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Tornados Tear Through Fallbrook, Rainbow and Temecula: February 19, 2005

Last updated March 1, 2005

Residents of neighborhoods in Fallbrook, Rainbow and southwest Temecula were surprised Saturday morning by tornados which ripped quickly through their properties, felling trees, fences and ripping a few roof tiles off homes in its wake. No injuries were reported.

"There is significant damage all along our street, and in the surrounding area," said Lisa King, a resident of Classic Way in Temecula's Rainbow Canyon Villages neighborhood. "Trees blew over, fences are down, roof tiles flew!"

"First we heard thunder, then there was a roar, and then a loud snap." said Temecula resident William Michaels. The loud snap was a 60 foot pine tree uprooted in their backyard. It fell into a neighbors yard, taking part of a fence with it. A concrete walkway in his backyard was also damaged by the fallen tree. Loose acrylic windows on his patio blew out as well.

Damage from the tornados in the Rainbow Canyon Villages neighborhood in southwest Temecula was relatively minor, but was still estimated in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. The affected area is located south of Highway 79 South and west of Pechanga Parkway.

DeeDee Michaels, William's husband, commented ironically on the loss of their pine tree. "We had just called a couple of weeks ago to have that pine tree removed," she said, looking at the exposed root ball of the fallen pine tree. "The tree service was too busy."

Downed trees temporarily blocked Masters Drive and Clubhouse Drive in the Rainbow Canyon neighborhood. Tiles were missing from roofs along Masters Drive and Classic Way. At Masters Drive and Clubhouse Drive, a felled fence revealed where a permanent backyard barbecue had been moved a few feet by the tornado.

At the end of Masters Drive, homeowner and avid weather-watcher Kenny Blair commented on the twister. "I didn't see any defined funnel cloud," he said. His wife had urged him to move away from the windows of his house when the tornado hit. "It just looked like a mass of rain and debris flying, swirling around."

Blair said that it only took about 15 seconds after the thunder for the tornado to arrive. The duration or the twister was approximately another 30 seconds, he said. The tornado had come and gone within a minute's time.

Another neighbor had been having coffee in his backyard when the tornado arrived. It picked up pieces of his wooden fence and hurled it at him and his wife. They barely had time to get inside their house before the fence brushed by them.

Nearly all the wooden fences in the Rainbow Canyon neighborhood were down or damaged in the tornado's wake.

The City of Temecula public works department moved to cut up the two fallen eucalyptus trees blocking roads. Grant Yates, assistant to the city manager, supervised the relief effort. The sound of

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The Fallbrook weather pages are a service of WeatherCurrents. Fallbrook, California is located in northern San Diego County, close to I15 and Camp Pendleton, and is home to ranches, avocado and citrus groves, and plant nurseries.
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