Here is video of the twister, obtained by ABC7 Los Angeles:
The National Weather Service rated the tornado an EF-0, the lowest classifcation on the 0-5 scale, with estimated peak winds of 65-85 mph. The U.S. Tornadoes Facebook page says it’s first tornado to strike in Los Angeles County since 2007 and the first in the city of Los Angeles since 2004.
Writes KTLA: “The roof of an apartment building was lifted off into the air and crashed into the street below, and a day care center was damaged, residents said.”
Adds the LA Times: “The tornado hopscotched over a 10-block span, ripping off a roof and damaging at least five homes, officials said.”
In addition to the tornado, a waterspout (a tornado that forms over the water) was sighted near Newport Beach.
While rare, in records dating back to 1950, Los Angeles County is one of the more prone regions of the Lower 48 for tornadoes in December as energetic storm systems from the Pacific crash ashore:
Related post from USTornadoes.com: Here’s where tornadoes typically form in December across the United States
Here is the official report on the tornado from the National Weather Service forecast office in Los Angeles:
0920 AM TORNADO 5 SSW DOWNTOWN LOS ANGE 33.97N 118.33W 12/12/2014 LOS ANGELES CA BROADCAST MEDIA A SMALL TORNADO EF0 CREATED DAMAGE IN SOUTH LOS ANGELES FROM THE INTERSECTION OF S. VERMONT AVE AND W. GAGE AVE TO 57TH STREET AND S. FIQUEROA ST. DAMAGE REPORTED INCLUDES, AN APARTMENT COMPLEX ROOF, TREES, TWO RESIDENTIAL ROOFS, AND DAMAGE TO A STEEL BILLBOARD. EF0 WINDS SPEEDS RANGE FROM 65 TO 85 MPH.