there was a rather serious tornado in Long Beach. Here’s how a stormtracker described it:

    News video of the storm damage showed a good chunk of a Lucky supermarket’s roof torn off and numerous trees blown down. (The Lucky is at Spring and Palo Verde.) An amateur videographer at Cubberly School caught the tornado for a few seconds. His video showed an intense and tight rotation very close to the school. The Weather Channel showed the tornado as a waterspout moving onshore near Long Beach Harbor, with a strong and tight circulation on the water and a spectacular funnel cloud. Apparently this video was taken by a news stations’ “tower-cam.” The damage path (as investigated by the NWS) was less than two-miles long, but approximately four miles separate the “waterspout/tornado” near the harbor and the southwest end of the NWS’ damage path (see below).

    I spoke with David Danielson of the National Weather Service in Oxnard about two weeks after the tornado. He has investigated the event, and he shared some of his findings with me. The Long Beach tornado tracked parallel to the Los Coyotes Diagonal and “skipped intermittently.” It took off a 60-foot by 60-foot portion of the Lucky roof, and would be rated F0 to F1 on the Fujita scale, according to Danielson. The average path width was about 20 yards wide, and was about 30 yards wide at the Lucky market. Touchdowns were confirmed near Barbanell Street and Los Coyotes, north of CSU Long Beach, and as far northeast as Cubberly Elementary on Monogram. The tornado occurred from 2:00 p.m. to 2:10 p.m. PST. There were no injuries, according to the Fire Department and Police Department, but media reported an injury to a clerk at Lucky due to flying glass. At Cubberly Elementary, a “Mr. Bogel” moved two bus loads of kids into an auditorium when he saw the tornado approach. It is amazing that the tornado caused no major problems on the San Diego Freeway and at Millikan High School.
    http://www.stormtrack.org/library/archives/stmar98.htm

  5. Yeah, we have tornadoes about the same way Kansas has earthquakes – not very often, and never very big. ;-)

    And, while we do get excited about an F0 or an F1 that rips off an occasional roof, the idea that the Kansas farmers that the civic boosters were trying to lure to California at the turn of the century would be concerned about such piddly little storms is just silly.

    It’d be like telling a Californian there aren’t any earthquakes in Kansas.

    That’s not precisely true – they have little tiny quakes fairly often, and every once in a while they have a Mag. 3 or 4 – why, they even had a Mag 5.1 back in 1867!

    And when they do get a Mag. 3 or a 4 that knocks some bottles off a store shelf somewhere, it’s Big News.

    But in terms of “earthquake risk” – the sort of risk that would make a Californian want to leave California and move to Kansas – Kansas really doesn’t have earthquakes that the ex-Californian would care about.

    And yet, looking at seismic maps, you could do the same sort of thing Davis does in “Our Secret Kansas” – draw a line around the densest cluster of quakes you can find in Kansas, then compare the total “quakes per square mile” of that cluster with the statewide average of a state known for killer quakes like, say, California, (while totally ignoring the difference in quake sizes), and conclude that Kansas is really a hotbed of earthquake activity – “Our Secret California!” – because parts of it have “more earthquakes per square mile per year than California!”

    If you can cherry-pick your data and equate apples to oranges (or Mag. 2 to Mag. 6, or F0 to F4), you can “prove” all sorts of silly things to people who don’t examine your statistics with a careful and critical eye.

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