Two tornadoes, the strongest in more than 74 years, hit San Luis Obispo during last storm

Grace Toohey, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Weather News

Two tornadoes touched down Wednesday along San Luis Obispo County's coast, hitting Grover Beach and the Los Osos area with 95-mph winds that uprooted trees, snapped power lines and took part of a roof off at least one building, according to the National Weather Service.

After initial reports of the tornado, meteorologists confirmed that the two E-1 tornadoes — which indicates winds over 86 mph — touched down Wednesday afternoon as severe thunderstorms from a low pressure system moved across the Central Coast.

The first tornado hit the Los Osos area just before 4 p.m., where officials said it moved along Los Osos Valley Road.

"The damage consisted of several snapped and downed power poles, with sections of a roof torn off a greenhouse," forecasters with the weather service reported.

Then minutes later, a second tornado hit about 20 miles south in downtown Grover Beach.

"The tornado produced significant damage to trees and power lines. ... [It] uprooted and toppled numerous trees, some falling onto and damaging vehicles and powerlines," the report said. "Multiple businesses sustained damage, and the tornadic winds buckled metal garages."


Video from the aftermath in Grover Beach showed trees toppled and some uprooted.

Each tornado lasted only a few minutes, with winds estimated to have peaked at 95 mph, the weather service estimated.

Officials said these are the first tornadoes to hit San Luis Obispo County since 2004 and the strongest since before 1950.

The city of Grover Beach on Thursday declared a local emergency following the tornado.

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