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Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 5:46 PM
Clean-up efforts began Thursday after severe weather ripped through the Miami Valley overnight, bringing an outbreak of tornadoes in the north and severe flooding in the south.
Three tornadoes struck Wednesday night — two in Clark County and one in Miami County — the National Weather Service confirmed Thursday, but warnings were issued in Greene, Warren and Preble counties too.
No injuries were reported.
“I was extremely surprised,” Bethel Twp. Fire Chief Jacob King said. “It’s a miracle.”
His township included the hardest-hit area, Park Layne, where a confirmed EF1 tornado (with maximum sustained winds of 100 miles per hour) ripped through a Sunoco Gas Station and damaged the Mel-o-Dee Restaurant, Family Dollar and Motor Sports of Dayton.
King said rescue crews had to free a woman from the Family Dollar on South Dayton-Lakeview Road.
“We received a call of a person trapped inside the Family Dollar who said they couldn’t get out of the bathroom of the storage area because the doors were jammed shut,” King said. “Our crews arrived on the scene, did a rampant assessment of the facility, forced entry and was able to rescue that one occupant from the building.”
The person was unharmed, King said, and he was happy to find out no one was hurt during the storm.
The Mel-O-Dee restaurant could be closed for up to three weeks because of broken air conditioning units and a structural truss damaged. The beloved Clark County restaurant has been open since 1965 and is known for its broaster chicken and other dishes made from scratch.
Larry Shaffer, Clark County Combined Health District, said eight of 10 restaurants were back in business after the storms caused closures.
Another EF1 tornado (about 90 miles per hour) was confirmed about five miles southeast of Piqua.
An EF0 tornado (with maximum winds of 75 miles per hour) tore branches off trees and threw them onto and through mobile homes at McMahan’s Mobile Home. Residents reported extensive damage, including holes in roofs that allowed water to pour right in.
Residents said they were alerted to the danger by watching Storm Center 7 coverage on WHIO-TV.
“I was watching the news, watching Channel 7 news, and it showed it coming this way and I was looking and said, ‘it’s coming right for this mobile home park,’” said one resident. “That’s when I went outside, the rain stopped and got real calm, and that’s when it hit.”
In Butler County, storm damage included thousands of gallons of water in flooded basements.
Firefighters rescued 15 people, eight adults and seven children, after high water trapped them at Sebald Park in Madison Twp., Butler County Wednesday. Crews said high water cut off access to a bridge in the park, trapping multiple people in the high water.
Those trapped in the park included a pregnant woman and people with medical issues, according to Madison Twp. Fire Department Chief Kent Hall.
Hamilton resident Rebecca Lee called 911 when heavy rains swept up her green Honda Odyssey on Wednesday night between Tabor and Cleveland avenues.
“I got to get out of my car or I am going to drown soon,” Lee said to dispatchers. “I am going to have to get out or die. There is water up to my waist, and it is getting worse and worse.”
Ben Johnson, who lives on Taylor School Road, said he felt “shear panic” as the storms blew through, flooding his basement, destroying appliances and knocking out a door in the basement. He lost a washer, dryer, refrigerator, video games and couch.
Staff Writers Parker Perry, Allyson Brown, Jim Ingram, Wayne Baker, Rick McCrabb and the Breaking News Team contributed reporting.
STORM CENTER 7 WEEKEND FORECAST
Friday: The day will begin dry with pleasant conditions. Highs will reach the middle 70s with some sunshine early. Scattered storms will develop toward late evening and continue into Friday night. A few storms could be strong as they arrive before weakening late Friday night.
Saturday: Most areas should be dry in the morning, but isolated storms could be triggered in the afternoon. Scattered showers and storms could develop into the evening. Some storms could be strong or severe. Highs will be in the 80s with muggy conditions.
Sunday: Scattered showers and storms move through the first half of the day. A few storms could be strong, possibly severe. The eastern Miami Valley may still have a few storms around late afternoon. The area dries out into the night. Daytime highs will be around 80 with still-muggy conditions.
Monday: At least some portion of Memorial Day should be dry, though another front will approach that could trigger a few showers or storms in the evening and into the night. Highs will reach the middle 70s with sunshine and scattered clouds.
Tuesday: Expect a mix of sun and clouds with a passing shower possible. Highs in the middle 70s.