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2 small tornadoes hit Los Angeles County, pushing California to its average annual tornado count

By Alisha Ebrahimji, CNN

Two small tornadoes briefly hit Los Angeles County, the National Weather Service there said, pushing California to its average annual tornado count.

The first touched down Thursday at 8:45 a.m. in Carson and lasted a minute, with estimated peak winds of 75 mph, the agency said. Minor damage to vehicles, trees and buildings — with small sections of roofing torn off — was reported.

About 10 minutes later, a second tornado touched down about 9 miles to the north in Compton and lasted four minutes, with peak winds estimated at about 65 mph, the weather service said. Downed power lines and small tree limbs, tarps torn from a nursery and minor roof and siding damage were reported.

No injuries were reported, CNN affiliate KABC reported.

Both tornadoes were rated EF0s, the weather service said. Those are the least destructive, with damage typically including broken tree branches, damaged road signs and small, shallow-rooted trees getting pushed over. The Enhanced Fujita, or EF, Scale rates tornadoes from 0 to 5 by assessing damage to estimate wind speed.

On average California sees around nine tornadoes a year, Storm Prediction Center data shows — and Thursday’s tornadoes brought this year’s count in the state to nine. The United States averages over 1,200 tornadoes every year, with the most in Texas and Kansas.

When the tornado hit Thursday in Compton, Ernie Abundis had been working on the roof of a Target store, he told KABC.

“I felt the wind, and it was one of those situations where it was too quick to react, and I braced for impact,” he said. “Being a SoCal resident, I didn’t even want to call it a tornado right away. I was like, ‘No way this is happening,’ it actually ended up being one.”

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CNN’s Robert Shackelford contributed to this report.

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