Update @ 9:36 p.m.: According to California Highway Patrol officials, motorists can expect continued delays with the closure of Ramona Expressway as crews works to clear the debris and ensure the safety of the roadways.
Closure of the expressway and surrounding roads could last into Monday.
The following photos show the funnel cloud as it moved towards touchdown near Nuevo, courtesy of Michael Mojarro, a local independent meteorologist and owner of SoCalweather.net:
Original: A menacing thunderstorm spawned a tornado that touched down near Nuevo this afternoon.
The tornado downed up to twelve power-lines prompting authorities to shut down both directions of the Ramona Expressway while So Cal Edison removed and repaired the damage.
“There are no reported injuries and one vehicle is stranded with the driver trapped while So Cal Edison takes care of the live lines in the roadway,” Riverside County Fire Department spokeswoman Melodie Hendrickson said.
A total of six occupants in the single vehicle that was temporarily stranded were assisted to a safe location at approximately 5:20 p.m., according to a Riverside County Fire Department report.
Video courtesy of Daniel Lane:
Enormous thunderclouds and a sweltering high-pressure system have been hovering over the desert and Southwest Riverside County over the past few days creating extreme heat and humidity.
The National Weather Service has issued extreme heat, flash flood and thunderstorm warnings in recent days, and the heat is expected to continue. The incident was visible from at least one community.
“From Idyllwild we could see several microbursts over the valley,” local resident Elicia Hopkins said.
No injuries are reported at this time.
However, motorists experienced delays and road closure as crews worked to secure the downed power lines.
More information will be provided as it comes available.
*Joe Fanaselle and Kerri S. Mabee contributed to this report.