WAYNE COUNTY, OH — Menacing weather rolled through Wayne County Wednesday afternoon, possibly producing a tornado.
The National Weather Service will have to make the official determination, but the Wayne County Emergency Management Agency and multiple witnesses said it was definitely a tornado, including the local fire chief.
“I actually saw the tornado go down and I was 5-to-6 miles south and saw it go down and debris come back up,” said Chief Les Durstine, of Apple Creek East Union Township Fire Department.
The chief says it happened just after 3:00 p.m.
The funnel cloud formed and then suddenly dropped right on top of a house on McQuaid Road, ripping the roof off.
It was only on the ground for about 30 seconds, but that was long enough to knock down a large tree in the back yard, flatten a cornfield and then lift back up through a densely wooded line of trees, shearing off the tree tops.
A neighbor captured it all on video from across the street.
“Clouds got really dark, started rotating and debris started coming up off the ground, and over in the distance, 500 yards away, I see a tree get laid over. I was like ‘oh, oh, oh wow, time to go to the basement,” said Adam Shilling.
Luckily, a woman and her teen daughter who live at the house were not home.
The daughter was at volleyball practice when her bedroom was destroyed.
“I’ve got a new appreciation for Mother Nature,” said Adam Shilling.
Another Fox 8 viewer, Ashley Kennebrew, also captured video of the suspected tornado.
If the tornado had not lifted back into the clouds when it did, the damage might have been significantly more widespread. On the other side of the tree line are a number of other homes that would’ve been right in the twister’s path.
“My reaction is like ‘Oh my God,’ we just live like, a fourth a mile away,” said Kim Harrison.
Her daughter Katelyn added, “I was like ‘froze’ with fear after it.”
Incredibly, despite the powerful winds and twister, the only serious damage happened to the century home on McQuaid Rd.
Ironically, a previous owner says it’s the second time it’s been it.
Ben Yoder says the house sustained damage in the early 90s when it was struck by a tornado.
He was stunned that the home was hit again.
But everyone was also grateful Wednesday night that no one was seriously hurt. Even the family’s 3 pets were rescued.
“I feel lucky, but I’m happy no one was home and no one got hurt,” said Kim Harrison.