Sky7: Aerial view of storm damage in Clark County

Four of Ohio’s eight tornadoes this year have hit in one local county

Half of the confirmed tornadoes this year in Ohio — including two Friday and another Sunday — have touched down in Clark County.

Albeit small and non-lethal, the three recent twisters and another in February were no less frightening to those in their path.

“It was terrifying,” said Stacey Pond, a resident of Rose Garden Mobile Home Park in Clark County near Springfield. “I grabbed my dog and we dove underneath my bed.”

AERIAL VIEW: Storm damage in Clark County extends over two miles

Just before taking shelter Sunday, Pond said the sky went dark and then she watched debris swirl between nearby trees and pass between her trailer and a neighbor’s.

The region’s whipsaw weather turned up the two confirmed tornadoes on Friday before the most recent bout Sunday, which gave way to temperatures Monday in the 30s and wind chills in the 20s.

While no one has been hurt in the recent Clark County tornadoes, the same conditions stirred up a twister Sunday in Richland County that injured six people and damaged a half-dozen homes and businesses in Shelby.

No explanation accounts for why Clark County has attracted a large share of twisters, said McCall Vrydaghs, WHIO Storm Center 7 chief meteorologist.

“Scientifically, there’s no reason why they’ve gotten so many tornadoes,” she said. “It just seems to have happened that way.”

Vrydaghs said some mistakenly attribute the occurrences to geography, “but there’s really no rhyme or reason.”

Clark County’s four confirmed tornadoes this year is half of the statewide total of eight. Two small tornadoes included in the statewide total churned up the same day in Stark County, similar to the pair reported Friday in Clark County.

MORE: Remembering Xenia tornado devastation, 45 years later

Significant damage was reported Sunday at the Rose Garden Mobile Home Park on Upper Valley Pike in German Twp. One mobile home was destroyed and others damaged. The wind toppled two semi-trailers nearby at Pratt Industries on Baker Road.

The National Weather Service confirmed on Monday that the tornado touched down about 3:12 p.m. and travelled 2.7 miles. The report noted the roof of an unoccupied mobile home at Rose Garden “was found lofted over a stand of trees into a field about 150 feet to the north” and insulation was “scattered in the trees high off the ground.”

MORE: Do you have an emergency plan for a tornado?

One of Friday’s twisters was spotted near South Charleston and destroyed a barn, scattering debris over 1,200 feet, according to the National Weather Service. The other near South Vienna, confirmed by video and eyewitness accounts, kept to open fields and caused no direct damage, though the storm system caused other damage to structures in the area.

The first tornado of 2019 in the region spun up Feb. 7 near Pitchin in Clark County. Officials determined it to be an EF-0 maxing out at 85 mph. On the ground for about six minutes, it travelled roughly 7.5 miles before dissipating northwest of South Charleston.

Last April, National Weather Service investigators confirmed an EF-1 tornado touched down three miles west and northwest of Selma and southwest of South Charleston, in Clark County. In 2017, a tornado caused extensive damage in Park Layne, a community in the southwest corner of Clark County. A Sunoco gas station, a Family Dollar and the Mel-0-Dee restaurant all had to shut down for a time during extensive repairs.

MORE: Officials discuss Bethel Twp. tornado damage

The weather will improve this week.

Vrydaghs said the region may see showers and thunderstorms Thursday into Thursday night but expects little threat of tornadoes.

“At this point it looks like the severe weather threat will stay off to our west in Illinois and Missouri,” she said. “Thankfully, at this point, it doesn’t look like we have a severe threat for this week.”

A tornado Sunday destroyed an unoccupied mobile home at the Rose Garden Mobile Home Park in Clark County near Springfield. Half of the confirmed tornadoes this year in Ohio — including two Friday and another Sunday — have touched down in Clark County. MARSHALL GORBY / STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer

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