Montgomery County: ‘Resources overwhelmed’ after suspected tornadoes

Published: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 @ 10:48 AM
Updated: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 @ 1:39 PM

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tours Celina

UPDATE @ 1:40 p.m.:

Montgomery County commissioners declared the county in a state of emergency Tuesday after an overnight outbreak of tornadoes injured several dozen and left widespread damage and “resources overwhelmed.”

The emergency declaration will allow the county to ask state authorities for help on the most pressing need: getting drinking water to about 250,000 people following the failure up backup systems in Dayton’s water pumping stations, said Montgomery County Administrator Michael Colbert. Dayton’s system serves about another 130,000 people, he said.

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“I will probably ask the governor for some level of National Guard assistance with water tankers,” Colbert said. “We can only have so much bottled water. The real deal here with this many people out, we’re probably going to need tankers of drinking water and we’re going to need those deployed strategically throughout the county.”

Both Dayton and Montgomery County have issued boil advisories.

The county’s emergency management operations center has also been activated, Colbert said. Residents can call the county’s hotline 937-225-6217 for information on the county’s response to the storm. About 60 people from regional strike teams from Cincinnati and Columbus are providing mutual aid in addition to about 40 members of Ohio Task Force 1, according to the county. 

The special meeting was called for 11 a.m. but delayed for nearly an hour due to lack of a quorum. Commissioners Judy Dodge, who lives in Vandalia, and Debbie Lieberman, a resident of Clayton, had trouble getting to the administration building downtown due to due to the many area roads blocked by debris.

Commissioners also approved an emergency appropriation of $100,000 toward the immediate needs of residents, including drinking water. It remains unclear how many structures countywide sustained damage, Colbert said, but no reports of damage came in from county-owned facilities.

Colbert said storm debris will be a significant issue for the Montgomery County Solid Waste District as cleanup begins.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine plans to visit affected areas in Beavercreek and Trotwood today, according a news release.

EARLIER REPORT:

Montgomery County commissioners met this morning to pass a resolution declaring the county in a state of emergency by an overnight outbreak of tornadoes leaving widespread damage and “resources overwhelmed.”

>> 1 dead from Celina tornado, 42 storm-related injuries reported at Dayton-area hospitals

Montgomery County Commission President Debbie Lieberman said the resolution will allow the county to summon state and federal resources to assist in the aftermath of tornadoes destroyed parts of several Montgomery County communities including Brookville, Harrison Twp., Trotwood and Vandalia. 

County officials have been out all night assessing the damage, Lieberman said. 

Water Outage Map

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“It’s a mess out here,” she said. “It’s going to take us a while to get our arms around the total devastation. In the meantime, we want to make sure that everybody’s OK and accounted for.” 

A tornado went right by but spared Lieberman’s home in Clayton. Others in nearby in the storm’s immediate path were not as lucky, she said. 

“When you see some of that devastation in Trotwood, I’m just praying that no one’s lost their life in this.” 

One person was killed in Celina, but no fatalities had been reported in Montgomery County as of 9:30 Tuesday morning. Dozens, however, have been treated at area hospitals. 

>> Tornado relief: How you can help

A boil advisory is in effect for Dayton and customers of Montgomery County’s water distribution system due to the loss of power at Dayton’s water pumping stations. 

“The water thing is going to be a problem - again,” Lieberman said. 

A nearly catastrophic break to a water main under the Great Miami River caused an unprecedented water outage in February and spilled more than 100 million gallons of treated water into the river. 

“If we can get through this horrible thing without loss of life, it would be a miracle,” Lieberman said.

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