Severe storms avoid Miami Valley, but not all of Ohio and the region

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The National Weather Service in Wilmington is conducting storm surveys in parts of Ohio and Kentucky after severe weather moved through the region Tuesday evening.

While the Miami Valley was included in forecasts for strong storms that could result in damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes, the region was mostly spared.

The area was under a tornado watch, which prompted Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to authorize dismissing some of its workforce early. Some schools and local government offices in Greene and Miami counties also released students and staff ahead of schedule and the Kettering school board, Miami Twp. trustees and Middletown council were among elected officials to reschedule meetings.

The Storm Prediction Center, a part of the NWS, designated a large swath of Ohio — including the local region — a four out of five and with the rest of the state also at an enhanced risk level for severe weather Tuesday, and the Wilmington office of the NWS also indicated there was a “higher confidence of severe weather” in the area.

“Ohio really has a bullseye directly on us,” Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday morning during a visit to Indian Lake. “With the forecasted severe weather headed to Ohio, I encourage everyone to monitor the storm conditions throughout the day and be prepared if you need to take cover.”

The potential effects for the region included considerable damaging wind with gusts up to 70 mph, large hail of 1 to 2 inches in diameter and potentially strong tornadoes.

Allen Randall, a meteorologist from NWS, said the area had the ingredients for severe weather but they didn’t come together at the right time. While storm survey crews are still conducting damage surveys, initial damage reports indicate tornadic activity in parts of Adams, Bracken, Brown and Licking counties in Ohio and in Mason County in Kentucky.

Randall compared Tuesday evening to the EF-3 tornado on March 14 in the Indian Lake area, saying it’s an example of weather conditions coming together at the right time to produce severe storms.

Tornadoes tend to happen in neighborhoods, not throughout an entire city, Randall explained. Returning to the Indian Lake tornado, he noted some areas were devastated by the tornado while others had minor damage.

“Fortunately, a whole area doesn’t have tracks of tornadoes,” he said.

High winds toppled large utility polls and dropped wires onto vehicles across both directions of Interstate 75 at the state Route 63/Monroe/Lebanon exit. One pole was knocked down on the east side of the highway, and multiple were down on the west side near Joe Morgan Honda. The downed wires were draped across a gooseneck trailer loaded with two vehicles pulled behind a pickup truck.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said traffic was diverted off the interstate at state Route 129 in Liberty Twp. in the south and at state Route 122 in the north.

The highway was shut down for about four and a half hours while crews worked to clear the wires. Motorists in the southbound lanes exited the highway using the on ramp, Ohio Department of Transportation footage showed.

A Butler County Sheriff’s deputy was injured when the deputy’s cruiser was rear-ended while responding to the highway closure. The deputy was taken to West Chester Hospital with injuries not believed to be serious, according to the sheriff’s office.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Also Tuesday evening, several hundred customers were without power, almost all in Butler County, which had 1,625 outages as of 7:30 p.m. on the Duke Energy outage map.

The region was under tornado and flood watches, which both were canceled early.

Also, at one point most communities were under a severe thunderstorm warning as a line of storms tracked through the area.

A woman in Tipp City was rescued from a stranded vehicle in high waters Wednesday morning. No injuries were reported.

Governors in Kentucky and West Virginia both declared states of emergency after storms moved through the region. About 140,000 people in West Virginia were without power Tuesday afternoon, according to the Associated Press.