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Rare Twisters Hit San Francisco

May 5, 1998

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (AP) _ Sheila Scheid knew what was happening when she looked out her front window and saw shingles and dirt flying through the air. She just wasn’t didn’t know what to do about it.

``Nobody ever says anything about a tornado in California,″ she said.

A small tornado tore through a neighborhood of the Silicon Valley community 40 miles southeast of San Francisco on Monday, uprooting trees, damaging roofs and shattering windows. One woman was slightly injured.

Twisters are relatively rare in California, although there have been 20 to 30 of similar strength in the San Francisco Bay area in the past four decades, said meteorologist Dan Weygand at the National Weather Service.

``Compared to Texas, the chances of getting hit by a tornado here are almost negligible,″ Weygand said.

About 1,500 customers lost power in Sunnyvale, along with more than 4,000 in nearby Los Altos, Pacific Gas & Electric said.

High wind shattered stained glass windows at the Congregational Community Church in Los Altos.

``This is what happens in nature,″ said the Rev. Genavieve Heywood. ``Chaos leads to creation and we will create something new from this. We’ll clean it up and we’ll go on.″

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