The National Weather Service in Wilmington (NWS) has confirmed a tornado touched down last evening, May 24 2017, near Park Layne in Clark County.
According to the NWS, the tornado then continued into southeast Miami County before ending along County Road 201 north of Studebaker Road.The tornado first touched down on the western side of Park Layne where damage occurred to some commercial buildings and trees. Damage here was consistent with maximum winds of 100 MPH (EF1 damage). Additional tree and minor roof damage occurred to the northwest along Bellefontaine Road. Sporadic damage to mainly trees was then observed farther to the northwest, ending along County Road 201 north of Studebaker Road. Damage here was consistent with an EF0 tornado.
A second tornado touched down along Lower Valley Pike near Princeton Drive, just southwest of the Interstate 70 and route 235 interchange. The tornado then continued in a north-northwest path along and either side of Princeton Drive. The damage quickly lessened in strength further to the northwest with minimal damage along Jason Drive and no evidence of damage by Amy Dee Lane.
DP&L reported that 2255 customers were without power Wednesday evening due to high winds.
Bethel Township Fire Chief Jacob King confirms that not one person reported injuries from the storms. “It's a miracle in my opinion” said King at a Thursday morning press conference.
Sheriff Burchett said that every available deputy was either assisting the Fire Department or controlling traffic.
Fire personnel and deputies were going door-to-door throughout Park Layne checking for damages and injuries.
Burchett confirms that not one business or residence was vandalized.
The Red Cross opened a temporary shelter at the Medway United Methodist Church for those who were not able to return to their homes and needed shelter for the night.
“I’m proud of our Fire Department for the way they handled this situation,” said Township Trustee Don Minton. “And I’m grateful for the excellent cooperation from the county.”
Some of the damage included:
Park Layne Sunoco – possibly sustained the most damage. The canopy over the gas pumps was toppled and gas pumps were damaged. A representative from the Bureau of Underground Storage Tanks certified that the tanks were safe. He also said that the impact valves functioned perfectly. The valves are designed to prevent fuel flow if the pump is damaged. He said that welders can now come in to take care of structural damage.
“I’m doin’ everything I can,” said Dave Closey, owner of the station. We asked about the future of Park Layne Sunoco, and he said “I’ll have to see what the insurance company says.”
Victory Motorcycles – suffered serious damage to the building. Heavy pipes that were lined up along Rt. 235 for a construction project were thrown through the windows. “We should be reopening on Friday,” said Derek Massie with the Martin Auto Group, owners of the dealership. “We are happy that no one was injured and no customers’ vehicles were damaged.” Massie said that contractors will be in on Tuesday to begin repairs.
Family Dollar – suffered severe roof damage. The three people were in the store at the time and none were injured. One was trapped in the restroom and was rescued by Bethel Township Fire Dept. “Our primary hazard was the broken gas line spewing natural gas,” said Bethel Township Fire Chief Jacob King. Our calls to Family Dollar’s headquarters were not returned.
Mel-O-Dee – One air conditioner was blown off of the roof and another was damaged. It also suffered a cracked beam. “We had originally said we would be closed for a week,” said manager Woody Childers, “but now it looks like 10 days to 2 weeks.” An engineer was on the way to assess the damage. “Thank you for your patience,” said Childers referring to his customers. “We have the best customers in the world.”
Apartments behind Rancher’s – several residents were evacuated because of roof damage.
Fairway Terrace Mobile Home Park – on Lower Valley Pike near the county line. Several homes were damaged, trees uprooted
2659 S. Dayton-Lakeview – next door to KOI Auto Parts – trusses were cracked, roof barely sitting there. A tree behind the building fell onto the building.
Community Market – suffered little building damage. Since they were without power for 9-10 hours, most of the perishables had to be thrown out. “We’re open today (Thursday) for grocery items,” said manager Jim Huggins. “We have trucks coming this evening, so we should be in full operation on Friday.” He said that some of the perishable items have been approved for sale by the Clark County Health Department.
6300 block of St. Rt. 201 – suffered substantial damage. “We went into the basement when we heard the warning,” said Charlie Miller, “and it sounded like Velcro tearing.” He said when he came outside he found his back porch in the front yard, 20 trees downed and substantial damage to his fence.
8300 block of E. U.S. 40 – a tree fell onto the house. “I was at work when the storm hit,” said Ashley Hildreth. “When he came upstairs, he heard the doorbell ringing and a neighbor was there.” She said the neighbor saw the damage and came to make sure the family was OK. She said her husband didn’t hear anything.
8300 block of Bellefontaine Rd. – Several homes had trees downed. “It didn’t sound like a train, like we have heard,” said Greg Conn. He lost some trees and some shingles from his roof. “The county has done a fantastic job of responding so quickly to clean up much of the mess,” said his wife, Marcia.
Cliff Rodriguez lost several trees and severe damage to his barn. Parts of his barn were found in a nearby field. “That was an act of God,” said Rodriguez. “It’s devastating. It hurts my heart.”