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Advance Warning Varied For Dayton Area Tornado Victims

dayton tornado
John Minchillo
Residents sort through apartments open up to the air Tuesday, May 28, at the Westbrooke Village Apartments in Trotwood, Ohio, after the roof was torn off from a severe storm the night before.

The lead time Dayton area residents had before a series of tornadoes touched down Monday and Tuesday varied. Dayton's Fire Chief praised the advanced warning from the National Weather Service (NWS) while some residents say they got word just moments before the storm hit.

National Weather Service forecaster Andy Hatzos says his agency began looking at some very strong thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes in Indiana Monday afternoon and evening. He says this type of storm is not something they see very frequently.

With storms of this nature developing quickly, advance warning is important. Hatzos says the NWS had it and let people know. "As much as 10 to 15 minutes before the tornado that affected the Dayton area even touched down in the first place," he says. "As much as 20 to 30 minutes as it moved through Trotwood and the northern parts of Dayton."

But many residents claimed they didn't have much notice, according to our news partner WCPO.

NBC News reports Dayton resident Tenley Taghi said the tornado left her street in ruins, adding that she didn't hear any warning sirens.

However, Dayton Fire Chief Jeffrey Payne credits an early warning for the low loss of life. "Last night about 11:30, tornadoes struck the Dayton area, however, we have yet to find one fatality and we have had three minor injuries," he told reporters early on. "I find that pretty miraculous."

Later, Celina's mayor announced at a news conference one person had died in his town from tornado damage: 81-year-old Melvin Hanna. More than 40 others around the Dayton area were taken to hospitals.

The NWS has survey teams who will determine how many tornadoes touched down and their rating.

By Tuesday afternoon, investigators determined the tornadoes that hit Celina, Beavercreek and Trotwood were EF3s, which typically see wind speeds between 136-165 mph and are capable of tearing off roofs, uprooting trees and overturning trains.