A tornado touched down in Montebello on Wednesday, damaging several buildings and leaving a trail of destruction, the National Weather Service confirmed.
The rare weather event was reported a few minutes before 11:30 a.m., according to the Verdugo Fire Communications Center. Aerial video from Sky5 showed the storm ripped-off parts of a roof and scattered debris in the area of South Vail Street and Washington Boulevard.
It tore through portions of roof tops, sent signs flying, downed trees and damaged several cars.
The National Weather Service dispatched a team to Montebello, a city eight miles east of downtown Los Angeles, to assess the damage.
A video submitted by a KTLA viewer shows what appears to be a funnel cloud descending from the clouds as a storm moved through the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
The owner of a recycling company in the area said he was driving when the weather event occurred. He later saw the storm had torn off the roof of the building next door.
“All the windows of the cars were shattered … it was just a mess,” he said. “I saw cars just swiveling through the streets and it was just the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. I was only a few inches away, I had to reverse out of it.”
Rudy Garcia, a local gas station employee, said he was working when the wind blew through.
“When I turned around, there was just debris, pretty much as high as a helicopter would be, super, super high,” Garcia said.
The tornado was so powerful, it blew out the windows and a sign at the gas station where Garcia works.
“That’s when I went inside, to cover up. I was trying to hold the door, but I couldn’t hold it no more,” he said.
So far, there have been no reports of injuries.
After the incident, the city of Montebello closed Washington Avenue from Vail Avenue to Greenwood Avenue. The closure was expected to last “for the next few hours,” and officials suggested detours on Telegraph Road and Olympic Boulevard.
In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis called the weather event a “landspout.”
“The County’s Office of Emergency Management is aware and monitoring and will assist where needed. If you need emergency assistance please call 911,” the statement read.
In a tweet, NWS indicated that a landspout is a tornado, but typically causes less damage.
The NWS also sent a team to southeast Santa Barbara County where another twister damaged mobile homes Tuesday evening.
The last tornado reported in Los Angeles County was just last month in the Whittier and La Mirada area, according to the agency.