Nat'l Weather Service staff used LBReport.com photos to identify damaged areas
(January 6, 2005) -- LBReport.com has confirmed with the National Weather Service that the fierce windstorm that struck parts of ELB (esp. Woodruff Ave. near Wardlow Rd., extending on a diagonal from Spring St. to Conant St.) shortly after midnight on December 29 really was a tornado.
Dan Keeton, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service Oxnard (our area) office told LBReport.com that he personally came to Long Beach to visit the damaged areas within twelve hours of the event...and he used the digital photos posted by LBReport.com find the areas affected.
Details from Mr. Keeton follow:
"What we look for is evidence of rotation, and when I came to the area of Long Beach that was affected, I observed trees facing one way in one place, and then trees facing another way some distance away. That shows rotation."
"Other evidence included some bent TV antennas and minor shingle damage, and there was also a characteristic spottiness to the damage."
"In talking to people, I also received unprompted witness accounts with tornado type characteristics, describing things like items hitting the outside of the house."
"Taken together, we believe it was an Category F0 tornado. That's the lowest category. My unscientific estimate is the winds were about 65 m.p.h."
Mr. Keeton added: "We saw a large storm on Doppler Radar moving from Avalon into western Los Angeles County at about 10:30 p.m...and it had some rotation in it and we issued an alert. We had other tornado type damage in Inglewood and Whittier. We had reports of the top a palm tree torn off closer to downtown Long Beach (3900 block E. 5th St.) shortly after 11:00 p.m...followed by the multiple tree damage (in ELB) after midnight.
So were there were one or two tornadoes? "Probably two," Mr. Keeton said.
Is it accurate to say that a tornado or tornadoes "touched down"?
"When something attached to the ground is damaged, we say a tornado touched down," Mr. Keeton said.
Along Woodruff Ave., south of Wardlow Rd.
An L.A. TV station shot video of the area just east of Marshall Middle School.
Woodruff Ave. access road, just south of Wardlow Rd.
This tree is less than perpendicular...and appears to be heading horizontal. Faust Ave...north of Wardlow Rd.
Fanwood Ave. at Faust.
Likewise on Fanwood Ave.
Also on Fanwood Ave.
Wardlow Rd. at Faust
Wardlow Rd., looking west toward Woodruff Ave.
Here's a blackout (or worse) avoided: Edison crews scrambled to stabilize this power pole on Spring St. just east of Bellflower Blvd.
This "no parking sign" bit the dust, knocked over by a tree, east of Marshall Middle School.
Northward near Conant St., Patrick Henry Elementary School also had trees downed.
LBReport.com brought our readers the story before dawn...with pictures. At predawn, flares marked off parts of Los Coyotes Diagonal west of Bellflower Blvd., blocked by numerous tree branches.
LBFD crews were out in force, here along Wardlow Rd.
LBReport.com reader P. Harvey captured this at Monlaco Rd. at Senasac Ave. and told us in an accompanying email:
"I was up at 12:30 a.m. and would say it was more like a mini-tornado...[T]here was a loud hissing sound, the air was suddenly grey and the rain became tiny droplets flying horizontally."