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Update: Tornado touchdown confirmed in Butte County

KRCR Chico-Redding logo KRCR Chico-Redding 3 days ago Austin Herbaugh
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Update Saturday, Nov. 21:The National Weather Service has confirmed that an EF1 tornado touched down between Oroville and Concow.

Officials say the twister damaged property, trees and fences in the area.

The tornado passed by an elementary school, forcing students and staff members to take shelter inside.

Radar showed a strong thunder cell moving through the area along Highway 70 and Pentz Road just after 2 p.m. Wednesday.

diagram © Provided by KRCR Chico-Redding

The National Weather Service says that there were several reports of tornadoes across the Sacramento region around the same time.

a sign on the side of a dirt field © Provided by KRCR Chico-Redding

KRCR Meteorologist Mike Krueger said it was likely a tornado two days before the National Weather Service confirmed the touchdown.

Krueger said pictures taken of the storm show a funnel cloud and debris circulating around it, indicating a tornado.

© Provided by KRCR Chico-Redding

Viewer Beth Hall shared a video showing the twister touching the ground.

Caption: KRCR Beth Hall shared this video that appears to show a small tornado making touchdown.

Raynee Sewall, the coordinator of the after-school program at Spring Valley Elementary School, spoke about Tuesday’s unusual severe weather in an interview with KRCR.

“It was quite intense. There were branches flying through the air, there were pieces of tin roof flying through the air,” Sewall said.

“It was the wizard of oz. I could not believe it, we were definitely not in Kansas.”

She says she knew something was wrong as soon as the power went out around 2 p.m.

“Suddenly the power had gone out and we noticed a huge gust of wind. One of my staff members looked out the window and saw a tornado cell going across our field,” Sewall said. “Instantly we knew we had to get the kids under the tables.”

Caption: Raynee Sewall, the coordinator of the after-school program at Spring Valley Elementary School, spoke with KRCR Thursday.{p}{/p}

There were 43 students, many of them Camp Fire survivors, at school when the severe weather struck. Among them were seven kindergarteners at an after-school program.

“I was in disbelief. It was one of those autopilot moments—we’ve gone through a lot of natural disasters, we’ve experienced a lot of trauma,” Sewall said. “But for the sake of our kids, we acted quickly.”

Several students outside for PE class were brought inside while the rest were told to take cover, Sewall says.

“I told them, ‘let’s do a game of hide and seek everybody-- really quickly let’s all get under this table.’”

Staff members comforted the children who were scared and read stories out loud until the storm passed.

Sewall says she is grateful that she and two other staff members were there to get the kids to safety.

Josh Peete, the Superintendent of the Golden Feather Union Elementary School District, says that a fence around the school’s brand-new playground blew over, adding that a satellite dish was also damaged and will need to be replaced.

map © Provided by KRCR Chico-Redding a group of lawn chairs sitting on top of a playground © Provided by KRCR Chico-Redding

The $250,000-dollar playground, which was just installed with help from the Aaron Rogers Foundation, was not damaged.

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