Tornadoes and ‘Gustnadoes' Seen Near Davis

If you were in Solano or Yolo counties Saturday you couldn’t have missed it.

Severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings were active from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. from a storm dropping nickel sized hail and at least one tornado, according to the Sacramento office of the National Weather Service.

“What was interesting was how we were getting videos and photos shortly after showing all different types of funnels and circulations that looked more like dust devils, or rotation that was ground based on not connected to any thunderstorm nearby,” said NBC Bay Area Meteorologist Rob Mayeda.

NWS Sacramento confirmed Sunday in addition to the one tornado report, several "gustnadoes" formed slightly before the tornado was spotted.

“You can think of 'gustnadoes' as being more like dust devils,” Mayeda said. “They are ground-based circulations that usually get whipped up along a gust front boundary racing outward from a severe thunderstorm or supercell. So in this case, some of the best up close videos from Saturday’s event were from the multiple 'gustnadoes' ripping up dust and tumbleweeds and tossing them into the air like cotton balls.

“What made this event pretty dynamic was that it occurred along I-80 between Davis and Sacramento, a fairly high visibility area for a storm like this on a Saturday evening so the amount of videos on social media caught quite a few of them.”

While tornadic thunderstorms are somewhat rare in September (as is rain or Sierra snow), California averages about seven tornadoes per year, with the Central Valley northward to Glenn and Tehama counties as locations usually seeing the most activity.

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