PHOTOS: Tornado touches down near Stockton | News
SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY, CA - A tornado touched down in San Joaquin County on Wednesday after a severe thunderstorm moved into the area.
"I heard a pop and then I heard crackling and I opened the window and I could see the whole shop just lifting, it was like a movie and I saw it just twisting and it exploded that way," said Abel Hernandez, who was inside a friend's farmhouse when the twister hit.
The National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado touched down southwest of Stockton on West Howard Road sometime between 12:30 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.
National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Mathews said a site survey showed the winds in the twister had reached between 94 and 112 miles an hour, qualifying it as an F-1 tornado, capable of doing serious damage, and very rare in the San Joaquin Valley.
The tornado damaged a large equipment storage building and downed power lines along Howard Road between Stark Road and South Roberts Road, San Joaquin County sheriff's Deputy Les Garcia said.
"My first reaction was to turn back and run and get the family, put them on the ground. One of my cousins was sleeping and I dragged him out," said Hernandez.
No one was hurt, but a number of trucks and cars and other equipment was damaged at the farm.
Calls into the sheriff's department reported that the tornado touched down near Stark Road and headed southeast over Howard Road.
Garcia said a number of items and pieces of structure were thrown around by the tornado, which damaged vehicles in the area.
There were several sightings of funnel clouds also in French Camp, Stockton, Lathrop and Tracy.
The storm also produced large hail, which was reported from as far south as Stockton and as far north as Natomas.