TROY, Ohio (WDTN) – Buildings in downtown Troy are still under construction after an EF-0 Tornado last January.
Miami County Emergency Management Director Joel Smith surveyed the damage with the National Weather Service. Meteorologists estimated wind speeds between 70 and 80 mph.
“100-year-old trees were snapped off you know halfway up the tree,” Smith said. “Power lines were torn in half.”
“You saw all these parts of the buildings down, crashed on the ground, and all of these cars that are damaged,” Jordyn Williams said. “It was kind of scary.”
During the tornado Williams was at home keeping up with the warnings and hoping her family’s store, 3 Weird Sisters, was ok.
“Luckily, we didn’t have too much damage to our roof, Williams said. “It wasn’t too bad, like the other buildings around here. That was really good. We were really thankful for that.
The tornado happened on Jan. 11, 2020 at 10 p.m.
“Not something that anybody would have expected. We saw some pretty sizable damage even though it was an EF-0,” Smith said.
Looking back on 2020 Smith said he learned to expect the unexpected.
“This time last year, I never would have thought we would spend 9 months of the year dealing with the coronavirus,” Smith said, “or would I have predicted we would have three EF-0 Tornadoes touchdown in the county in the last year.
Another tornado happened in Fletcher on Jan. 11. The third hit in a rural area near Covington as the core of the remnants of Tropical System Cristobal tracked along the Mississippi River Valley on June 9.
Following the historic tornado season in 2019, only four tornadoes hit the Miami Valley in 2020. All were rated EF-0 by the National Weather Service. The fourth started south of Blanchester in Clinton County as a line of thunderstorms produced 19 tornadoes across the Tri-State.
Smith provides four key points to prepare for this year.
“Number one be weather aware. Take advantage of the resources out there to give you early warnings,” Smith said.
He suggested weather apps with customizable alerts like the Storm Team 2 Weather App or the Red Cross App.
“Two I would say pay attention to the weather alerts and the warnings that come out,” Smith said.
Warnings for EF-0 tornadoes have the least amount of lead time because the rotation is very shallow and difficult to see on the radar until the Tornado is already on the ground.
“Here in Troy and Fletcher there was almost no time between the National Weather Service warnings, the sirens, and the touchdown,” Smith said. “So pay attention and take action as soon as you have some information about the storm.”
Since 1994 at least one tornado has occurred in the Miami Valley each year.
“Three I’d say think ahead about power outages. That’s one of the most significant impacts you’re going to see with a tornado other than structural damage,” Smith said.
He suggested having nonperishable food, water, and fuel ready to use for generators or chainsaws.
“Lastly, I’d recommend to take a look at your insurance coverage. As we help people recover from emergencies and storms, we often see people that are underinsured,” Smith said. “So just make sure your coverage matches what you have to protect.”
Smith got a glimpse of the damage during the survey with the National Weather Service, but he also saw the community come together.
“For every household that had some damage, I saw three and four other households from the neighborhood helping them clean up,” Smith said.
“I’m so blessed to be a part of troy,” Williams said. “I think it’s such a cool place to live and grow up. I know everybody, everybody knows me and my family and my sisters. It’s very homey. It’s very safe. You just feel warm and cozy when you’re here.”