Sunnyvale, CA Tornado Damage, Jan 1951
FREAK TORNADO WREAKS $2 MILLION HAVOC IN BAY AREA.
San Francisco, Jan. 12. (AP) -- An intense storm, including a freak tornado, caused more than $2,000,000 damage in the San Francisco Bay area yesterday.
Winds up to 78 miles an hour were recorded. No fatalities were reported. Four persons were injured.
The tornado, virtually unknown on the Pacific Coast, tore a half-mile-wide path through Sunnyvale, 35 miles south. More than 250 homes and two large industrial plants there were damaged heavily.
Roofs were ripped off, telephone poles snapped like firecrackers. The wind picked up a 10-ton crane and deposited it almost 100 feet away.
At the Westinghouse Electric Co. plant, a 400x200 foot roof was carried away. Part of a turbine machine shop collapsed on scores of parked cars. Company officials set damage at $100,000.
Officials said damage in Sunnyvale, a town of 10,000, would approximate $1,500,000.
Elsewhere around the bay, power lines were broken, thousands of windows were smashed and trees fell on dozens of homes.
The twister hop-scotched into San Jose, whisking the roofs off a score of houses or damaging them so severely residents were forced to flee.
Automobiles were spun like tops and lightning set a five-unit apartment house fire.
Across the bay, howling winds followed a two-mile path from El Cerrito to Richmond, knocking down chimneys and tossing huge signs about like paper. In Oakland, scores of trees were toppled and several autos were crushed.
Piles of 4x4 timbers were hurled through the air at one Oakland lumber yard. Some of the planks were found nearly a mile away.
An airplane at Benicia Airport was picked up and deposited on top of a hangar.
Several other planes were damaged at other airports. The wind carried away one entire wall of a house at Moss Beach Airport, near Half Moon Bay.
Storm damage totaling more than $100,000 was surveyed in San Diego today, as a rapidly moving storm that caused serious injuries to at least three persons headed east.
At Gillespie Field, El Cajon, a 250 foot long hangar building was toppled by the force of the wind last night.
The roof crashed down, and all but two of the 12 privately owned planes parked inside suffered major damage.
JOE RUST, county airports manager, estimated the damage at about $100,000.
At the Laguna Mountain County industrial road camp, a 100-foot tall Jeffrey pine was blown over and crashed on the roofs of two of the barracks housing prisoners. Five men were injured, three seriously.
Long Beach Press-Telegram California 1951-01-12