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Latest El Niño Storm Could Deliver A Tornado And Massive Hail To SoCal

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The latest El Niño storm system brings the risk of severe thunderstorms, dime-sized hail and even the slim possibility of a tornado.

While the first rainstorm in a series of El Niño-related storms brought plenty of flooding and mudslides, the National Weather Service is predicting that the incoming round could bring a "marginal" risk of severe thunderstorms or possibly even a tornado, reports the L.A. Times. Though it's good to keep in mind that "marginal" is the center's term for the lowest category of risk.

"The main thing is they're just seeing instability in the atmosphere today... I think it's pretty broad where it could happen. It's a very marginal chance,"; said NWS meteorologist Emily Thornton.

Yesterday, there were reports of a tornado touching down in Vernon, damaging commercial buildings and tearing off pieces of roofing. But by early this morning it was downgraded to a "gustnado," which isn't as strong or as big as a tornado and isn't produced by atmospheric rotation in the storm system.

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As the latest storm moves south today from San Luis Obispo, it could also bring dime-sized hail and 45 mph winds. It's also expected to bring around 3 inches of rain as it heads down towards Orange County, and as much as 5 inches in some isolated areas, reports the L.A. Times, which could continue to cause serious flooding in some areas. And while Tuesday's storm passed relatively quickly, the latest rainfall is expected to last much longer, continuing through Thursday.

"This is not a bashful El Niño. This is a brash El Niño," said Bill Patzert, climatologist with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge.

Yesterday's storm brought more rain to L.A. than nearly any day in 2015, except for September 15 when the leftovers from Hurricane Linda washed ashore. Tuesday's rainfall also set records around the county.

Heavy rain from yesterday's storm also caused a portion of a wall to collapse at an El Pollo Loco in Lincoln Heights, which surely put a damper on someone's Ultimate Double Chicken Bowl.

The NWS anticipates a possible break in the rain on Friday, but another system is expected to hit the region on Saturday with rain lasting until Sunday. Oh yeah, and then more rain could fall beginning Monday.


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