Glenn County orchard hit by tornado Wednesday


WILLOWS, Calif. - A Glenn County man is still working to figure out how much he lost when a tornado Wednesday evening narrowly missed his home and instead struck his orchard.

Jeremiah Spooner of Willows was home with his family at the time a tornado tore through his property off Bayliss Blue Gum Road north of Willows in rural Glenn County.

"We were actually hiding in my daughter's bedroom," Spooner said. "It got really, really loud. Sounded like a train. We waited it out maybe for a minute, maybe two minutes--super loud. And then the hail hit, a different noise, but still loud. Went outside and had quite a few trees missing."

Sparing his home and his family inside, force from the winds uprooted almond trees in his orchard.

"It went through an angle and we've got about 20 or 30 down trees here along the edge of the orchard. We're not real sure how many are out in the rest of the orchard, might be upwards of 100 trees," he said.

While many of the trees were toppled or snapped at the root, one tree was actually lifted off the ground and carried a distance away.

"We got one that's kind of not where it belongs out in the alfalfa field," Spooner said with a chuckle. "It's probably about a hundred and fifty yards from where it belongs."

Spooner said that while the tornado did considerable damage it was what accompanied it that was the most devastating.

"The tornado itself probably didn't necessarily do that much damage," he said. The hail on the other hand, we're going to have to have an assessor out to assess what we actually lost in the hail storm."

The hail likely did more damage because it stripped near-ready to harvest almonds right off the limbs. Much of the crop may be a loss, and that could be the story around much of the Northstate, where hail fell in torrential downpours.

Spooner says he has crop insurance that should cover his crop losses and he's just glad it wasn't worse.