Severe weather — including two tornadoes — damaged homes, downed trees and caused power outages in Greene and Clark counties on Friday morning, and another round of severe weather could be in store for the Miami Valley by Sunday.
The forecast calls for heavy rains and gusty winds, and the possibility exists for a tornado, two of which were confirmed as touching down near South Vienna as people were starting their day Friday morning.
WHIO Meteorologist Dontae Jones said one to two inches of rain could fall and winds of 40 to 50 mph are expected, starting late Saturday night. Jones said he “can’t rule out another tornado or two” on Sunday.
“This system will start Saturday night as rain and will bring the storms in by Sunday afternoon/evening,” Jones said.
The National Weather Service in Wilmington conducted storm damage assessments after Friday’s storm, targeting damage reports in and around Yellow Springs in Greene County and South Vienna in Clark County. Storm damages were also being assessed by the NWS in Union County, Ohio, and in parts of Kentucky and Indiana.
Tree removal and home improvement crews were busy all day Friday responding to calls from property owners who were left with damaged barns and homes when the storm passed through that morning. Top wind speeds were measured at 66 mph during peak storm activity.
The winds were so strong, husband and wife Jim and Vickie Brock didn’t hear the tree come through the roof of their home and into a bedroom Fletcher Pike near South Charleston.
Vickie Brock said the sky was dark on the horizon when she went to the mailbox around 8:30 a.m. She said by the time she returned to the house, the storm was already upon them.
“It gets windy out here, but not like this,” Vickie Brock said as a Smith and Sons crew removed pieces of the tree that fell on their house. “I say it was probably a tornado the way it came in.”
Larry Sykes, who lives near South Vienna, said he heard a “roaring” sound and went to investigate.
“I kept hearing something roaring. I went back outside, and I looked toward Speedway, and all the dust was flying and the branches were flying. It’s like, ‘What is going on?’”
Sykes said he didn’t realize the extent of damages left by the storm until he went to the post office and saw crews working to remove a large tree that came down on the historic home at U.S. 40 and Ohio 54.
The home was built in the late 1800s, according to the person who rents the home.
“There’s a lot of weight there. A lot of work,” Sykes said looking at the tree leaning on the house. “I’ve been here 30 years, and that tree’s gotten bigger and bigger. Every year you see storms and you think ‘Oh, I hope it’s not going to come,’ but today was the day.”
Harmony Twp. Fire Chief Denny Paul said a man and a woman were inside the home when the tree came crashing down. They were able to get out of the house and were not hurt, he said.
Pam Chenoweth, of Plattsburg Road, said she was home alone with her dogs when the sky suddenly darkened and the winds picked up.
“It was pretty scary this morning,” she said. “You could see all the wall clouds. The winds were just really, really strong … You could see out toward South Vienna that something was moving in.”
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