Officials issued tornado warnings for Glenn, Placer, El Dorado and Sutter counties.
The National Weather Service confirmed a EF-0 tornado near Roseville, with wind speeds up to 85 mph.
“Looked out the window and heard a big boom,” resident Mark Thompson told CBS Sacramento. “You could feel it, and I saw my bench fly up in the air and it hit my neighbor’s house.”
The Roseville tornado damaged a dozen homes, though there were no reports of injuries.
Weather Channel meteorologist Michael Palmer told NBC News that tornadoes are rare in northern California.
"It's certainly unusual," Palmer said of Wednesday's storms. "You do not see that many tornadoes in California, although it's not completely unprecedented. The tornadoes which do occur are created by systems coming off the Pacific and are generally much weaker than those experienced by the Plains, as was the case here."