Storm Kills One in Ohio
Storm Kills One in Ohio
Sep. 21, 2000
XENIA, Ohio (AP) _ A powerful late-summer storm swept through town, killing one person and injuring dozens of others as it left overturned cars, damaged buildings and fallen power lines in its wake.
Authorities continued searching early Thursday for other possible victims of the storm that hit around 7:30 p.m. the night before, bringing stinging rain and winds up to 70 mph.
``We are going home by home to see if everybody is OK,'' Mayor John Saraga said. ``Ninety percent of our city is in good shape.''
At least 100 people were injured, and at least 14 were admitted to hospitals. One person was in critical condition and three were in serious condition Thursday.
One person was killed when a tree crushed a car near the Greene County fairgrounds, Sheriff Jerry Erwin said.
Ruby Godfrey was in the Dayton Avenue Baptist Church when she heard hail pound the roof, which was eventually torn off.
``We're hitting the floor, getting under pews. You heard the roar. You saw the roof flying off and then it was gone,'' Godfrey said.
Dick Kimmins of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency said Gov. Bob Taft issued an emergency declaration for Xenia late Wednesday night.
The storm was a frightening reminder of a tornado that struck the city a quarter-century ago leaving 33 people dead and millions of dollars in damage.
National Weather Service officials said they had no verification of a tornado touchdown Wednesday.
Crews searched through the night for possible storm victims in the rubble of a grocery store that collapsed, though there were no reports of anyone missing. Nothing was found as of daybreak Thursday.
Substantial damage also was reported outside a Wal-Mart store where cars were overturned, utility lines fell and trees splintered. Inside the store, windows were shattered and walls collapsed.
``There really was no warning,'' employee Travis Waddle, 20, said. ``I saw the tiles come down and people running and everybody screaming.''
He said some people suffered cuts and bruises, but he saw no major injuries inside the store.
At one point, half of this southwestern Ohio city, about 20 miles southeast of Dayton, had no electricity.
``I was tired of being in the dark and I wanted to know what was going on,'' said Robin Hunter, 44, who spent the night at a temporary shelter set up at a local elementary school.
Elsewhere in southwest Ohio on Wednesday night, heavy rains damaged roofs and downed trees and power lines.
Allen Randall, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, said radar indicated some straight-line winds of 60 mph to 70 mph.
In central Ohio, storms damaged 15 homes north of Columbus.
On the Net:
National Weather Service: http://iwin.nws.noaa.gov/iwin/graphicsversion/bigmain.html