17 year old weather geek from Ohio.
By: Ameister12 , 2:05 PM GMT on March 25, 2013
Well, Spring is upon us (though it doesn't feel like it for many) and I have been learning about some of the most historic tornadoes to hit my home state, Ohio. Though tornadoes aren't nearly as common here as tornadoes in the Plains, or the southern states, we have gotten our share of violent and historic tornadoes, so here is some information about some of the most violent, and historic tornadoes in Ohio history.
1920 Palm Sunday Tornadoes
On March 28, 1920, several violent tornadoes struck Ohio including 3 F4's, an F3, and two unrated. An F4 tornado hit Swanton, Brunersburg, and Raab Corners, Ohio. This tornado also hit several communities in Indiana. The tornado dissipated before moving into Michigan. The tornado killed 23 people. The tornado leveled several buildings and farms along it's path
Another Violent tornado decimated Van Wert, Ohio. The tornado started in Indiana destroying the town of West Liberty where 7 people died. The tornado was at it's strongest as it moved into Ohio, possibly obtaining F5 intensity because many homes were obliterated. The Tornado moved into Adams, and Van Wert counties destroying nearly everything in its path. The tornado dissipated after exiting Van Wert. The tornado was rated an F4 and killed a total of 17 people.
June 28, 1924 Lorain Tornado
The deadliest tornado in Ohio history occurred on June 28, 1924. The tornado devastated portions of Lorain and Sandusky in extreme northern Ohio. The tornado first struck Sandusky during the late afternoon. 125 structures were destroyed and 8 were killed in Sandusky. The tornado briefly moved over Lake Erie before smashing into Lorain. The tornado ripped right into downtown damaging 1,000 building and completely destroying 200 including several businesses and theaters. 72 people were killed in Lorain. The tornado was on the ground for over 25 miles. Though not officially rated, the tornado has been estimated to be an F4.
June 8, 1953 Northern Ohio Tornadoes
An extremely deadly tornado outbreak occurred on June 8, 1953. One of the tornadoes devastated Flint, Michigan killing 116 people. The only tornado to affect Ohio that day was a violent F4 tornado that struck several communities in Northern Ohio. Although officially rated as one single tornado, the tornado was likely 3 separate violent tornadoes.
The first tornado was perhaps the most violent of the three. It touched down near Deshler, and struck Cygnet, where homes were swept away from their foundation possibly indicating F5 damage. 8 people were killed by this tornado.
The second touched down east of Kimball, passing south of Ceylon and ended near Vermillion, destroying multiple homes along the path and killing one person.
The third tornado touched down south of Elyria, and tore across west Cleveland. It killed 7 and destroyed at least 100 homes before moving offshore into Lake Erie.
In total the tornadoes killed 18 people and destroyed several hundred structures.
1965 Palm Sunday Tornadoes
A devastating outbreak of 37 tornadoes killed 256 people, mostly in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana on Palm Sunday 1965. 55 people died in Ohio that day making it the second most deadly tornado event in Ohio. Tornadoes that hit Ohio day included 4 F4's, an F3, an F2, and 4 F1's.
The first tornado in Ohio that day was a violent F4 tornado that struck the northern suburbs of Toledo. Numerous homes in the northern suburbs of Toledo were completely destroyed, several of which were completely swept away. Several people died after the tornado picked up a bus and slammed it into a building. The tornado moved into Michigan and continued to cause extreme damage, before dissipating. The tornado didn't last long and was only on the ground for 5 miles. The tornado killed 18 and caused $25 million in damage.
The most violent tornado to hit Ohio that day caused major damage to Pittsfield and Strongsville. Pittsfield was nearly entirely destroyed and 6 homes were completely swept away. Tornado struck Grafton at F2 strength before re-intensifying and striking the north side of Strongsville. In Strongsville 18 homes were leveled, some of which were cleanly swept from their foundations. 50 others were badly damaged in town. The tornado was probably worthy of a F5 rating. The tornado was possibly a double tornado, just like the one the Midway Trailer Park in Indiana. The tornado killed 18 people and caused $5 million in damage.
1968 Wheelersburg Tornado
On April 23, 1968 an extremely violent tornado struck the rural town of Wheelersburg in southern Ohio. The tornado destroyed much of the town damaging, or destroying over 500 homes and businesses, some of which were completely swept away from their foundation. 7 people were killed and over 100 were injured in Wheelersburg. The tornado was on the ground for 34 miles destroying several small rural towns in its path. The tornado caused significant damage to the town of Gallipolis before dissipating near the Ohio/West Virginia state line.
The tornado was rated an F5, making it the 1st F5 in Ohio history, but it has been disputed because some of the structures weren't very well constructed.
Several over violent tornadoes caused destruction along the Kentucky/Ohio state line that day (2 F4's, 2 F3's, and 3 F2's)
1974 Super Outbreak-Xenia Tornado
Perhaps the most violent tornado in Ohio history was an F5 tornado that struck the city of Xenia, Ohio during the Super Outbreak, one of the largest and deadliest tornado outbreaks is U.S. history. Around 4:30PM a tornado touched down nine miles southwest of Xenia, 10 minutes later, the tornado rapidly intensified as it struck Xenia. Much of the city was damaged with nearly half completely decimated. Nearly 30,000 structures were damaged, or destroyed in Xenia where 32 people where killed. The tornado continued through Greene County causing more significant damage to the town of Wilberforce where 4 people died. The tornado continued in to Clark County where it began to weaken and eventually dissipated. The tornado traveled 32 miles, killing 38 people and injuring 1,000's of more people. The only hospital in the area left standing was jammed with nearly 2,000 injured people who had been injured by the tornado.
The Xenia tornado has been considered the most violent tornado of the outbreak and even one of the most violent of all time. Gil Whitney, a weather specialist for WHIO-TV in Dayton is considered a hero for warning people in Xenia before the tornado struck. If it wasn't for his accurate warning, many more may have been killed.
1974 Super Outbreak-Sayler Park/Cincinnati Tornado
The second F5 tornado to hit Ohio during the April 3, 1974 Super Outbreak destroyed the Sayler Park area in west Cincinnati. The tornado dropped shortly before 5:30 PM in southeastern Indiana in Ohio County north of Rising Sun near the Ohio River. It then traveled through Boone County, Kentucky, before reaching its peak intensity as it hit Sayler Park. Many homes and structures in the area where heavily damages, with some that were swept away from their foundation. 3 people were killed and over 100 where injured in Hamilton County, Ohio.
The tornado was very well covered and was actually filmed live by WCPO news in Cincinnati. The tornado is considered the most-photographed tornado of the outbreak. The tornado dissipated as it exited the Cincinnati area. The same storm produced an F4 tornado that caused extreme damage to the cities of Montgomery and Mason, Ohio.
May 31, 1985 Newton Falls/Niles/Hubbard/Wheatland Tornado
On May 31, 1985 a very unusually tornado outbreak spawned several violent tornadoes in Northeast Ohio, Northwest Pennsylvania, and Ontario. The most violent tornado of the outbreak was an F5 that devastated the communities of Newton Falls and Niles, OH and Wheatland, PA. The tornado touch down at 6:30PM and quickly intensified as it hit Newton Falls causing widespread F3/F4 damage. 400 homes were damaged, or destroyed in Newton Falls. The tornado continued to intensify as it neared Niles. F5 damage was first observed in Niles with many homes being blown from their foundation. Much of Niles was completely severely damaged, or destroyed by the tornado and 10 fatalities occurred here. The tornado than crossed the Ohio/Pennsylvania state line and hit Wheatland, PA. Much of the town was obliterated with 95% of the town suffering some kind of damage. 8 people were killed in Wheatland by the tornado.
The tornado was on the ground for 47 miles before dissipating near the city of Mercer. The tornado destroyed nearly 1,000 homes and killed 18, injuring many more. Several over violent tornado occurred during the outbreak, many were F3's and F4's.
April 9, 1999 Montgomery/Blue Ash Tornado
During the early morning hours of April 9, 1999, severe storms erupted over southwest Ohio. A lone supercell formed at around 5:00AM. The storm produced several weak tornadoes before dropping a violent F4 SE of Cincinnati. The tornado destroyed a large chunk of Blue Ash and Montgomery, Ohio. That Tornado weaken a little as it moved into Warren County, producing widespread F2/F3 damage. The tornado continued to slowly weaken and dissipated as it moved into Clinton County. 100 homes and apartments were destroyed by the tornado. Over 500 homes was damaged. 4 people were killed by the tornado and several more were injured.
Fun fact, the tornado nearly hit my house, missing it by 1 mile! Me and my family discovered our backyard was completely littered by debris when we woke up later that morning.
2002 Veterans Day Tornado
A massive and widespread tornado outbreak occurred on November 10, 2002. The most violent tornado of the outbreak stuck the city on Van Wert, OH causing extreme F4 damage. 164 homes and 27 businesses were damaged including 43 homes and 5 businesses that were destroyed. Several homes were either flattened or swept away. Several large industrial warehouses were flattened as well. 2 people died in Van Wert, County. The tornado remained on the ground for several miles, completely destroying the small, rural down of Roselms. Only one structure was left standing in the town. After being on the ground for over 50 miles, the tornado dissipated in Henry County.
June 5, 2010 Millbury Tornado
At around 11:00PM on June 5, 2010l several strong to severe storms began moving into Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. One of the storms dropped a tornado about 5 miles outside the city of Millbury, OH, the tornado quickly intensified producing pockets of EF2 and EF3 damage before hitting the community of Lake Township. Much of the damage caused by the tornado was high end EF3 damage. The high school in the town was severely damage, with park of the school being completely flattened. The tornado peaked in intensity as it hit Millbury, causing low end EF4 damage. Several homes were completely destroyed, or flattened there
60 homes were completely destroyed by the tornado, and 7 people died and 30 were injured by the tornado. The tornado hit just 12 hours before the Lake Township High School graduation.
I got much of this information from:
•NWS Wilmington, OH
•NWS Cleveland, OH
•Ohio Weather History
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.
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