Tornado confirmed; trees uprooted, damage widespread in South Vienna

5:55 p.m Monday, Nov. 6, 2017 Community News
A tree rests on the second story of a deck attached to a house along Long Court in South Vienna Monday. Bill Lackey/Staff

The National Weather Service confirmed a tornado touched down in South Vienna on Sunday, causing damage across the village.

The tornado was an EF1, the weather service said, which have wind speeds between 86 to 110 mph.

The storm knocked down several trees, blew a trampoline across the street, wrecked fences and damaged signs in the village. Neighbors said the rain Sunday night into Monday morning was hectic and the wind was vicious.

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“I just started hearing the worst wind that I’ve ever heard,” said Rachel Roe of South Vienna. “It just sounded like a lot of branches and things hitting the house.”

The wind caused major damage, she said.

“The road was completely blocked,” Roe said. “I thought it was one big tree and then I realized it was parts of several trees around and the road was completely blocked. It was pretty shocking.”

South Vienna resident Carl Keller said he heard the chaos from his house.

“We heard a big thud,” he said. “My big window, the side of my house started vibrating. I thought it was coming in on me. You could hear the whistling coming through the windows and you could just hear the whistle coming by the house.”

The damage is bad, he said, including to his favorite tennis court. A big tree fell on the village tennis court and neighbors were working to clean it up Monday morning.

Flooding hit across western Clark County, closing several roads. High water also damaged the Clifton Mill Christmas lights display, leaving the owners scrambling to fix it before the scheduled opening, the day after Thanksgiving.

“We only have two weeks,” said Anthony Satariano, owner of Clifton Mill. “We will do whatever it takes … the damage is pretty significant.”

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About 1,000 sets of lights have been damaged due to the water, General Manager Jessica Noes said. The cost of the repairs is about $2,000, she said.

Water was still high in Clifton late Monday. Satariano said he was concerned that additional damage could occur.

A measurement taken in Yellow Springs found that about 3.5 inches of rain fell overnight with wind speeds topping about 45 miles per hour.

Joyce Wailes is a Cedarville resident who stopped at Clifton Mill to see the damage Monday morning.

“I’ve never seen it like this before,” she said.

The water rapidly rose throughout Monday, Noes said.

“The water wasn’t even to the train bridges yet (at 7 a.m.) and now it’s actually over the train bridge,” she said. “It’s just surreal what Mother Nature can actually do and how fast.”

Satariano added that the damaged to the light display hasn’t been this significant since a similar storm in 2008.

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“All of them along the river are gone or broken,” Satariano said.

The lights are iconic to the community, Noes said, and thousands make their way to see the lights yearly. Several former employees and other community members have volunteered to help with repairs so it can open on time. They have stepped up in a big way, Noes said.

The National Weather Service confirmed Monday that at least three EF-2 tornadoes also touched down in Mercer County. It appears one tornado was at least over 200 yards wide as it moved through Celina. Other reports of severe storms Sunday scattered across the Miami Valley along with numerous reports of high water and several house fires caused by lightning.