April 12, 2012

A tornado in Merced? Probably not, but here's a video

Did a tornado hit Merced on Wednesday? Probably not, according to meteorologists at the National Weather Service's office in Hanford. But don't tell that to Katrina Ochoa, who has video footage and photos that may show otherwise.

Security camera footage from her parents' Beachwood-area home shows a whirling gust of wind beating against some sort of evergreen tree as various unidentifiable items blow by in the background. The wind's lashing caused some damage to the home and nearby property, including downed fences, downed roof shingles and plenty of tree debris. It's certainly not on par with the destructive tornado that touched down in the San Joaquin County community of French Camp, but it does seem that some sort of whirlwind -- maybe just a high-powered dust devil -- visited Ochoa's parents' Lobo Avenue home.

Another funnel cloud was spotted by Sun-Star reader Shell Hammond above agricultural fields in the Dos Palos area Sunday.

Meteorologist James Brotherton at the NWS Hanford office said winds in Merced County reached gusts of 25-to-30 miles per hour on Wednesday, and more wind and thunderstorms -- including possible tornado warnings -- could be expected for Thursday and Friday.

The photos attached to this post were taken by Ochoa. Here's her video:

-- Posted by Brandon Bowers

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