Cleanup begins at Mike’e Car Wash in Beavercreek. BILL LACKEY / STAFF
Photo: Bill Lackey
Photo: Bill Lackey

Tornadoes miss Clark, Champagin counties, cause massive damage elsewhere in Ohio

Clark and Champaign counties were spared when severe storms, including three confirmed tornadoes moved through southwest Ohio Monday night causing major devastation to neighboring communities.

“Thankfully it missed us,” Champaign County Engineer Stephen McCall said. “We were lucky.”

Clark County Spokesman, Michael Cooper, said Tuesday morning that the county had received no reports from residents about damage from the storms.

Widespread damage was reported in the Greene, Montgomery and Mercer counties, killing one person, injuring more than 100, leaving schools, homes and businesses damaged or destroyed and leaving tens of thousands without power.

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EF-3 tornadoes were confirmed in Beavercreek, Celina and Montgomery County. Crews were working Tuesday to confirm other damage across Western Ohio.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine declared a state of emergency for Montgomery, Greene and Mercer counties — opening a pipeline of state aid — and updated President Donald Trump on the damage.

Gov. DeWine flew by helicopter over Beavercreek and Trotwoood and toured other areas by car. He said the damage he’s seen so far is worse than he thought since there’s been so few deaths.

“My administration fully supports the people of the great state of Ohio as they begin the cleanup and recovery,” Trump said on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.

Parts of Montgomery County remained on a boil advisory Tuesday evening after power outages caused a loss of water pressure. County officials requested up to a million gallons of bottled water from the state and water tankers. Residents there are being asked to conserve water.

More than 50,000 DP&L customers remained without power Tuesday evening. Eighty traffic lights were out in Dayton, as well as more in other communities.

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“We want life to return to normal as quickly as possible,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.

Dayton Children’s Hospital’s main campus operated briefly on generator power after Monday’s storms, causing elective surgeries to be rescheduled for Wednesday.

Generators provided power for critical services such as the emergency room, inpatient areas, emergency surgery, pharmacy, lab, imagine, CT services, trauma and transport. The hospital was able to restored power by 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

Around 150 homes were damaged in the Prairies of Wright Field, a community that primarily houses military personnel who work at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The Prairies housing area is also under a boil advisory.

Homes were left destroyed by fallen tree limbs and roofing torn from buildings, base emergency crews continued damage assessments throughout Tuesday, according to the base.

Any personnel impacted by the storm who are unable to report for duty are asked to contact their supervisor, first sergeant or commander, according to the base. Personnel who live in base housing and sustained personal property damage as a result of the storm may be able to file claim with the Air Force after filing a claim with renter or vehicle insurance.

Emergency shelters have also been opened around the region.

Each of the three tornadoes that struck the Miami Valley on Memorial Day whirled with winds of more than 136 mph and harnessed the power to obliterate a well-built home.

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The Enhanced Fujita Scale is the measurement scale used by meteorologists and scientists to determine the strength of a tornado that touches down. An EF-3 tornado has estimated wind speeds of 136 to 165 mph.

Observations of a EF-3 include severe damage, well-constructed homes destroyed, severe damage to large building like shopping malls, heavy cars lifted off the ground and thrown and trains are overturned, according to the National Weather Service.

As of Tuesday afternoon, only one victim had died as result of the Celina tornado, 81-year-old Melvin Dale Hannah, according to the Celina Fire Chief Douglas Wolters. However, 130 patients had been injured and either received or are receiving treatment at Dayton-area hospitals.

Many counties are still not out of the woods yet, severe storms were forecast overnight and through the rest of the week for the region.

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