The tornados which struck the Dayton area last week hit much closer to home for the Lee and Cathy Lord family of Jackson.

The Lords’ daughter, Coryn, who is a student at Wright State University in Dayton, was working at a Graeter's ice cream store on North Fairfield Road in suburban Beavercreek when the tornado hit late on the night of Memorial Day, May 27. The EF-3 tornado which wreaked havoc with winds of 140 miles per hour, caused major property damage in that commercial area, but Coryn and other employees remained safe while sheltered in a bathroom.

“She walked away without a scratch and only a couple of dents in her car,” Cathy posted on her Facebook page. “How people don’t believe in a higher power is beyond me…Thank you, Lord for protecting her.” Coryn’s car, which was parked in a nearby parking lot, incurred some minor damages in the form of a couple of dents.

Coryn and others with her could hear glass shattering; everyone in the bathroom was scared, but she was trying not to panic. After about half an hour, they peeked out and the coast seemed clear, so they all ran to their parked vehicles and drove home or to other safe places. Coryn was able to drive to the home of her boyfriend just a couple of blocks away. When they drove around later looking for a missing friend and to see if others needed help, Coryn was able to take in the scope of the damage.

“I think that rattled Coryn more than anything because she’d been so focused on getting away earlier she hadn’t really realized how close and how extensive the damage,” Cathy related. “She has friends who lost everything, others still without power and some have been displaced from their homes with no real idea when they will get back.”

There was major damage to several other nearby businesses, debris was seemingly everywhere and electric service was knocked out all over that area. Major cleanup and rebuilding work is already under way. Amazingly, no one was killed in Beavercreek and the only tornado-related documented death in Ohio occurred in nearby Celina. However, officials have determined 800 to 1,000 homes or commercial buildings were damaged in Beavercreek and surrounding Beavercreek Township. It may be yesterday’s news to us, but it remains devastating to those who were directly impacted and it will no doubt remain frozen in Coryn’s memory forever.

Of course, about five hours later, a tornado struck a remote area off Pumpkin Ridge Road in Vinton County in the early-morning hours on Tuesday. Thankfully, the only casualties were some trees.

LOCAL TORNADO HISTORY

If all this makes you wonder about tornado trivia and statistics, I have dug up some for you from the Vermont-based Tornado Project. For example, in the period from 1950-2012, there have been only four documented tornadoes in Jackson County with one each occurring in 1980, 1992, 1993 and 1994. The one in 1980 was an EF-1 while the other three were all an EF-0. There were no deaths or injuries in any of the four.

There were no documented tornadoes in Vinton County during that 62-year period ending in 2012, but there was definitely one which struck on July 22, 2017. According to the National Weather Service, the tornado touched down five miles north-northwest of McArthur around 6:48 p.m. The EF1 tornado had an estimated wind speed of 105 miles per hour with a maximum path width of 230 yards stretching 0.8 miles. There were no injuries or deaths reported. The tornado traveled nearly parallel to Locust Grove Road before dissipating three minutes later. Hundreds of trees were blown down or snapped and most of the roof of a metal barn was torn off and deposited in a field 50 feet away. A large tree also fell on a van.

As for the worst tornado to hit Ohio, if you guessed the April 3, 1974 tornado which hit the Greene County city of Xenia, you would be correct. This left 34 persons dead, 1,150 injured with 2,000 homes hit. As for the most serious tornado to hit close to home, one hit Wheelersburg in Scioto County on April 23, 1968. The funnel crossed the Ohio River and hit a train. A total of seven people were killed and 107 were injured.

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That’s About It… Be Seeing You.