Colleen Stocks was at a pumpkin patch in Davis with her husband and 5-year-old son on Saturday when she saw a storm brewing in the distance.
There were flashes of lightning and thunder. On social media friends were reporting hail in Woodland, the seat of Yolo County just north of Davis. Then Stocks got a severe weather alert on her phone. All of it made her nervous.
So the family decided to head home. They were about to turn into their neighborhood in Davis when they saw it: a tornado.
Stocks, 31, said she couldn’t believe what she was seeing, so she pulled out her phone and began recording a video of it.
“Oh my gosh! What in the world?” she’s heard saying. “It’s not going to come right here is it? Are we like storm chasers now?”
In the background her husband, Brady, 33, laughed.
“Mom is that a tornado?” asked her son, Colton.
Stocks’ video went viral, and it was one of several taken over the weekend as a thunderstorm moved through the Central Valley. One video showed a man screaming, “Yes baby! Look at you. You’re beautiful!” A woman can be heard in the background urging him to drive. Other videos show people running away and screaming as they sought shelter.
Stocks said the whole thing reminded her of her former home in Georgia.
“We had tornadoes back there, so I think that’s why I was a little nervous of this one,” she said.
Tornadoes in Yolo County happen from time to time. The last one to touch down in the region was in March 2014, about four miles east of Woodland, according to Karleisa Rogacheski, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.
In addition to this weekend’s tornado, Rogacheski said there were multiple reports of hail the size of dimes and nickels falling in the area.
“Some roads looked like they were covered in snow,” Rogacheski said.
There were also reports of “gustnadoes” — air that rotates from the ground up as opposed to a tornado that forms from a cloud and drops to the ground.
Meanwhile, a winter weather advisory has been issued for Plumas County and the western slope of the northern Sierra, where up to six inches of snow is expected to fall Sunday night. At least a foot of snow also is expected to fall in Lassen National Park.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles will continue to experience cooler weather until the middle of the week, when temperatures are expected to climb into the low 80s, and high 80s in the San Fernando Valley.