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California and the West

Storm Produces Hail, Funnel Cloud in Orange County

December 22, 1997|PETER WARREN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

HUNTINGTON BEACH — A swift-moving funnel cloud ripped a section of roof off a home overlooking Huntington Harbour on Sunday, ushering in a short-lived thunder-and-lightning storm that pelted portions of Orange County with pea-sized hail.

The peeled-off roof lay seemingly intact a short distance from its second-story home in the 3800 block of Seascape Drive. No one was home at the time. At least one small boat sank and several larger vessels were blown away from waterfront docks, left adrift until the storm blew over and emergency officials could retrieve them.

High winds uprooted trees, tossed heavy patio furniture about and left holiday decorations strewn throughout the wet streets. The winds were also blamed for about 2,000 Garden Grove residents losing power in the afternoon, and for a downed light pole. No injuries were reported.

Tim Bashaw of Westminster was standing outside with his neighbors, watching "the lightning show" in the distance, when he spotted a section of cloud that suddenly seemed to darken and stand out.

"I was just joking around when I said, 'Hey, look, a funnel cloud.' But then we watched as it got really dark and long, and we were like, 'That is a funnel cloud!' "

Bashaw and his neighbors watched as the funnel cloud seemed to dip as if to touch down before climbing and dipping again and again as it made its way toward the ocean.

High winds, accompanied by low temperatures, are expected to make for unusually chilly weather today in Southern California.

Winds along the coast and inland valleys could reach 15 to 30 mph. In the mountain passes, gusts could reach 50 mph.

Temperatures in the local mountains are expected to drop into the 30s, while the coast and inland areas should experience temperatures in the mid-50s to low 60s, said meteorologist John Sherwin of WeatherData Inc., which provides forecasts for The Times.

Heavy snow Sunday caused the California Highway Patrol to shut down several highways in Southern California. Both directions of U.S. 395 and California 138 in San Bernardino County were closed for periods Sunday, as was Interstate 15, the main highway connecting Southern California to Las Vegas, near Hesperia.

Chains were required in some mountain areas.

Times staff writer David Reyes contributed to this story.

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