Tornado Season Starts Early In Ohio

The weather this past week in Ohio has done just about everything.

Warm and sunny, beautiful early Spring days to violent hail-producing thunderstorms with torrential downpours. Unfortunately, it also saw eight tornadoes destroying homes, barns, and most importantly life. Three people lost their lives in Indian Lake in Logan County when an EF2 tornado swept through in the night with winds of 136 mph. Over 20 people were hospitalized with various injuries. 

Jim and I drove down to Plymouth on the edge of Crawford/Richland Counties to see how much damage had happened there. We found a destructive trail through farmland that was over ten miles long. We saw debris scattered over pristine fields that are ready to be planted. Metal roofing from barns and out buildings was strewn and twisted everywhere, up in the trees that were still standing and all over the countryside. The shearing off of trunks from mature trees was unbelievable. Most trees were twisted beyond saving.

We met Casey and his father-in-law who lost everything. The house was gone. Their barn was gone. The doublewide that was parked out back was found on the neighbor's property tossed over a tall natural tree/brush barrier. It was smashed, twisted and a total loss. The front porch of their home was all that was left. The good news is that there were no fatalities in Plymouth. Everyone there was okay, including their livestock. The father and son-in-law were not there that evening. They were just grateful to be alive and safe. "Everything can be replaced, we have our family, that's all that matters," he said.

The turnout of the community was inspiring to see. Everyone with a tractor and a tool belt showed up to help their neighbors out. Clearing roads, piling debris, putting on temporary roofs and whatever else was needed for people to remain in their homes. More rain was expected. But for the grace of God. Prayers were said and answered that day.

The communities hit are going to be picking up the pieces for a long time. Literally.

Insurance claims were made, adjusters were out, and rebuilding was happening. It all takes a toll on people's lives and their livelihood in rural Ohio. It could just as easily have occurred here in Lakewood. In such a densely populated area, we may not have been so lucky.

As storms become more severe every year, everyone should take the time to become prepared. Make sure your home and/or renter's insurance is adequate  and up to date. Take a walk-through video, showing and describing your belongings if you have to do a claim. Have an emergency plan for your family and pets: a specific place designated in the basement away from windows, the furnace and hot water heater. If no basement is available, then under the stairwell or in an interior closet is the next best. Get in the bathtub if all else fails.

Keep your important papers together. This can't be stressed enough; a safe box or even if it's just a folder that you can grab and keep with you. It should include your policies, mortgage note/deed, passports, birth certificates, marriage licenses, and anything else you consider important and difficult to replace.

As far as your property goes, if you have warning and time, secure as much as possible. Put the car in a garage, rope all of your patio furniture together tightly to help prevent it from taking off. Put garbage cans, BBQ grills and potted plants in the garage as well. Always…always have at least a few days of food and water on hand for your entire family.

If you are a victim of storm damage, take photos of the damage in and out and report it asap.

We know Lakewood will turn out to help its neighbors, it has in the past and will again. Let's just hope it's not in the near future.

Volume 20, Issue 6, Posted 6:47 PM, 03.20.2024