MIAMI VALLEY, Ohio (WDTN) — Friday, May 27 marks three years since a collection of tornadoes tore through the Miami Valley, leaving behind damage that still remains to this day,
According to the National Weather Service, eleven tornadoes touched down in the Miami Valley, leaving behind an estimated $1 billion in damage. 19 tornadoes hit Ohio overall.
The chaos began just after 10 p.m. in Celina.
An EF3 Tornado touched down west of the city before ripping through, taking roofs off barns and knocking over trees. This tornado also brought the only casualty of the night: 82-year-old Dale Hanna was killed when a car was blown into his home on Fairground Road.
Another EF3 tornado hit West Milton less than half an hour later, forming a path 0.75 miles wide. According to the National Weather Service, this one caused a long line of damage in the Range Line Road area after passing through two counties. It was on the ground for 19 minutes.
At 10:41 p.m., the storms began to grow stronger as they moved closer to Dayton. What began as an EF2 tornado by Brookville turned into an EF3 as it tore through Trotwood, reaching speeds of 165 MPH. As it traveled to Riverside Drive and the Stillwater River, the tornado continued to grow to an EF4. What were once well-built apartments lost walls and roofs, as trees were stripped of branches and bark alike.
This may have been the strongest tornado to touch down that evening, but the Miami Valley would see much more damage and devastation before the night was through.
As the half-mile-wide tornado moved towards Old North Dayton, it flattened a gas station on Wagner Ford Road and destroyed the Trackside Hotel.
The tornado finally began to lose steam as it entered Riverside, falling to an EF1. It left the ground at 11:13 p.m., just west of the Greene County line.
While the Dayton tornado was gaining power, two EF0 tornadoes landed, one just south of Troy. This storm lasted 16 minutes and damaged a residence on Monroe-Concord Road. It began at 10:47 p.m.
The second briefly touched down in Miami County at 11:08 pm. It was only on the ground for a minute, traveling a distance of 50 yards.
At 11:12 pm, the first of three tornadoes hit the Beavercreek area.
The first began in Riverside, leaving a path of EF3 damage across northern Beavercreek and into Xenia Township. Then, at 11:19 p.m., an EF0 tornado touched down near Phillipsburg, by the line between Montgomery and Miami Counties.
An EF2 also touched down in Butler Township, following a path just north of the EF4 tornado that hit Dayton. It removed roofs and damaged several businesses near I-75.
Two more tornadoes hit the Jamestown area. One landed near Lackey Road, damaging the siding on one home, and blowing the windows out of another as it passed.
The last tornado of the night landed at 12:23 p.m. This EF2 tornado touched down on South Charleston Road. According to the National Weather Service, the storm destroyed the roof and collapsed the walls on the top floor of a home on Rogers Road.
At 12:32 p.m., the night was finally over. Over the course of only two hours, these storms caused damage that would still remain in the Miami Valley three years later.
For a detailed timeline of each storm’s path and destruction, click here.
Where are we now?
Even today you can still see the damage left behind by these powerful storms. One set of Dayton apartments has been uninhabitable for years, waiting to be torn down for another use.
“As it was vacant, individuals took liberties stripping out stuff so before the owner could really make a plan moving forward. Vandals and thieves undermined the property,” said Deputy Director of Planning, Neighborhoods & Development Department City of Dayton Steven Gondol. “By the time we all got involved, the property is at a point of no return.”
This year, the property has a chance at a new life. 2 NEWS reporter Caroline Morse tells us more here.
Members of the community still talk about that night as they work to return to normal. Meteorologist Cameron Saliga spoke to just a few as they remember looking over the damage in the light of the first day. It would be only the first step in a recovery that still has a ways to go.
You can read their responses here.