Tornado Warning Shocks Local Residents

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Tornado Warning Shocks Local Residents
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Red indicates where the Tornado Warning was valid (Photo: National Weather Service)

By edhat staff

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued flash food warnings and a surprising tornado warning as a large rainstorm passed over Santa Barbara County on Christmas evening.

Wednesday's rainstorm brought nearly two inches of rain for some areas as it started in the late afternoon. NWS predicted rates of 0.25-0.50" per hour, with local rates to 0.70" per hour and issued a flood advisory until 11:00 p.m. which was upgraded to a flash flood warning in some areas until almost 9:00 p.m.

Just after 9:30 p.m., NWS issued a Tornado Warning including Carpinteria, Montecito, and Summerland until 10:30 p.m. with the possibility of penny-sized hail.

As 10:21 p.m., NWS announced the tornado warning was cancelled. "The Tornado Warning that was in effect for southeastern Santa Barbara County has been CANCELLED as the storm has weakened and does not appear capable of producing a tornado," the alert stated.

Additionally, NWS produced images showing where the tornado was forming and might have landed.However, there were no reports of a tornado or any damage.

Edhat readers reached out to share their shock of such a warning. "Really? Now Tornados?" one subscriber wrote in. Luckily, we were spared from such a rare occurrence.

Ventura County, however, was not so lucky. NWS updated their report and confirmed a narrow EF0 tornado touched down near the Santa Clara River and moved less than 1 mi NNW across the harbor. Damage was limited to trees, roof tiles, and canopies. 


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Shasta Guy Dec 27, 2019 03:13 PM
Tornado Warning Shocks Local Residents

The alert seemed to be very location specific. My daughter got the alert on her phone, but I did not get one on my phone even though we were in our living room in downtown SB. I suppose it was because she’s a Westmont student and they pinged her because of her school address. I then checked NOAA weather for 93105, but it showed only Flash Flood advisory. When I selected the Montecito/Carpinteria portion of the map then the tornado advisory showed up. The poster at 7:22pm has all the right info to protect yourself, but I fear 99% of the residents wouldn’t know what to do. My parents were both from Kansas so a little tornado preparedness was passed down to me.

SBZZ Dec 27, 2019 02:37 PM
Tornado Warning Shocks Local Residents

I was in IV in late Sept 1976 when the blackest, most bad ass cloud complex I have ever seen entered the mouth of the Channel and proceeded to head towards us. Suddenly we noticed a whitish pipe extending from the cloud to the water, slowly undulating back and forth. It dissipated, only to have several more form in its place. Rain started in giant tropical warm drops. The cell moved onto the beach and unleashed a downpour of biblical proportions. The water spouts broke off the water and changed to funnel clouds, whipping wildly at the base of the main cloud. Then the system quickly moved off to the northeast and it was over, just like that. In its wake, 4 inches of rain in just over an hour and a submerged airport. I thought I was in a dream – the IV version of the Wizard of Oz.

TWOSCOOPS Dec 27, 2019 07:54 AM
Tornado Warning Shocks Local Residents

How did you get the tornado warning? I heard NWS warning on tv, took over programming with text and recorded voice, and loud sound blast (the "this is a test" one). I didn't get any warning on my phone. A friend didn't get a warning on NOAA weather radio. Was any warning given on local radio? How long did it take KEYT to report it? This twitter guy provided a running real-time commentary: https://twitter.com/ai6yrham?lang=en

a-1580206365 Dec 27, 2019 03:35 PM
Tornado Warning Shocks Local Residents

No-one at my house had any idea about this tornado----not even days later. Never anything said to us by anyone we know about this event.

a-1580206365 Dec 27, 2019 07:06 AM
Tornado Warning Shocks Local Residents

I hope we all remember the microburst in Sept. 2017! If it looks stormy, nasty, gnarly and is raining extremely hard on the beach, at least retreat toward or to the parking lot! Don't criticize me for using "gnarly," I grew up when it was common. lol. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Good video from Hendry's/Arroyo Burro, and NWS: --------------------------------------- https://laist.com/2017/09/05/sb_microburst.php -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Video from East Beach, 3 scenes; the middle seems most on-the-ground realistic: --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2wq-U4zr5k

a-1580206365 Dec 27, 2019 09:34 AM
Tornado Warning Shocks Local Residents

I saw a funnel cloud off of Goleta Beach in 2010. It never touched down but moved inland at the airport and disappeared. https://www.noozhawk.com/article/030910_funnel_cloud_in_goleta

a-1580206365 Dec 26, 2019 07:22 PM
Tornado Warning Shocks Local Residents

When there's an official "Tornado Warning" (not Advisory), you must immediately take cover to protect your body from damage from flying building materials and contents (glass, wood, metal). Get away from windows, get inside a closet, cover your head...or get inside bathtub, cover with mattress or pillows. Immediately. If you have a basement, cellar (a room below ground level in a house), or any underground shelter, go there. Never be in a mobile home during a tornado.

a-1580206365 Dec 27, 2019 03:37 PM
Tornado Warning Shocks Local Residents

Luckily one of our old clawfoot bathtubs is large enough to fit two people. I guess anyone else in our household (too slow) would be out of luck.

a-1580206365 Dec 27, 2019 05:02 AM
Tornado Warning Shocks Local Residents

I saw the warning as an emergency message that superseded the tv audio feed & ran a text ticker. I must admit -- I would not have gone into a closet or bathtub, as I'm in San Roque not far from Foothill.

a-1580206365 Dec 26, 2019 07:12 PM
Tornado Warning Shocks Local Residents

I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout tornadoes. Do we need to learn about them now? Sheesh. I didn’t get a warning, but would have been completely unprepared if I had.

Lando Dec 26, 2019 06:06 PM
Tornado Warning Shocks Local Residents

Someone told me there was a tornado in this area in the late 1800's that killed a whole bunch of people. Anyone ever heard of this?

Shasta Guy Dec 26, 2019 06:02 PM
Tornado Warning Shocks Local Residents

It could have been very serious yesterday. You just don’t mess around with tornados because they usually always win. Thanks for all the posts yesterday.

a-1580206365 Dec 26, 2019 05:55 PM
Tornado Warning Shocks Local Residents

Weather guy on KEYT said there were two tornadoes. One headed for Santa Barbara didn't touch down. The one headed for Ventura did touch down. TWO. That's news!

a-1580206365 Dec 26, 2019 05:14 PM
Tornado Warning Shocks Local Residents

NWS Los Angeles ✔ @NWSLosAngeles-- This morning we conducted a storm survey for possible tornado damage at @VenturaHarbor. We have confirmed that a narrow EF0 tornado touched down near the Santa Clara River and moved less than 1 mi NNW across the harbor. Damage was limited to trees, roof tiles, and canopies. #CAwx

edwardchapeau Dec 26, 2019 04:58 PM
Tornado Warning Shocks Local Residents

I can see how people might be jaded by fire, flood and debris-flow warnings. But a tornado warning, for a tornado that actually materialized... surely that was an attention getter. Yet, nobody we talked to today had heard the warning or heard that one had touched down locally. Makes ya think.

a-1580206365 Dec 27, 2019 04:54 AM
Tornado Warning Shocks Local Residents

I'm not jaded by *any* of it, after 60 years, least of all joyous rain! Maybe people don't need to speak of it, unlike those of us who haunt online sites? And many on Edhat spoke of it, as did their friends & family, I do believe. :-)

--phantom-- Dec 26, 2019 05:28 PM
Tornado Warning Shocks Local Residents

I was driving on 101 northbound from Ventura to Santa Barbara at the time the warning was issued and my wife and I got multiple "shrieking tone" warnings on our iPhones. We were ready to bail but never saw signs of severe weather, which makes sense now that we see from the reports that the F0 touched down behind us. Good call on the NWS's part. That's a classic "hook echo" tornado signature in that video.

chico berkeley Dec 26, 2019 04:56 PM
Tornado Warning Shocks Local Residents

Was it a waterspout off the coast that was going to come inland and expend itself over Montecito? A water spout came ashore back in 69' or so and fell apart over a baseball field. Wondering what was going on in the field, a buddy and I entered the field and there were fish in the baseball field. That was about 2 miles inland. I was an adult before I realized what had happened. We were about 8 years old.

a-1580206365 Dec 26, 2019 04:32 PM
Tornado Warning Shocks Local Residents

The tornado veered away from Santa Barbara and did hit Ventura, confirmed by National Weather Service. At about 10:30pm, trees uprooted and blocking street at 1691 Spinnaker, Ventura.

TWOSCOOPS Dec 26, 2019 04:23 PM
Tornado Warning Shocks Local Residents

Tornado history in Santa Barbara: http://www.tornadohistoryproject.com/tornado/California/Santa_Barbara/table

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