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Sonora residents, businesses hit with severe thunderstorm, tornado, flash flood warnings

Sonora was hit with hundreds of lightning strikes, flash flooding causing damage and even a tornado warning Saturday.

SONORA, Calif. — Tuolumne County was hit hard by severe thunderstorms, tornado warnings and flash floods Saturday. 

The parking lot of the 76 gas station on Washington Street turned into a pond around 3 p.m. Saturday, right before the county’s tornado warning was set to expire. 

“A storm I've not seen in my lifetime other than movies or other places,” said Eric Henderson, a Sonora resident. “It was scary. You could almost feel this energy coming down.”

About a mile away, flood waters poured into motel rooms at the Gold Lodge, leaving mud in its wake. 

Employees say they did everything they could to keep water out but the stream was just too powerful.

“It kept coming up higher and higher just out of nowhere,” said Keith Dolinshek, night manager of the Gold Lodge. “It was amazing.” 

National Weather Service Sacramento says a lot of lightning came through the area and potentially struck power lines and damaged structures. 

WATCH MORE: Cameron Park prepares for possible flooding

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