SAN DIEGO — April 5, 2023 marks 97 years since San Diego County experienced the most damaging tornado on record, according to the National Weather Service.

Records from 1926 describe a waterspout which was reported to come ashore, becoming a tornado that swept the area of National City, said NWS.

What is a waterspout? They are described by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as “whirling columns of air and water mist.”

On this day in history, NWS says that rotation headed inland, hurling objects through the air in a rare instance of a tornado spinning in San Diego County.

Weather officials reported 18 people injured and 21 homes that were “total wrecks” in the South Bay region due to the tornado. Many homes and buildings were said to be “lashed to atoms by the furious winds.”

“One shingle was driven into the side of a building as if it had been shot from a gun,” NWS records state.

Weather officials say tornadoes are most common in the Central Plains and the southeastern U.S.; however, they have been reported in all 50 states.

All tornadoes aside, the weather on April 5, 1926 also brought noteworthy floodwaters. NWS described the event to produce mud up to four feet deep that “inundated the eastern part of downtown San Diego and National City, displacing 150 families.”

In fact, this day in 1926 marks the second wettest day in San Diego County history, according to NWS. Short-period rainfall records were broken: 0.28 inch in five minutes, 0.75 inch in 30 minutes, 1.16 inches in one hour and 2.09 inches in two hours, records show.

Flash forward 97 years and the weather forecast shows less hazard and more sunshine, with April 5, 2023 predictions from NWS showing warming temperatures across the region.