MIAMI COUNTY — Two EF0 tornadoes — one in Troy and one near Fletcher — were confirmed by the National Weather Service (NWS) in Wilmington on Sunday.
Surveyors from the NWS were in Miami County on Sunday afternoon to do a preliminary assessment of the damages caused by Saturday night’s storms that occurred shortly after 10 p.m.
According to NWS report, there were no injuries as the result of either of the weather incidents, and the tornadoes were the weakest category on the EF Scale, which is used to classify tornadoes.
NWS Meteorologist Jeff Sites said while rare, other tornadoes have happened in Ohio in January.
“They have happened before, but they are a rare occurrence,” Sites said.
The NWS, working with the Miami County EMA and Troy Fire Department, has reported an EFO tornado touched down on the southwest portion of the city of Troy on Saturday night. It then crossed the center of the city and the Great Miami River before weakening and lifting in the far northeast portions of the city.
Surveyors report that the path of the Troy tornado was approximately 3.2 miles long and 350 yards wide with wind speeds reaching as high as 80 miles per hour. The tornado also is believed to have touched down for 2 minutes, from 10:11-10:13 p.m. Saturday.
Much of the damage surveyed was confined to trees and roofs, both residential and commercial, according to the report. To the west of the Great Miami River, damage was more intermittent and weak in comparison to areas east of the river where more concentrated and significant tree and roof damage was noted, according to the report. In particular, areas near Troy High School and then east of North Market Street saw the most concentrated and higher end structural damage to roofing material. This includes the far eastern portions of the downtown area, which saw several businesses lose all or portions of their roofs.
In downtown, debris fell from several buildings on West Main Street and in the Public Square. Several vehicles were heavily damaged. On Sunday, the Public Square remained closed for several hours as debris was removed from the roadways.
A second tornado, also confirmed as an EF0, touched down on Saturday night reportedly from 10:15-10:21 p.m., according to the NWS. The report says the tornado touched down initially on the north side of East Peterson Road, about 4 miles southwest of Fletcher. The tornado moved across rural areas of Miami County, crossing North Union-Shelby Road, across the Miami County Park District’s Big Woods Reserve, and then across the far southeast portions of the village of Fletcher. The tornado lifted about 2 miles northeast of Fletcher in an open field after removing a portion of a barn roof on Snyder Road.
The report states the path of the tornado was 6.3 miles long, 175 yards wide and reached wind speeds of 70 miles per hour.
Damage consisted mainly of broken and snapped off trees, and roof damage to barns and outbuildings. Snapped electrical poles were assessed on the east side of Fletcher. Residential structures were impacted either with shingle and soffit removal, or with trees having fallen on them, according to the report.
According to city of Troy Safety and Service Director Patrick Titterington, tornado sirens were activated by the Miami County Communication Center after the tornado already had passed through downtown Troy. Sites said Saturday’s tornadoes were “spit-up tornadoes,” that come along lines of storms like were seen on Saturday night.
“They typically don’t have very long lead times, and can rarely be seen in enough time to warn people,” said Sites, who said bigger tornadoes are easier to pick up on radar. “There was very little to no lead time.”
Damages across the rest of the city and in the Fletcher area are not yet completely known.
Reports of downed trees and powerlines from other areas of Troy kept Miami County 911 dispatchers, along with police and fire units, busy. A CSX train reportedly struck downed power lines in Troy, stopping the train for around 30 minutes until Dayton Power & Light crews could clear the lines from the track. A large portion of the Meadowlawn subdivision was also without power for more than an hour.
With these two tornadoes, Miami County has experienced six tornadoes in approximately eight months following the four touch downs on Memorial Day 2019. Four tornadoes — an EF3 and three EF0s — blew through Miami County on Memorial Day, damaging nearly 150 properties and causing millions of dollars in damage, but also resulting in no harm to residents. The only other occurrence of this many tornadoes in Ohio in recent years was six tornadoes in a year’s span from April 2017 to April 2018 in Clark County, Sites said.
Sites said he encourages residents to spend the months prior to spring making a safety plan.
“Now is the time to make a plan for your home or business,” Sites said. “Figure out how you will protect yourself and where. There will be more (tornadoes), so plan now for the future.”