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Celina worker took cover in break room during tornado, ‘glad we’re still alive’

Published: Sunday, November 05, 2017 @ 5:30 PM
Updated: Monday, November 06, 2017 @ 11:54 AM
By: Thomas Gnau - Staff Writer

UPDATE @ 11:58 a.m. (Nov. 6)

Storm damage clean up is underway at Schafer Dairy Farm today in Russia. News Center 7’s Steve Baker is there.

UPDATE @ 10:59 a.m. (Nov. 6)

News Center 7’s Sean Cudahy is in Celina today as the National Weather Service is conducting its survey of tornado damage.

Dunham’s Sports on Havemann Road was heavily damaged. Zach Short, an employee of the business, said last night he had to take cover in the employee break room during the storm. 

“No one was really screaming, they were pretty calm,” Short said.

And after he saw the damage outside, Short said, “Glad we’re still alive. Couldn’t really fathom it.”

PHOTOS: November weather system spurs tornado, storms

EARLIER REPORT

A tornado touched down in Mercer County Sunday afternoon, causing multiple injuries and what witnesses said was “horrific damage” in Celina, according to the National Weather Service and callers to our newsroom.

The National Weather Service and local officials said as many as eight injuries and “significant” damage were reported near Celina and Coldwater. A WHIO TV crew in Celina saw that a portion of the roof to Crown Equipment Corp. on Grand Lake Road was missing and an exterior wall has suffered significant damage.

None of the injuries were initially thought to be life-threatening, but local officials said it was too early to offer specifics.

“We’ve had significant damage to a number of industries and retail shops,” said Celina Mayor Jeff Hazel. “At last count, I did hear that we had at least eight injuries.”

One immediate issue Sunday evening was there was no power in Celina. Residents were being encouraged to stay home.

“The message is ‘Stay home,’ and if you’re out, ‘Go home,’” Hazel said.

RELATED: Injuries reported in Celina

Hazel said some roads needed to be cleared and power needed to be restored. It was hoped that at least some of the power would be restored by morning.

There were reports of at least two people injured at the C-Town Wings restaurant in Celina. A caller to our newsroom said the eastern side of Celina saw significant damage, with power lines down at one point near Ohio 29 and Havemann Road at about 3:45 p.m. A Dollar General store near Havemann was also damaged.

Another caller said a barn had been lifted from its foundation on Carmel Church Road in Mercer County.

An additional injury was reported by the National Weather Service on Ohio 29 after a power pole fell.

“Today was a dangerous day,” WHIO-TV Meteorologist Brett Collar said. “Multiple injuries, a lot of structures down, and that is something we were able to see on radar. We were able to actually see debris on radar.”

When “debris signatures” — trees or building structures aloft in heavy winds — are visible on radar, that’s a sign of substantial damage, Collar said.

Sunday afternoon saw multiple hazards in effect across the area. A tornado watch had been in effect for Auglaize and Mercer counties until 3:15 p.m. Sunday, and for much of the Dayton area until 7 p.m.

>> Reports of heavy damage, injuries at Celina restaurant

Showers and thunderstorms across the region had been expected Sunday afternoon. Flash Flood watches had been issued for Auglaize, Champaign, Clark, Darke, Delaware, Franklin, Greene, Hardin, Licking, Logan, Madison, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, Preble, Shelby, Union counties until Monday at 4 a.m.

Inch-sized hail had also been reported in the area, according to the National Weather Service.

Overnight, lingering showers were expected but the overall threat level was expected to dissipate by early Monday. Temperatures were to drop through the 50s overnight.

On Monday, more showers are expected, with highs by the early morning hours in the upper 50s. Temperatures will fall during the day through the lower 50s and 40s.

On Tuesday, which is Election Day: More clouds will linger, but it looks to be a mainly dry and cooler day with highs in the lower 50s.

 

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