California Tornado Quiz


  1. Which of the following states has had more verified tornadoes in the period January through June 1998:  Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas or California?  ANSWER:  California.
  2. Which U.S. county had the most verified tornadoes in 1996?  ANSWER:  Fresno County.
  3. ___ T ___ F  No region in California experiences tornado frequencies that rival those observed in the Great Plains.  ANSWER:  False.  Portions of the southern Los Angeles Basin and portions of the Central Valley  (central San Joaquin and "tornado alley" in the Sacramento Valley--corridor between Chico and Oroville) have tornado frequencies that equal or rival those in the Great Plains.
  4. ___ T ___ F  Tornadoes are rare in California. ANSWER:  False. One of the most erroneous preconceived notions about California weather and climate that refuses to die, despite overwhelming contradictory evidence.
  5.  ___ T ___ F Tornadoes in California, unlike their Great Plains' cousins, are always weak and short-lived. ANSWER:  False.  In California, as in the Great Plains, the most frequent tornado to occur is the F0 (weak) .  However, F1 (moderate) tornadoes are almost as frequent. Some California tonadoes have path lengths as long as three miles or more. It is true that F2 (strong) tornadoes are much rarer in California than in the Great Plains. F4 and F5 damage producing tornadoes have never been observed in California.

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