|McCoy, NWS confirms tornado in Willshire|
|Thursday, June 13, 2013 11:55 PM|
BY LINDSAY MCCOY
“Overall, we were very lucky as the damaging winds had a tough time making it to the ground at all, and a number of funnels were sighted but did not touch down,” remarked McCoy. “Unfortunately, it was Willshire that actually had a tornado that did reach the ground, and it was even more unfortunate for the residents along Green Street who ironically had all of the same homes damaged by a tornado that followed the same path in 1992.”
The Willshire tornado developed within a convective squall-line of storms in Indiana that proceeded to move across Adams County and into the southern part of Van Wert County. At the time of impact, residents had already been made aware of the oncoming storm as the National Weather Service had issued a tornado warning for Van Wert County as their radar had indicated strong rotation and a possible developing tornado near Berne.
Sirens had been sounded in Willshire, as well as all other regions across the county, for the possibility of an approaching twister. According to the National Weather Service, the tornado made contact around 11:27 p.m. giving Willshire a 10-minute warning from the time siren’s were activated prior to the village being struck.
The resulting damage survey indicated that the tornado touched down at the Ohio/Indiana State Line at State Route 81 and was moving slightly southeast. A number of trees were damaged along its path at the Willshire village limits.
“It appeared that the funnel was moving up and down until it reached Williams Street when a resident watched it come down again and snap off the tops of his trees and then head down Green Street,” noted McCoy. In a two block area, 13 homes sustained damage including heavy roof damage, shingles and siding ripped off, and windows busted out.
The home located at 205 Green Street also had a garage rolled off of its foundation. One car was crushed when a tree fell on it at 611 State Route 49. McCoy estimates that the losses from the storm will total several hundred thousand dollars.
This storm system had been predicted three days prior to the event and it was clear to weather professionals a severe weather outbreak was going to occur. The main question remaining at the time was how many rounds of storms would move into the Van Wert area, the timing of these storms, and whether storms would be wind or tornado producers. Many media outlets were mentioning a possible derecho system similar to the June 29 wind storm that caused detrimental damage throughout the county last year.
“I was more concerned with the tornado threat and isolated bow-echo wind producing storms than for a derecho event,” said McCoy. “Even though the atmosphere was perfect for the explosive rapid storm development, the available energy was only half of what it was in 2012 when it produced the widespread derecho damage last year.
A variety of events including children’s sports games and practice were cancelled due to the oncoming storm. Fortunately, the first round of storms expected around 7 p.m. remained north of the Van Wert area. It wasn’t until about 10:30 p.m. that the entire storm complex began moving southeast towards Van Wert.
Around 11 p.m., spotters throughout the county were out in the dark of night at the time that sirens were activated. As storms moved out of the area, funnels were observed east of Wren and Willsire, the west side of Ohio City, over Convoy, and Middle Point. A funnel was also spotted over Industrial Drive in the city of Van Wert after the tornado warning had expired which prompted McCoy to continue sounding the local sirens.