Southern California

Tornado Touches Down in Southern California Desert

The twister hit north of a desert town in Riverside County, the National Weather Service said

A tornado touched down in the Southern California desert on Tuesday, meteorologists say.

The twister hit north of the small town of Desert Center in Riverside County sometime between 3:45 and 4 p.m., according to the National Weather Service in Phoenix, which overlooks that portion of the California county.

"From what we can figure out, it was a pretty good, strong thunderstorm that was able to produce this tornado," said Valerie Meyers, a forecaster-meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The tornado remained within the open desert about 70 miles east of Palm Springs, Meyers said.

The NWS examined photos taken by onlookers and assessed radar images, but was still looking into the intensity of the tornado.

The amount of damage, if any, had yet to be determined.

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