A potential tornado, termed as landspout, ripped through parts of Montebello, California on Wednesday, National Weather Service Los Angeles confirmed. Multiple buildings were damaged and at least one person was injured.
Montebello is about eight miles from downtown Los Angeles. Videos showed that the potential tornado tore through roof tops, and damaged cars. Many buildings were evacuated in the area and an urban search-and-rescue team was dispatched.
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“There have been reports of possible tornado damage in Montebello. In addition to the survey team heading to Carpinteria, they will also head to Montebello this afternoon to assess the damage,” NWS Los Angeles tweeted.
What is a landspout and how is different than a tornado?
A landspout is a type of weaker tornado that forms closer to the ground. It is a short-lived version of a full tornado.
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The term landspout was created by atmospheric scientist Howard B. Bluestein in 1985 for a ‘tornado not associated with a mesocyclone’. They tend to progress through recognizable stages of formation, maturation, and dissipation. This type of tornado decays when a downdraft or significant precipitation occurs nearby.
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“We’ve received lots of questions regarding what is a landspout vs. a tornado. A landspout IS a tornado. It usually causes less damage than a “typical” tornado,” NWS explains.
We've received lots of questions regarding what is a landspout vs. a tornado. A landspout IS a tornado. It usually causes less damage than a "typical" tornado. Check out this Weather-Ready Nation graphic explaining the differences of a couple different tornado types. #CAwx pic.twitter.com/d235TUXXlM
— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) March 22, 2023
“Not a landspout, but a tornado from a supercell. Unfortunately no footage of the wall cloud and the rest of the supercell storm,” a Twitter user said.
The landspout on Wednesday hit the 1200 block of South Vail Avenue in Montebello. Gas and electric companies were called to the scene to check for damage to utility lines, ABC7 reported. The report added that the ‘damage appeared to be centered around the building of the Royal Paper Box Company’.