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‘Thought it was a joke’: Some caught off-guard by tornado warning

By Marlee Ginter

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    VALLEY SPRINGS, California (KOVR) — It’s not something you’d expect to see in Valley Springs, but you can bet when people saw a funnel cloud spinning down their street, some people ran for cover while others went outside to get video.

“It didn’t touch down. but I could see that it was making a tornado up there. It was spinning a lot,” said Harry Singh who works in the area.

And video isn’t all people got. Singh works at a local convenience store where customers started rushing in to get gas and food when they got tornado warnings on their cell phones.

“I thought it was a joke because I’m telling you, I’ve never got one,” said Singh.

“We saw the rotation on our radar here,” said Craig Shoemaker, meteorologist with the National Weather Service Sacramento.

Shoemaker said tornado warnings and even tornadoes in Northern California may be more common than many think. Issuing a warning is all about timing and critical.

“It can happen very very quickly. When you have rotation like that, very quickly, those winds can translate to the surface,” said Shoemaker.

It was an unusual day in Valley Springs, to say the least, but it was one that residents will remember with tornado warnings causing quite the buzz.

“In my life in California, I’ve never seen one and I’ve never gotten a warning for a tornado or anything,” said Singh.

Shoemaker said the NWS Sacramento issues three to five tornado warnings a year but they haven’t issued as many in recent years because of the drought with fewer storms.

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