2013-11-16 / News

Tornado hits township

By Scott Rawdon

UNION TOWNSHIP – November arrived with a vengeance for some Union Township residents, who are still cleaning up after a tornado inflicted plenty of property damage in the early hours of Nov. 1.

“There’s more damage than estimators originally thought,” said Canyon Road resident Frank Stewart who said he heard a “freight train” above his house Halloween night. He and his wife fled to the basement, only to find far more trick than treat the next morning. Stewart said he didn’t think the damage was that bad, until he looked outside in the daylight to find his property covered in downed trees and damage to a barn, a fence, and their deck.

The National Weather Service in Wilmington, OH, confirmed an EF1 tornado, with 95 miles per hour winds touched down in Union Township at 1:07 a.m. Nov. 1. There were no fatalities or injuries. The tornado traveled 1.3 miles along the ground with a 50-yard maximum path width.

According to the report, the tornado touched down west of Lancaster Road (Ohio 37), snapping many healthy pine trees, a large cottonwood tree, and many other smaller trees. The tornado damaged several properties as it hurtled toward Canyon Road.

Buckeye Lake Museum Director J-me Braig felt the tornado’s wrath as well. “It was about 12:30 in the early morning of November 1 and I was watching a late movie,” she said. “My cell phone alerted me that there was a tornado in Summit Station; I only live about eight miles as the crow flies east from there.”

Braig’s windows were open and she looked into her yard and noticed their 40-feet tall evergreens were barely swaying at the tops in a slight breeze. “I went back to my movie but turned the sound down,” she said. But, not 15 seconds later her cell phone toned with alert. It was not a notice. “The darn thing told me, ‘Take cover immediately, there is a tornado at your house,” said Braig. “I jumped up and heard what everyone always tells you – the sound of a freight train coming, loud and extremely noisy.”

She and her husband ran to the basement amidst the sound of trees crashing and hitting their roof and windows. “The noise was so loud,” said Braig. “As soon as it had hit, it was over – say maybe 30 seconds.”

Braig and her husband crept back upstairs to their kitchen and looked around. There was nothing bad inside. “I walked over to the back door put my face to the glass and peeked out into the dark,” she said. “It was raining but I knew my evergreens were gone because I could see our neighbors home, and that was not supposed to be.

“Eleven of our 18 blue spruce trees were gone; our back deck and the spouting all gone,” said Braig. “It was a crazy experience. We are blessed that we were not hurt or that our home wasn’t damaged more, like so many others. However, I really miss our trees.”

Beacon photos by Scott Rawdon & Charles Prince Beacon photos by Scott Rawdon & Charles Prince

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