While the National Weather Service has confirmed tornadoes in southern Ross County and Pike County, damage in Scioto County was caused by straight-line winds with wind speed estimated at 94 mph, which is consistent with the damage of a low-end EF-1 tornado, the National Weather Service said.
An estimated 600 trees were downed or uprooted along a five-mile length in the Wheelersburg area, including damage at the intersection of Hammerstein and Lang Slocum Road, baseball dugouts were damaged and about six barns were partially destroyed.
At the Evans home located at Slocum Heights, Audrey said she and her husband were not home at the time, but their neighbor called to tell them they should come home.
“Our garage was flattened and blew about 300 yards or more in the field down by the creek,” she said. “The roof on our porch is gone, it busted a window and the underpinning is gone.” She also said part of the roof on their mobile home was blown off.
Along the same path of the wind, a neighbor’s garage was flattened and numerous trees were down.
Audrey said she and her husband had to cut through the trees to get to their home Saturday because they couldn’t get through on the road.
“We didn’t have insurance so its a total loss for us,” she said. The loss of the garage was a particular blow because the Evanses had been pouring their money into the completion of the garage, which was also used as a work site.
Audrey said Monday morning they are using candles because the electricity is out, and is expected to be out until about Thursday. She said they have lived in their home for about six years and there are eight or nine other houses in the area. Most suffered tree damage, she said.
AEP Ohio said the hardest hit area in southern Ohio for power outages was the Portsmouth area, including Wheelersburg, where nearly 12,000 customers lost power at the peak of the storm.
“The high winds caused tremendous damage to our lines from trees,” said Jim Woods, AEP Ohio supervisor of distribution services for the Portsmouth area. “Tree removal and then installing poles and wires is time consuming, but we have additional resources arriving hourly to assist our restoration efforts.”
All available personnel are working on the restoration effort, Woods said. In addition, 25 additional crews from other AEP Ohio service areas have arrived at the hardest hit area, with more on the way, Woods said.
Jay Foster of Sciotodale said the wind came through his yard and uprooted some huge oak trees.
He and his wife and three children saw the funnel cloud, he said. The storm lasted about 20 minutes, and Foster said he believes it was a tornado. He said a branch from a maple tree also had fallen onto the sunroom and damaged the roof, and for a time, water was pouring into the room.
Residential and street flooding was reported in Lucasville, Minford, South Webster, Wheelersburg and Sciotoville.
Kim Carver at the Scioto County Emergency Management Agency surveyed damage Sunday and said about 20 homes had been damaged by falling trees.
She reported that 3 inches of rain fell at Sciotoville in 15 minutes. Higher amounts were reported by spotters further east and north in the county. Quarter-size to golf ball-sized hail was also reported in Minford and Wheelersburg by trained spotters, Carver said. A car was struck by two falling trees on Swauger Valley Road between Minford and Sciotoville, and four residential structure fires occurred from lightning strikes.
One of the issues with this storm was the long duration of high wind incidence and the second being torrential rainfall of unbelievable rates during the height of the storm, Carver said.
City of Portsmouth had manholes blown off in downtown because of the fast-rising water, and up to 2 feet of water was reported in many areas that covered yards, entered basements and covered driveways.
As far as state or federal help for damages, Carver said the threshold has not been met and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will not come in and help.
“It doesn’t meet the level of damage,” she said, adding also that Ohio’s budget deficit doesn’t allow at this time for an individual assistance program.
She urged people to document and photograph damages and contact their insurance companies.
The Scioto County Engineer’s Office announced that because of rain and high winds and the cleanup work that has to be done on various roads in the county including down trees and washed out pipes, the scheduled closing of Junior Road (County Road 277) for concrete pipe installation has been postponed.
The Porter Township Trustees also announced a storm cleanup schedule: today through Aug. 1, wood debris only will be accepted in the parking lot at the old Wheelersburg High School; today through July 25, Dumpsters at the Road and Bridge Garage for non-wood storm debris, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the Porter Township Community pool will reopen today.
Weather service confirms
tornadoes in Pike, Ross
By DEBORAH DANIELS
PDT Staff Writer
A team from the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Wilmington conducted a damage survey Sunday and confirmed that an EF-1 tornado touched down Saturday south/southeast of Piketon.
Damage indicates that it touched down briefly in two locations. The initial touchdown occurred near Loop Road where an estimated 15 trees were uprooted and knocked down. The tornado then briefly lifted before touching down again in a cemetery off Bailey Chapel Road. There, it uprooted and knocked down about 10 more trees and lifted a trampoline over a fence. Winds were estimated around 94 mph and the damage was consistent with a low-end EF-1 tornado, the National Weather Service said.
Near Waverly, straight-line wind damage off Ohio 772 in Buchanan knocked three mobile homes off their foundations and picked up and lifted one mobile home, destroying the roof and carrying it about 50 yards.
The National Weather Service also confirmed a tornado touched down in southern Ross County in the Summit Hill area and on Denver and Shaffer roads.
DEBORAH DANIELS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 234.
DEBORAH DANIELS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 234.