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2 tornadoes confirmed: ‘We could see the funnel coming right at us’

Greene County farmer Randy Rife said his farm at 2423 Clifton Road lost a porch, grain bins, barns, three ewes, two lambs, and “we don’t know what else” in Tuesday’s tornado. CHUCK HAMLIN / STAFF
Greene County farmer Randy Rife said his farm at 2423 Clifton Road lost a porch, grain bins, barns, three ewes, two lambs, and “we don’t know what else” in Tuesday’s tornado. CHUCK HAMLIN / STAFF

After a snowy Easter Sunday and cold Monday, the National Weather Service confirmed at least two tornadoes struck southwest Ohio on Tuesday, setting up a windy and flood-filled Wednesday that, according to the Storm Center 7 forecast, could yield to more snow in coming days.

Welcome to April in Ohio.

“It’s pretty bad,” said Randy Rife, a Greene County farmer. “We could see the funnel coming right at us … we went to the basement, and that’s when it hit.”

And hit it did.

Rife’s farm at 2423 Clifton Road lost a porch, grain bins, barns, three ewes, two lambs, “and we don’t know what else.”

“Where do you start?” Rife asked. “I first came to this farm, rented it in 1969, bought it in ‘72. Your life work’s here. What do you do? I’m 70 years old, and it’d be very tempting to say, the hell with it.”

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The tornado, with estimated 90 mph winds, hit Tuesday northeast of Beavercreek, according to the weather service in Wilmington. Significant damage to trees, barns and other buildings spanned from Ludlow Road to Clifton Road in the area of U.S. 68 and Ohio 235, according to firefighters.

The service confirmed another tornado hit South Charleston in Clark County. There, another family’s barn was destroyed, knocking down a structure the owner said replaced a prior barn destroyed exactly 44 years earlier by the infamous outbreak of tornadoes in and around Xenia.

Ryan Barclay said the barn at his property on Courtsville Road collapsed, leaving debris all over the yard.

“We were watching the news and the sky, and the sky looked really bad,” Barclay said. “I took the dogs downstairs. It was raining and blowing … all of a sudden there was a big loud banging noise.”

Clark County Sheriff Deb Burchett said her office received reports of a funnel cloud near South Charleston shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday, and deputies responded to the area. Chris Clark, chief of the Madison Twp. Fire and EMS, said he saw the cloud firsthand.

“It was southwest of the village,” Clark said. “It was moving east. There was obvious and significant rotation in it, however I couldn’t see the base because of the vantage point. I can’t say it was on the ground but it was a rather large funnel cloud.”

“It was a little rattling to see it, to be honest with you,” Clark said.

A tornado with estimated winds between 100 and 110 mph was also confirmed in Grove City in Franklin County, the weather service said. Yet another, an small tornado southwest of London, in Madison County, damaged several barns.

Tuesday's rains broke a daily rainfall record in Dayton. The weather service said 2.88 inches of rain fell, besting the previous record of 1.75 inches set in 1957.

The rain caused some flooding across the area and at least two water rescues.

On Wednesday morning, a car became trapped in high water on Rip Rap Road near Chambersburg Road in Huber Heights, prompting a water rescue.

In Clark County, a woman who drove around a road closed sign and a family member who came to her aid both had to be rescued when they were trapped in high water early Wednesday morning.

The rescue happened on Lower Valley Pike, east of Old Mill Road, around 3 a.m. Medics checked both individuals on scene for hypothermia, though both were expected to be fine, the responders said.

Strong wind gusts and scattered flurries greeted much of the region Wednesday morning. The remaining week could still bring poor weather and temperatures about 15 degrees below normal, according to the Storm Center 7 forecast.

Thursday is forecast to bring a chilly morning with temperatures in the upper 20s. Some sunshine and scattered clouds are expected through the day, with high temperatures in the upper 40s. Clouds are expected to increase into the evening, when a few passing rain or snow showers will be possible across the far north.

Friday’s weather is expected to be mostly cloudy and cooler with high temperatures in the middle 40s. Dry conditions are expected during the day with light breezes.

There’s a “chance for scattered light snow Friday night through early Saturday,” said Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirsti Zontini. The likelihood of accumulating snow increases “the further south you go” in the region, she said.

Saturday’s forecast includes the potential for passing showers in the morning, with dry conditions for the remainder of the day. Breezy winds and high temperatures around 40 are expected.

Sunday is expected to be dry, though cooler than normal with afternoon highs forecast in the low 40s.

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News Center 7 reporter John Bedell and the Breaking News Team contributed reporting.