(WDTN ) Where were you when a hurricane hit Dayton and the Miami Valley, 15 years ago today?
Sept. 14, 2023, marks 15 years since remnants of a storm dubbed Hurricane Ike caught southwestern Ohio off-guard. Centered over Indiana on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008 — just one day after making landfall in Galveston, Texas, as a Category 2 hurricane — what was left of Ike lashed our region with 60-80 mph wind gusts and 50 mph sustained winds in an onslaught that lasted for hours.
In Ohio, more than 2.5 million people lost power due to winds associated with Ike, and seven deaths were attributed to the storm. It is estimated that Ike caused more than $1 billion in damage across the Buckeye State, making it the costliest storm since the Xenia tornado of 1974.
When it was all over, “It looked like a war zone,” Storm Team 2 Meteorologist Jamie Jarosik recalled this morning on 2 NEWS Today. “So many trees down, tree limbs down, roads closed, everyone had no power for maybe a week or so — I think we went 9 days without power. … And it wasn’t just one or two neighborhoods, it was area-wide.”
That afternoon and into the evening, the entire state of Ohio felt the force of Ike’s fury. Southwestern and central Ohio, however, felt the brunt of the storm.
“I remember the panic about how you would get gasoline,” 2 NEWS Today Co-Anchor Lauren Wood told her colleagues as they shared memories around the anchor desk this morning.
Wood was living in Columbus at the time. “So many of the gas stations didn’t have power either,” Wood said. “So even if they had gas, it was hard to find one that you could actually fill up at.”
As Jarosik remembers it, the forecast that day called for breezy conditions. “I remember driving around when it all started, thinking, wow, this is more than just breezy,” Jarosik said.
“Man, it got windy and those trees were really swaying and bending and snapping and coming out of the ground getting uprooted at times. There was damage everywhere,” Jarosik continued. “I remember when it was occurring, like, the neighborhood was outside watching it. And I’m inside the house like, ‘You guys! You shouldn’t be out there! I’m a meteorologist, get inside!‘ But I mean, you don’t see that very often, so it was just fascinating.”
2 NEWS Today Traffic Anchor/Multimedia Journalist Kelley King also remembers the day well. “Actually it’s funny because my mom and I were at the mall and we lost power,” King recounted this morning on 2 NEWS Today. “We were at the Fairfield Commons mall, we lost power, we were on an escalator, and it was like, every man for themselves!”
Describing her mom’s reaction at that moment, King said, “She pushed me out of the way! She was running towards the door because the whole mall was dark –“
“That sounds scary!” Jarosik interjected.
“It was!” King said. “Obviously it was scary for my mom because she pushed me out of the way!”
Of all the journalists gathered at the desk this morning, only 2 NEWS Today Co-Anchor Zac Pitts admitted that could not remember a thing about Hurricane Ike.
“We were trying to figure out why Zac has no recollection of this whatsoever!” Wood said, laughing.
“I have no recollection whatsoever!” Pitts exclaimed. He then remembered that he was living in Hawaii when Hurricane Ike hit Dayton — a story for another morning, perhaps.
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