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Northern California tornado alert strikes Auburn, Placer County

Tornado touches down near Sacramento, no injuries reported
By: AP and Auburn Journal reports
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A tornado touched down north of Sacramento on Monday, ripping shingles off rooftops, scattering patio furniture and blowing down trees and power lines.

But Auburn was part of another tornado warning later in the day. At 6:29 p.m., the National Weather Service issued a new tornado warning for Central Placer County, including areas near Auburn and north Auburn, western El Dorado County, and southwestern Nevada County.

"Doppler radar indicated a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado near North Auburn, or near Auburn, moving norheast at 25 mph," the weather bureau said.

The warning was in effect until 7:15 p.m. Monday, with the storm apparently skirting the area again.

Other locations in the warning include but were not limited to Cool, Lake of the Pines, Applegate, Alta Sierra, Colfax, Weimar and Foresthill, the Weather Service said.

Storms continued through the afternoon and evening, with lightning, hail and heavy rain in the Colfax and Auburn area.

The damage from the afternoon tornado appeared relatively minor, and no injuries were reported, The Associated Press reported.

The National Weather Service in Sacramento said the tornado hit about 3:15 p.m. near Yuba City, about 40 miles north of Sacramento.

"There was debris flying, trees down and damage to some buildings, structures," Sutter County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Brenda Baker told KTVU-News10 in Sacramento. "We do have some lines down, power is out."

One witness told the station that the tornado lifted up her barn and a boat, depositing them elsewhere on her property.

Sutter County Fire Department Battalion Chief John Shalowitz said firefighters could see the tornado touch down from their station in a mostly rural area about two miles south of Yuba City.

"It's a lot of telephone and cable lines down, but thankfully nobody was hurt," he told The Associated Press. "We have some roofing material that has been stripped from a couple of houses. A lot of trees down in the area."

The region is dominated by fruit orchards.

The tornado also caused damage to the Mallard Lake Golf Center near Yuba City, although it mostly consisted of uprooted trees. No one answered the golf club's telephone late Monday afternoon.

Shalowitz was unsure if more than one tornado hit the region.

"We've heard numerous reports, but nothing confirmed," he said.

The tornadoes were part of the first storm of the season to hit Northern California.

Several funnel clouds also were reported north of Sacramento, but National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Kurth said there were no other reports of touchdowns.

The National Weather Service issued an official tornado warning for several counties north and east of Sacramento and said the warning would be in effect until shortly after 6 p.m.

Lightning struck and the sky darkened around Colfax around 5 p.m. and the area between Meadow Vista and Colfax was pounded by pea-size hail before 6 p.m. as a strong storm rolled through. Lightning and thunder was also reported in Auburn at about 6:30 p.m.

The Journal's Gus Thomson contributed to this report.

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