Sacramento and the surrounding areas in northern California have seen some extremely unusual weather since their drought emergency. Although the rains and weather have eased the dry situation somewhat, California remains in an unprecedented drought.
Heavy rain fell in San Francisco Wednesday morning, but by the end of the day only about a half-inch of the much-needed rain had fallen.
Other northern and central areas generally saw a quarter- to a half-inch, with an inch recorded in a few places.
"Finally we're getting some rain," San Francisco resident Mike Vladimer told KGO-TV. "We need it. It's been really dry."
But rain was not all that this storm brought. Residents saw four tornadoes wreak havoc on residential areas and an added six funnel clouds were seen, which added to the damage.
The twisters and the strong winds that surprised California residents damaged homes. Officials said the storms and tornadoes affected between 12 and 20 homes.
Officials said they were stunned that no human lives were lost and there were no injuries. The fact that many people had acted quickly, seeking immediate shelter from the storm, is probably what kept them safe from harm.
The tornadoes sent roof tiles and solar panels flying, leaving residents of the city of Roseville in shock over the rare event, officials said on Thursday
It happened late Wednesday in a residential area of Roseville, CA about 18-miles north of the state capital, Sacramento. Winds and wind tunnels ripped through a distance measuring some 100 yards, a Roseville Fire Department spokesman said. Another twister touched down in Ordbend, the weather service reported. There were reports of at least four tornadoes in the area, putting residents in turmoil and chaos.
"It kind of touched down pretty quickly and went back up," said the Roseville spokesman, Rob Baquera. "Roof tiles went flying off, solar panels ... and a boat was lifted up and moved about six feet from where it was."
Small funnel clouds occur about once a year in the Sacramento-area, but Baquera could not remember the last time a tornado hit Roseville. While no one was injured, residents were shaken up and hunkered down afterward, he said.
"It was definitely a tornado," said National Weather Service forecaster George Cline, adding that on the Enhanced Fujita scale it ranked as an EF0, the smallest measurement category for twisters.
Added to the tornadoes were torrential rains and strong winds that contributed to the rampage, and perhaps the fact that they continued in full force for nearly three hours. Hail also fell in spots, mixed in with the heavy rain.
Residents were advised to stay indoors as this weather pattern is extremely unpredictable.