A tornado that tore through Cedarville Twp. leaving demolished houses, annihilated buildings and homeless residents and animals on Wednesday had winds speeds up to 145 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
Seth Binau, a NWS meteorologist, traveled with a team Thursday to various locations impacted by the tornado, including Cedarville Twp. to collect information and asses the damage.
“We don’t see these very often when we go out and do damage surveys,” he said. “To have a residence suffer this much structural damage and to have farm buildings completely leveled, it’s pretty significant,” Binau said.
The most severe damage occurred on Barber and Weimer Roads.
According to a NWS preliminary report, the tornado touched down in field west of Stringtown Road causing minor damage to the roof on a home. Wind speeds increased another 10 mph as the tornado moved across U.S. Route 35 and Federal Road. A barn had severe damage to its walls and most of the roof was torn off.
The tornado crossed Route 72 completely destroying fences and buildings in its path, according to NWS. A trailer was overturned. The windows on a house were shattered and the roof was severely damaged. Barns in this area also had significant roof damage.
On Turnbull Road, a detached garage was demolished. A small pickup truck parked in a garage was lifted and dragged to the middle of a field 75 yards away, according to the NWS report. A lawn tractor was also thrown several hundred yards away from where it was parked.
The tornado reached its maximum wind speed, 145 mph, on Barber Road where it destroyed the Roger Dobbins’ family home which was built in the 1880s.
The NWS report states: “All exterior walls failed and the home collapsed which led to very little interior wall integrity remaining. A close inspection of the foundation found very little reinforcement for the exterior walls.”
Dobbins, 71, his wife, daughter, his daughter’s friend and three children were trapped in the basement for 30 minutes after the tornado struck. All seven people survived and were unharmed, but the family lost two homes on Barber Road.
“I grew up on that farm,” Dobbins said during a News Center 7 interview. “My wife and I milked cows in the barn for 30 years. And most of the buildings around there we had built ourselves. So there’s a lot of history and personal investment in the farm. I love the farm.”
Dobbins said Cedarville residents have been generous giving him and his family food and other donations. Grace Baptist Church has allowed the family to temporarily live in a house usually reserved for visiting missionaries.
Dobbins said he plans to start over and rebuild on the farm.
“I’m a farmer and this is my place,” Dobbins said.
The tornado’s momentum dwindled as it traveled parallel to Townsley Road causing minor damage to a roof on a barn.
“The tornado weakened and lifted very close to the Clark/Greene County line as a little more debris fell out of the rotating storm into extreme southeast portions of Clark County,” according to the NWS.
NWS has rated Wednesday’s tornado an EF-3 on a scale of zero to five.
“Honestly, I know that the National Weather Service has got to rate it, but it really doesn’t matter because obviously the tornado took houses it took homes from people who lived there for years it’s taken away some of their livelihood… their tractors and they’ve got to pick up and start all over,” said Cedarville Police Chief Chris Gillaugh. “I feel really bad for the people that have their lives turned upside down.”
Greene County Emergency Management Agency will issue a report detailing the financial impact of the tornado, said Rosanne Anders, the Greene County EMA director.
Anders said it could take up to two weeks to complete the report.
“We’ll use dollar values from the auditor’s office so we can have an idea of the loss,” she said.
Anders encouraged all residents to sign up for Hyper-Reach Emergency Notification System, on the Greene County website, which will send weather alerts by phone or email.
“It’s a great warning system that alerts your cell phone as soon as a tornado warning is issued,” Anders said.
Residents whose homes were significantly damaged by the tornado can file a claim with the county auditor’s office for a tax reduction.
“We’ll come out and make an assessment,” said Greene County Auditor David Graham.
Clark County was spared serious structure damages, Clark County Emergency Management director Lisa D’Allessandris said.
“Once it hit Clark County, it did not touch down at all,” she said.
D’Allessandris was getting regular updates from firemen and around the county during the storm.
“It was typical weather for this type of year so we monitored everything very closely,” she said. “It was a unique situation for us to have a dry run, so to speak, without any risks.”
Residents can expect scattered showers on Saturday, however clear skies and warmer temperatures, up to the mid 60s to low 70s are in the forecast for Sunday through Tuesday, according to News Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Jamie Simpson.
F5/EF 5 Tornados in Ohio 1950-Present
Gallipolis (April 23, 1968)
Sayler Park/Cincinnati (April 3, 1974)
Xenia (April 3, 1974)
Niles (May 31, 198)
SOURCE: NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center