‘Catastrophic’ Tornadoes Strike Ohio Overnight

By Mimi Nguyen-ly

More than one large tornado is said to have hit the Dayton area in Ohio late Monday night, with the National Weather Service (NWS) posting multiple tornado warnings throughout the night on its Twitter page, urging people to take cover.

The NWS said early May 28 that the destructive winds have caused more than 70,000 power outages across Ohio, affecting more than 5 million people.

The weather service confirmed late on May 27 that just after 11 p.m. local time, a “large and dangerous tornado” had hit near Trotwood in Mongomery County, 8 miles northwest of Dayton.

Sheriff Rob Streck asked people to stay off the roads in areas affected by the storm. His office said that many roads are damaged and were unpassable.

Streck told 2 NEWS that reports have come in of roofs flying off houses, houses collapsing and trees down. He also told the station that the Brookville, Harrison Township, and Trotwood areas seem to have been hit the hardest.

He said that it’s the worst storm damage he has seen in his career, according to WKEF-TV in Dayton.

Several apartment complexes had to be evacuated due to a risk of gas explosions, Trotwood Mayor Mary McDonald told WDTN.

McDonald had been actively updating locals of the situation on her Facebook accountwarning them that power lines and trees were down, and to stay inside. McDonald also said that Trotwood High School would be open as a shelter for local residents.

In Celina, Mercer County, a town about 55 miles northwest of Dayton, a tornado was said to have toppled many trees and damaged homes, according to WDTN.

The Mercer County Emergency Management Director Mike Robbins told the news station that emergency crews were conducting search and rescue. He said several homes have been destroyed and there were reports of multiple injuries from the storms.

“We have a house that was cut in half over here,” a rescuer said on early May 28, reported.

In Brookville, Dayton, Brookville Schools Superintendent Tim Hopkins told WHIOTV that the tornado blew off a part of their school complex’s roof, and blew in the front doors. He called it “just a mess,” and has canceled school for May 28.

Some areas in Dayton received hail.

Massive Clean-Up

The Ohio Department of Transportation said it was using snow plows to remove debris off southbound Interstate 75 highway, north of Dayton after a tornado passed through late May 27.

Transportation spokesman Matt Bruning told the Associated Press that other crews were also clearing debris northwest of Dayton in Mercer and Darke counties.

ohio tornado montgomery county
Crews on Interstate 75 north of Dayton, Ohio, working to clean debris from the highway after a suspected tornado hit the area, early May 28, 2019. (Ohio Department of Transportation via AP)

Trying to clear the debris in the middle of the night was a difficult task, complicated by darkness and downed power lines, Bruning said.

“We’ll do a more thorough cleaning after we get lanes opened,” he told the Associated Press early May 28. He said that tow trucks would eventually have to deal with damaged vehicles along the roadway, too.

The scale of destruction of the storm and tornados was evident from images and footage shared by locals on Twitter.

The NWS said it will be conducting surveys of storm damage in the Dayton region from early Tuesday, May 28.

“Due to the magnitude and expanse of damage and reports received,” the service said that the process is likely to take multiple days. Storm surveys are expected to be required in Celina, New Madison in Darke County, Laura in western Miami County, Dayton, and areas in Laurelville, according to WHIOTV7.

Severe weather and tornado dangers will continue across Ohio on May 28, according to Accuweather. This is expected to expand eastward into Pennsylvania, southern New York, Maryland and New Jersey, the weather station reported.

Anyone who witnessed weather-related damage is asked to report it via the NWS’s severe weather reporting methods or by calling 937-383-0031.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.