natural disasters | WOSU Radio

natural disasters

When storms ravaged parts of Ohio during Memorial Day weekend, several libraries were forced to close their doors for a short time. Those facilities are back in operation. And many libraries are serving in relief efforts now.

Miami Valley officials are only beginning to calculate the longterm impacts of the devastation from last week’s tornado outbreak. Key is an investigation by FEMA to determine whether Ohio is eligible for emergency aid.

Officials caution it’s a complicated process that will take time. To see it in action, WYSO’s April Laissle followed one FEMA team into a particularly hard-hit area of Trotwood.

At the Westbrook Village Apartment Complex, a group of FEMA investigators walk through muddy grass holding clipboards, taking stock of what’s left.

Last week’s Memorial Day tornadoes affected more than 200 businesses across Montgomery, Greene and Mercer Counties.

It’s unclear exactly how many people are out of work as a result of the disaster. Economic development officials are coordinating with city and county officials in hard-hit areas in an effort to identify displaced workers, and to help businesses whose employees are missing work as a result of storm damage to their homes or apartments. 

Special teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency arrive in Ohio Tuesday to begin assessing the damage from last week’s tornado outbreak.

The storm damaged thousands of homes and businesses across the Miami Valley and FEMA’s visit is a critical step toward securing federal disaster assistance, but officials say it could take weeks before any potential disaster aid comes to Ohio.

When Hurricane Michael struck the Panhandle of Florida last October, Keith and Susan Koppelman were huddled in the bathroom of their small, two-bedroom rental trailer just north of Panama City.

"When the winds came we both started praying," says Keith, 49. "I thought, 'Oh my God, this is a big storm.' "

After four hours, they finally emerged to survey the damage. The storm's 160-mile-per-hour winds had torn off the porch and peeled away the trailer's tin siding.

DeWine Seeks FEMA Aid For Tornado Victims

May 31, 2019
Celina Mayor Jeffrey Hazel, Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio First Lady address the media the morning after an EF3 tornado killed one resident and left 40 with uninhabitable homes.
Jason Reynolds / WYSO

Gov. Mike DeWine is requesting help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for 10 counties that suffered damage from the tornadoes that ripped through Ohio earlier this week.

Deadly tornadoes have been ripping through parts of the Unites States for weeks. Storms have been leaving a trail of destruction from Texas all the way up to Maryland, and on Monday, 52 tornadoes may have touched down across eight states, says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Patrick Marsh, a meteorologist at the NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, says it's unusual to have this kind of sustained tornado activity.

Emergency crews continue to clear downed power lines and reopen streets in Beavercreek. The city was among the hardest hit in Monday’s widespread tornado outbreak.

The National Weather Service has confirmed an EF-3 tornado with winds up 140 miles an hour struck the Beavercreek area Monday night.

Near Kemp Road and Grange Hall Road, the twister nearly wiped out one residential neighborhood and heavily damaged another. Streets that once featured large, well-established leafy trees are now unshaded.   

In Celina, gas service has been restored and power is expected to be up and running in most of the city again soon. But after Monday’s tornadoes that swept across the region, dozens of families remain homeless. And, while the damage in Celina is still being tallied, estimates show the cost of the recovery is likely to escalate into the millions of dollars.

Dozens of people were injured and one man was killed when winds from Monday night’s EF3 tornado tossed a vehicle into his home.

At least 40 families saw their homes destroyed.

In Dayton, tens of thousands of people remain without water and electricity. Dozens more are staying in emergency shelters. Red Cross officials say that number is likely to grow as storm recovery continues after Monday’s tornado outbreak in Indiana and Western Ohio that left one person dead and injured dozens more.

Businesses in and around Dayton are still dealing with a lack of electricity and water, after Monday night's tornadoes. Rahn's Artisan Breads stopped operations Monday night when the lights went out. Owner Rahn Keucher says his ovens run on electricity, and he hasn't been able to find a generator powerful enough to run his freezers and ovens.

Cleanup continues again today after Monday’s massive tornado outbreak across Indiana and Ohio. The storms killed at least one person and injured dozens more across the Miami Valley. Gov. Mike DeWine has declared a state of emergency for three counties: Montgomery, Greene and Mercer.

Celina, in Mercer County, was particularly hard hit. Jakob Wenning lives there. He says he saw the roof of his apartment lift during the tornado.

The lead time Dayton area residents had before a series of tornadoes touched down Monday and Tuesday varied. Dayton's Fire Chief praised the advanced warning from the National Weather Service (NWS) while some residents say they got word just moments before the storm hit.

Asa Holzschuh's family arrived at it house at 3:30 am. They spent the morning cleaning of the remain's of his neighbor's roof outside of Laurelville, Ohio, after a tornado tore through their property.
Olivia Miltner / WOSU

Tornadoes that rolled through Dayton and Celina on Monday night made national headlines and are blamed for at least one death, but people closer to Central Ohio also dealing with damage as well.

Communities are cleaning up after severe storm damage across the Dayton region late Monday into Tuesday morning. Mercer County officials report at least one person is dead in Celina. Images show leveled homes, debris-strewn roadways and destruction.

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