|Tornado confirmed in Van Wert County|
|Monday, November 18, 2013 9:00 PM|
National Weather Service officials were in Van Wert County on Monday surveying damage from Sunday’s storms. The meteorologists responded at the request of Van Wert County Emergency Management Director Rick McCoy after he surveyed damage in the northeast part of the county and determined that a tornado had actually touched down. It was determined that the tornado first hit at the intersection of St Rt 637 and Feasby Wisener Road in Jackson Township and traveled to the northeast for 3 miles before lifting at the Wetzelland motorcycle club property located on the Van Wert Paulding County line east of Middle Point-Wetzel Road. Officials rated the tornado damage at EF-1.
The massive storm system that hit the Midwest had been predicted by weather officials for up to four days ahead of time and was showing some similarities to the severe storms that produced the massive F-4 tornado that ripped through Van Wert County on November 10, 2002. The Storm Prediction Center is reporting that as many as 81 tornadoes were documented on Sunday for Illinois, Indiana, western Kentucky and across Ohio. Some of these tornadoes were deadly. The EMA Director said that fall outbreaks normally occur every year and when they do, they produce some powerful tornadoes just like early spring storms.
Storm spotters were activated on Sunday afternoon as storms moved into Wells County. At approximately 4:36 p.m., the National Weather Service in North Webster, Indiana issued a tornado warning for Adams, Allen, Paulding, Putnam and Van Wert counties and advised radar was indicating thunderstorms capable of producing a tornado moving into the area. McCoy at that point activated the county-wide siren system, issued the warning statements and tracked the storms as they moved through. He said the warning went for an entire 40 minutes as a second line of storms followed the first and was also capable of producing a tornado. Spotters reported hail anywhere from pea-sized to dime-sizes around the county and the highest wind gust in Van Wert was measured at 62mph.
Spotters and the public observed ominous looking clouds and damaging winds but when the tornado actually developed, it may have been obscured by rain. Fortunately, the Weather Service had issued good lead time warnings and was very confident that a tornado might have been occurring, McCoy said. The radar was very precise in the track of the tornado and it verified the paths that were discovered. The tornado that struck in Van Wert County was also the same storm that hit Cloverdale. Data shows that the cell that entered Van Wert County came in around US 224 and the state line and continued northeast moving across the north edge of the city of Van Wert. Luckily, it was not yet on the ground even though radar showed the rotation was there, said McCoy. It then continued northeast from the city and was finally strong enough to come down at Rt 637. After traveling 3 miles on the ground, it lifted and then the storm recycled and the funnel came down again at the Paulding/Putnam County line and stayed on the ground doing damage for 3 miles before entering the town of Cloverdale. The church was destroyed and many homes damaged throughout the town with no power expected in that area for at least a week. The tornado then continued out of village and carved its way through Putnam County for several more miles.
The damage path in Van Wert County consisted of six pine trees snapped when the funnel first touched down. It then damaged or destroyed five barns on Doner Road including a grain bin. As it moved across Middle Point-Wetzel Road, it damaged the roof and siding to a home, rolled a horse trailer onto a pick up truck and damaged a barn roof. It then moved on to Wetzelland where it rolled three campers that were parked there. McCoy said this hopefully has ended the severe weather season and wishes to thank the spotters for their dedication in helping during the storm events. He appreciates the public being pro-active in preparation and responding to the warnings when they are issued. He said this was certainly a case where we could have had a tornado path the length of the county, in almost the same areas from 2002, so we were very, very lucky it was only a 3 mile path out in the rural area of Van Wert County.