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Freak whirlwind strikes Pasadena Victory Park farmers market

April 08, 2013|By David Karp
  • Pasadena farmers market vendors clean up after Saturday's whirlwind.
Pasadena farmers market vendors clean up after Saturday's whirlwind. (Gretchen Sterling )

“It was like a scene out of 'The Wizard of Oz,' ” said Gretchen Sterling, longtime manager of the Pasadena Victory Park farmers market, of the freak whirlwind that cut a swath through her venue last Saturday.

The whirlwind descended suddenly at 12:45 p.m., just as vendors were closing up their stands, so few customers were around. No one was seriously injured, but several vendors were scraped and bruised when their canopies, which were swept an estimated 40 feet in the air, plummeted to earth, totally trashed. Underwood Family Farms, Bill’s Bees, Sydney Spencer, and ABC Rhubarb were among the stands that were mangled.

“It was weird,” said Vicki Bernard, a citrus farmer who watched, horrified, as the mini-tornado swept through neighboring stalls, but was unaffected. “I couldn’t feel the slightest wind from where I was. Thank God it didn’t happen two hours earlier when the market was crowded, that would have been a bloody disaster.”

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