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Tornadoes damage homes, stun locals

May 23, 2008 7:15:52 AM PDT
These unstable and unpredictable weather conditions captivated Southern California residents, stunned at the unusual sight of tornadoes.Much of the activity and damage centered around Moreno Valley in Riverside County.

The front lawn of one home in Moreno Valley had a thin crusty layer of hail, and there was plenty of water inside.

Clean up crews working all night trying to suck up all the water -- damage control after tornadoes hit Southern California.

People grabbed their cameras and cell phones to try to document the rare occurrence in the Inland Empire. The funnel clouds were spotted near the 215 Freeway.

Richard Shaw was on his way home from work and had his video camera with him, expecting to shoot hail and instead shot amazing tornado video.

"I was just excited that I was there when it was happening. I'd always wanted to be around one of those twisters," Shaw said.

Mother Nature showed her force, knocking over train cars like a model train set instead of the heavy carts that they are. The tornado also blew a big rig over Thursday.

"I had first seen it online, and I thought that somebody was just putting some false information out there because it was really just unbelievable. I had never seen anything like this happen in Southern California, and I've been a resident here my whole life," said Lena Kent of Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

The cars were empty and not in use.

Wind speeds have not been determined, but it takes wind gusts of over 100 mph to lift vehicles off the ground, according to the National Weather Service.

"It was really close, but it not blowing that hard where we were at until the hail came after the tornado had passed. And when the hail came, it came down hard," said local resident Ray Newara.

Newara was golfing when he saw one funnel cloud take shape.

The storms damaged homes, mostly in the form of rain and mud from heavy downpours. Fire crews were called certain neighborhoods, like that of Redlands Boulevard, where many homes were flooded. On Morrey Lane, four people have been displaced.

The American Red Cross is helping displaced residents, and cleanup crews continue working on damage control.

 

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