Strongest tornado in L.A. County in 40 years hit 110 mile-per-hour winds

A tornado that touched down in Montebello on Wednesday heavily damaged the roof of the Royal Paper Box Company.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The tornado that swirled through Montebello for minutes on Wednesday recorded winds of 110 miles per hour, the strongest twister to touch down in Los Angeles County since 1983, according to the National Weather Service.

The Montebello tornado — which cut a path nearly half a mile long — left 17 buildings damaged and 11 structures red-tagged, according to the National Weather Service and local officials. The tornado was 50 yards wide.

VIDEO | 00:23
Tornado in Montebello captured on camera

Video shows a tornado in Montebello ripping through a roof and sending debris flying on Wednesday.


The tornado registered an EF1 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which measures the weather events based on wind speed.

The National Weather Service said that a tornado was responsible for ripping the roof off a building in Montebello on Wednesday morning.

March 22, 2023

An EF1 tornado is any that records winds between 86 and 110 mph and is considered a “weak” tornado. The most powerful tornadoes — with designations of EF5 — have wind speeds over 200 mph.

The last time a tornado hit at least an EF1 in Los Angeles County was just over 40 years ago, on March 1, 1983, when an EF2 tornado tore through a residential area in South-Central.

That tornado injured 25, mostly from flying glass, and destroyed 37 homes and severely damaged more than 100 others. Wednesday’s tornado injured just one.

On Tuesday, the Santa Barbara County city of Carpinteria also was hit by a tornado — much less severe than the Montebello twister.

The tornado that hit the coastal city had winds of just 75 mph, though it was enough to damage 25 mobile homes at Sandpiper Village as well as surrounding trees. One person was injured in the Carpinteria tornado.

The region averages one to two tornadoes a year, but the twister that hit Montebello this week was the Los Angeles area’s strongest since 1983.

March 23, 2023