A confirmed tornado, given a preliminary rating of EF2 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, ripped through southwestern Ohio on Wednesday as severe thunderstorms rumbled through the region. The tornado resulted in a state of emergency declaration after injuries and damage were reported and occurred one day after a harmful derecho event ripped through the northern Plains and Midwest.
The National Weather Service office in Wilmington conducted a storm survey in northern Clermont County Thursday morning and preliminary findings released at 9:40 a.m. EDT stated the damage was consistent with an EF2-rated tornado. Winds associated with an EF2 twister can range between 111 and 135 mph.
At roughly 3 p.m. Wednesday, a tornado struck the town of Goshen, Ohio, which lies 30 miles northeast of Cincinnati. The radar-indicated whirlwind touched down amid a swath of storms that moved eastward into the Ohio Valley from the Midwest, creating nearly 100,000 power outages for Cincinnati-area residents.
Tree damage captured by the Miami Township Fire and EMS crews Wednesday afternoon.
The first damages in Goshen were reported by Goshen Fire Chief Stephen Pegram, who stated that the town's fire station took a "direct hit" from the tornado, including downed trees around the area of the station. Another angle of damage to the station showed more downed trees, as well as significant structural harm to the base for Goshen's first responders. A portion of the building was further shown as collapsed.
Firefighters that were in the station at the time of destruction were getting ready to respond to a call and were not in the immediate vicinity of the station as its roof caved in and cinderblock walls were blown out.
Pegram provided in an update that between 150 and 200 homes and buildings suffered damage from the suspected tornado Wednesday afternoon, with multiple structures completely torn apart. Directly following the wreckage, numerous gas leaks were reported across the region, including the town's fire station. First responders announced that the gas leak at the fire station was contained by Wednesday evening.
Miami Township Fire and EMS, located in the neighboring Montgomery County, revealed photos on social media of extensive damage after the storms shifted across the region including snapshots of massive trees blown across roadways and damaged road signs.
Road signs and debris around Clermont County, Ohio, captured by Miami Township Fire and EMS crews on Wednesday afternoon.
More depictions of damage were quickly shared via social media, including an Allstate insurance building being near completely wiped out. In addition to more video of the Allstate building's destruction were reports of heavy damage to a local driving school, as well as damage to the local Kroger grocery store.
The aftermath showed cars at a standstill Wednesday evening, waiting for emergency responders to clear the road off Highway 28 of debris.
In an update Wednesday evening, Goshen officials stated that two people were hurt in the ordeal, with one resident hit with flying debris and one firefighter injuring a hand from a chainsaw. A third injury as a result of the flying debris was reported by Miami Township EMS crews late Wednesday.
Hundreds of families in the town with a population of 793 were displaced, with a state of emergency declared due to the destructive tornado. The local tornado shelter was also damaged, with officials seeking a new one Wednesday night for weary and affected residents.
As of Thursday morning, roughly 17,600 residents remained without power in Clermont County alone, according to PowerOutage.us.
In a press conference, Pegram reminded residents that an emergency shelter was set up Wednesday night at the Goshen High School, and is currently being staffed by the Red Cross. Additionally, the Clermont County Emergency Management established an emergency hotline for anyone in need of aid following the storm damage across the region.
NWS survey crews confirmed a second tornado had tracked through southwestern Ohio, starting in Brown County near Lake Lorelei around 3:21 p.m., local time. Preliminary findings found the damage to be consistent with an EF1-rated tornado.
Storms blowing through Ohio carried wind gusts of over 60 miles per hour.
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