Tornado touches down in Miami County


By Sheryl Roadcap

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COVINGTON — A tornado brought high winds and rain Thursday evening causing extensive damage to the north west area of Miami County, mostly Newberry Township and the village of Covington.

The National Weather Service (NWS), according to Miami County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), confirmed late Friday afternoon a tornado had touched down in Miami County Thursday evening, March 14. There was extensive damage to numerous properties, including homes, buildings, trees, utility poles and at least one barn being destroyed.

Joel A. Smith, Miami County EMA director, was out on the scene throughout the county all day Friday and said NWS crew members were with him in the county and made the assessment, but are still determining the speed. Late Friday afternoon the EMA released the following information:

“The tornado appears to have entered Miami County from Darke County, north of the village of Bradford. It proceeded through Miami County eastward through Newberry Township and north of the village of Covington. The tornado appears to have lifted before impacting the city of Piqua.

The most significantly area impacted area in Miami County is in the vicinity of Klinger Road and Rangeline Road. Using the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) damage assessment criteria, Miami County EMA assessed total damage to 24 properties: three ‘destroyed’ residential properties, one four-unit apartment complex with ‘major’ damage, six residential properties with ‘minor’ damage, and 15 ‘affected’ properties.

“Fortunately, there have been no reports of injuries. Residents in the destroyed houses took appropriate precautions as the storm arrived to move to basements or interior rooms. Impacted residents have been advised to contact The American Red Cross for assistance related to the tornado at 1-800-RED CROSS.

“AES crews completed the repair a high-power transmission line along Rangeline Road and continue to work to restore service to a remaining 235 customers.

“Miami County EMA escorted an assessment team from the National Weather Service through the most heavily damaged areas to assist them in evaluating the strength and path of the tornado. They will be making an official assessment in the next few days. We will monitor NWS Wilmington website for release of that report.”

Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak said late Thursday night that they had not received reports of any injuries from the storm, but he was aware at that time of bad damage to three homes, and lots of trees and utility poles down due to the winds.

“We know (Thursday night) there were at least 1,400 without power (in Miami County),” Duchak said.

According to AES Ohio, Miami County still had over 200 customers without power by Friday afternoon, with the majority of those customers being located in the Covington and Bradford area.

“Can’t compliment the county and township crews enough. They worked as they should together. And we had deputies in the track of the storm checking on people,” Duchak said. “We are blessed that there were no reports of injuries (as of Thursday night.)”

Covington Exempted Village Schools were closed on Friday to allow families to deal with the aftermath in the area.

“We aim to get kids back to school on Monday,” Hoelzle said. “We will check on kids and have counselors available to help get their minds right.”

Bradford Village Administrator Rick Looker said in the village of Bradford, they had seen relatively little damage, other than trees and lines down, unlike their neighbor Newberry Township.

“Much of the damage was just to the north of town outside of the village corporation on the east side of 721 (in Newberry Township),” Looker said, noting a barn and part of a house were taken down on a property.”

The city of Piqua received minimal calls for service during and following the storms on Thursday night. According to the city, Piqua Power System crews restored power to three isolated outages within a few hours at Drexel Avenue, West Ziegler Road and Garbry Road.

“The Power team will be supporting the Celina and Lakeview restoration efforts in the upcoming days,” said a statement from the city. “The Public Works Department cleared one downed tree crossing Chevy Lane on Thursday evening. Piqua Fire Department and Piqua Police Department did not receive any storm-related calls. Piqua utility systems were unaffected by the storms.”

“We are fortunate as a community to have experienced minimal damage and injuries in the severe weather on Thursday. We know some of our neighboring communities cannot say the same. Our focus now is on supporting our neighbors to restore power, clean up debris and find a path forward following the destruction,” said Piqua City Manager Paul Oberdorfer.

“The city of Troy was largely unaffected by the storm in terms of damage,” said Troy City Director Patrick E. J. Titterington by email Friday morning. “We’re not aware of any power outages or storm debris. I’m sure the high winds may have knocked some debris loose but, again, nothing of any great impact or concern.”

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