The National Weather Service (NWS) has confirmed two tornadoes landed in San Luis Obispo (SLO) County on Wednesday.
A broken line of convective showers, with line-embedded supercells, developed over SLO County coastal waters Wednesday afternoon. This was associated with a low pressure system quickly moving south along the California Coast.
NWS states the activity continued to move onshore around 4:00 p.m. bringing moderate to briefly heavy showers, gusty winds, and hail. Radar data and surface observations indicated isolated severe wind gusts, along with circulations embedded within the line.
NWS issued Special Weather Statements to alert the public of the potential hazards associated with these strong showers, along with a Special Marine Warning for the coastal waters. NWS also issued a Tornado Warning for the coastal area south of Cayucos to near Point San Luis.
The NWS station in Los Angeles/Oxnard conducted a damage survey Thursday and has confirmed that two EF1 tornadoes occurred in SLO County. One tornado was in Grover Beach, and the other tornado occurred affected the Los Osos area.
An EF1 tornado reaches speeds between 86 to 110 mph.
Well, that was an interesting day at work! A very strong “weather event” passed right over the PD and City Hall. @NWSLosAngeles is looking into the possibility of it being a tornado. pic.twitter.com/qYQzvd16Sl
— Commander Jim Munro (@JimMunroIII) February 8, 2024
“These are the first tornadoes to occur in San Luis Obispo County since February 2, 2004, and the strongest tornadoes to occur in San Luis Obispo County since before 1950,” NWS stated.
The Grover Beach tornado began at 3:57 p.m. in the 600 block of Rockaway Ave and lasted for two minutes ending in 1600 block of S. 16th Street. It reached an estimated peak wind speed of 95 mph with a path length of one mile and width of 50 yards.
“A mesovortex embedded within a linear convective segment quickly contracted after moving onshore in Grover Beach and then produced the brief tornado. The tornado produced significant damage to trees and power lines as it tracked through Grover Beach. The tornado uprooted and toppled numerous trees, some falling onto and damaging vehicles and powerlines. Multiple businesses sustained damage, and the tornadic winds buckled metal garages. The tornado dissipated before entering Arroyo Grande,” the NWS report stated.
The Los Osos tornado began at 3:41 p.m. near the Los Osos Valley Equine Farm and lasted for six minutes ending in the 8300 block of Los Osos Valley Road. It reached an estimated peak wind speed of 95 mph with a path length of five miles and width of 50 yards.
“A low-topped mini-supercell moved onshore in the Los Osos area and produced a weak tornado just east of Los Osos. Damage along its path was intermittent in proximity to Los Osos Valley Road. The damage consisted of several snapped and downed power poles, with sections of a roof torn off a greenhouse. The tornado dissipated before reaching areas just west of San Luis Obispo,” NWS states.