Recovery Begins For Miami Valley Residents After Tornado Outbreak

Originally published on June 1, 2019 11:12 am

Dayton officials say results are expected soon from Ohio Environmental Protection Agency drinking water quality tests in the wake of Monday's tornadoes.

A boil advisory remains in effect for many parts of Montgomery County until further notice.

At a press conference Tuesday, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley says residents in affected areas can pick up free bottled water, ice and other assistance from multiple locations in the city. 

“Making sure that people have adequate water and shelter is key," she says. "There are water distribution sites located throughout the region, including several in the most impacted areas in Dayton.” 

Fire Chief Jeffrey Payne says search and rescue efforts across Dayton are completed. Considering the magnitude of the storms that hit the city, and the subsequent damage to dozens of homes and business across the city, Payne says he’s thankful more people weren’t hurt or killed Monday.

“But let’s have a good takeaway there were no fatalities, and we had four minor injuries resulting from a collapse, three minor injuries resulting from flying debris and then four illnesses as a result of the tornadoes,” the chief says.

Anyone looking to help or volunteer is asked to consider donating bottled water, money and food.

The city has launched a special website to help distribute information related to the city’s tornado-recovery efforts.

For more information visit: https://www.daytonohio.gov/tornadoresponse

 

Tuesday, 4:55

Gov. Mike DeWine has declared a state of emergency for three counties: Montgomery, Greene and Mercer.

Tuesday, 4:30

One person is confirmed dead and at least 60 people were injured following an outbreak of severe storms that swept through parts of Indiana and Western Ohio last night. Some of the areas hardest-hit by the storms are near Dayton.

National Weather Service investigators say it could be that two tornadoes struck the Dayton area within minutes of each other.

The massive storms struck Monday night beginning just before 9 p.m. They continued for hours, sparking more than three dozen tornado warnings and a flash flood warning in what National Weather Service forecasters are calling a "high-impact event."

The storms hurled so much debris into the air it could be seen on radar.

Overnight, State highway crews deployed snowplows to clear down trees and rubble off of an interstate.

At daybreak Tuesday, emergency crews began the work of clearing streets of debris, stabilizing Dayton’s water treatment facility and trying to restore power to tens of thousands of customers across the Dayton area.

The one reported fatality from the storm occurred when winds blew a parked car into a house.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Myron Padgett says so far he’s confirmed one EF3 tornado with winds up to 140 miles an hour.

“It’s not very common that we have this type of magnitude and amount of tornadic activity in one particular area so it certainly is a fairly rare occurrence,” Padgett says, “and it would not be a usual event.”

In a busy residential and shopping area in Trotwood northwest of Dayton the sound of generators and hammers are filling the air at a group home facility for people with intellectual disabilities.

Two dozen workers are clambering along the roof replacing missing tiles. Wet insulation and plywood poke through a ripped out wall.

Contractor Glenn Mogle is co-owner of company Anyweather Roofing and Restoration.

After hiding with his own family in his basement during the tornado outbreak, he says he drove straight to Trotwood in the dark to see who needed help. He and his employees began work on the group home overnight.

"Right now we probably have something approaching 20 guys out here right now. We have probably another 15 that are on the road going to go to calls and doing that and then we're going to have to pull in more people to handle the shopping centers [in Beavercreek]. That's what keeps you going: knowing that we're helping folks out," he says.

Timothy Neville runs this facility and says he’s grateful the staff were able to evacuate residents from the building in time Monday night.

“The staff this morning when they came back over, they were just rejoicing when they saw the damage, that they were able to get out of there safely,” Neville says.

DP&L says it could take several more days before electricity is fully restored to customers across the region. And many Dayton area residents are being told to continue boiling their drinking water until further notice.

Tuesday, 1:23pm: The National Weather Service in Wilmington has confirmed an EF3 tornado with winds of up to 140 mph in Trotwood as part of its continuing survey of Monday night's storms.

Power has been restored at the main campus of Dayton Children's Hospital.  The City of Dayton water treatment plant is back up and running; power has yet to be restored to the city's water pumps.  A boil advisory remains in effect for all City of Dayton Water customers in Montgomery County. This will not impact communities with separate water systems, such as Oakwood, Huber Heights, Vandalia, Englewood, Miamisburg, Union, and West Carrollton. All residents are encouraged to continue to conserve water.

Tuesday, 11:45am: Wright State University's Dayton Campus is closed Tuesday due to a campus power outage. According to University officials, all classes and activities are canceled and all university offices and libraries are closed.

The main campus of Dayton Children’s Hospital is operating on generator power. The hospital is canceling elective surgeries. The emergency room, inpatient areas, surgery, pharmacy, lab, imaging, CT services, trauma and transport are operating as normal.

Earlier:

The first tornado warning went out one minute before 9 p.m. in Wayne County, West of Richmond. The last warning was issued a few minutes before 2 a.m. in Hocking County. In all, officials issued 36 tornado warnings, one flash flood warning, and recorded multiple instances of golf ball-sized hail in the Dayton area Monday night, in what National Weather Service forecasters are calling a "high-impact event."

The National Weather Service has so far confirmed with radar that at least eight tornadoes touched down across Southwest, West Central and Central Ohio Monday night. Among the areas hardest hit by the storm are Celina and Dayton, which sustained widespread areas of devastation.  

Investigators will assess the storm damage beginning early Tuesday. It could take more than a day to confirm the number of twisters, evaluate the debris and get a sense of the tornadoes' strength and wind speed.  

Meterologist Chris Hogue told WYSO it's been as long as a decade since the Miami Valley experienced this many tornadoes in a single outbreak. 

At least two tornadoes touched down in the suburbs of Dayton. The storms leveled buildings in some areas and left people trapped under debris. Injuries have been reported. Dayton Power and Light reports more than 60,000 customers remain without power.

A dispatcher told WYSO Montgomery County's Regional Dispatch Center, which serves 17 cities across the county, has so far taken at least 226 calls for police assistance, and at least 169 calls for assistance from the Fire Department.

Dayton Police are assisting families displaced by the storm, and the Red Cross has set  up shelters at the following locations:

The shelter at Trotwood High School is being closed due to lack of power. The 60 residents who were located at that shelter are being moved to a new shelter being set up at the Corinthian Baptist Church at 700 S. James H. McGee Blvd.

The shelter at Trotwood High School will be closed once all the residents are moved to the new location. Any new residents seeking shelter in that area should go to Corinthian Baptist Church.  

The Red Cross Shelters currently open are:

The Ridge Church, 7555 Brookville Phillipsburg Road in Brookville, OH—25 people

Morton Middle School 8555 Peters Pike, Vandalia, OH—30 people

First Baptist Church of Kettering 3939 Swigart Rd. Dayton, OH – 20 people

Corinthian Baptist Church at 700 S. James H. McGee BLVD—60 people
 
Hoffman Methodist, 2010 S. Main Street (Miami County) –3 people
 

According to Ohio Emergency Management, shelters have also opened at Hawker Church, 1617 N. Longview St. in Beavercreek and Coldwater Eagles Lodge, 101 W. Walnut St. in Mercery County.

The city of Celina in Mercer County was hard hit. Police are asking people to avoid driving into the city due to live wires and severe damage.

Local school districts, including Brookville, have canceled classes after sustaining damage to school buildings.

Eyewitness reports indicate snow plows are being used to clear debris from major highways.

Dayton resident Bryan Peak lives in the more-than-600 unit River's Edge apartment complex on Riverside Drive.

Peak says he was in bed when he heard the first tornado warning.

He says he and his roommate ran to take shelter in an interior room as a funnel cloud touched down, heavily damaging many units around the complex.

When the twister had passed, Peak and his roommate ran outside to find a neighbor’s apartment was destroyed.

“The roof and some of the walls were completely collapsed and they were trapped inside. So we managed to get them out from a second story window from the parking lot and it was just kind of chaos for a minute because everybody was kind of screaming around the complex, running around, seeing if everybody was okay and going from apartment to apartment, so it was pretty intense,” he says. 

The Cincinnati native says he grew up hearing about tornadoes. But says he never expected to experience one within city limits. He's lived in Dayton for more than 15 years.

“I never thought living in a metro area -- in Dayton -- that a tornado would ever hit where we were, so I'm very surprised," he says. "It was definitely the scariest 20 seconds of my life. That's for sure.”

Three of his car windows were broken out. But Peak says he’s thankful to live on the first floor of the building, which was left largely unscathed. But he says he plans to stay with a friend until maintenance personnel can assess the apartment complex for safety. 

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