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Weather Service Issues Tornado Warning

Officials advise caution during morning's severe storm conditions.

The National Weather Service issued a rare tornado warning for San Mateo County Friday as sudden storm conditions—including high winds and squalls—buffeted the region. The half-hour warning ended at 11:30 a.m., with no severe damage reported.

The warning, which came about because of a severe thunderstorm in the area, was issued for the cities of San Mateo, San Carlos, Redwood City, Millbrae, Foster City, Burlingame, Belmont, Hillsborough and Half Moon Bay, according to the weather service.

It was issued at about 11 a.m. as the weather service's radar system picked up signs of a severe thunderstorm and possible tornado approaching the coast, meteorologist Steve Anderson said. Ultimately, winds of 30-40 mph, a downpour of rain and pea-sized hail were reported, but not a tornado, Anderson said.

As of early Friday afternoon the heavy part of the storm had passed over the Peninsula, and "once it got over the Bay, it decreased in intensity rapidly," he said.

Earlier this morning, a funnel cloud actually did touch down in the North Bay, demolishing a structure at a landscaping business in west Santa Rosa, according to reports.

Sue Minnigerode, owner of the Sequoia Landscaping Materials, said she looked outside when she heard the wind howling around 9:45 a.m. and saw pieces of her 100-foot-long metal-framed shed fly onto nearby Pacific Avenue. Debris from the shed landed in nearby power lines and on properties three houses away, she said.

Rain is expected to continue this afternoon and tonight, with some thunderstorms expected to produce small hail. South winds will continue with gusts to around 45 mph and lows in the 40s.

Rain is likely for Saturday, with highs in the lower 50s.

Phyllis McArthur March 18, 2011 at 06:29 PM
Are You Kidding? Foster City????
Chameray Woods March 18, 2011 at 08:17 PM
A tornado did touch down there's video at ABC news. http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=weather&id=8021110
pat bell March 18, 2011 at 08:49 PM
Unfortunately the warning arrived at the same time as the weather they were warning about. The alert on TV was ahead of SMC Alert.
Barbara Christian March 18, 2011 at 09:54 PM
MP Patch: Your e mail alert arrived in my e mail inbox at 11:38, 38 minutes after the warning was first issued.. A friend of mine receive your e mail alert after 2pm this afternoon. I like your "alert" capability but think it should be more timely!!!
Vanessa Castañeda (Editor) March 18, 2011 at 11:48 PM
@Barbara Thanks for letting us know. We unfurled a new version of our site today, which has changed the way the site looks, along with the way that it behaves. Unfortunately, this seems to have temporarily affected many of the features of our site including the alerts. Sorry about the delay today. I'm relaying this to our IT team, so they can make sure to scrutinize the alerts delivery. One factor could also have led to the delay is your email server's ability to process email. It may be that the mail servers weren't able to deliver mail to you as fast as it normally does for whatever reason. Either way, thanks for bringing it to my attention, so I can help get that fixed. Stay dry out there.
pat bell March 19, 2011 at 12:27 AM
Belmont PATCH and my Yahoo email managed to get the message out as timely as the County Alert system.
Barbara Christian March 19, 2011 at 12:35 AM
Thank you for your reply! Sounds like you have a handle on it!!!!

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