Wood Co. Revisited 3 Years After Deadly Twister

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WOOD COUNTY, Ohio — As Oklahoma residents cope with the aftermath of Monday’s tornado near Oklahoma City, the community of Millbury, Ohio, and surrounding areas are preparing to mark the third anniversary of a deadly tornado that killed seven people.

“You’re just in a daze, you don’t know,” said Shirley White, who lost everything when the tornado destroyed her home in 2010. “I’d never, ever even been around a tornado or anything like that.”

On Saturday, June 5, the EF4 tornado with winds of approximately 170 to 175 miles per hour touched down in Wood and Ottawa counties.

According to the National Weather Service, the tornado first made landfall east of Perrysburg at 11:20 p.m. and eventually tore through the northwest side Millbury.

The tornado was on the ground for 10 minutes with a width of approximately 400 yards and traveled between eight and 10 miles, according to the National Weather Service.

Monday’s tornado outside Oklahoma City was on the ground for approximately 40 minutes and was an estimated 1.5 miles wide.

“It’s devastating. I know what they went through,” said Bill White, Shirley’s husband.  “Just look to the Lord, that’s the only hope we have in the future – and he spared us for some reason.”

In the days after the deadly tornado in northern Ohio, residents vowed to rebuild, just like those living in the area ravaged by a tornado near Oklahoma City on Monday.

The 2010 storm also had a direct impact on Lake High School, where upward of 70 percent of the building was destroyed by the twister.

It happened the day before commencement exercises were scheduled on Sunday. A new state-of-the-art school building has been constructed in its place.

According to Brad Gilbert, Wood County’s emergency management director, everything that was destroyed in the tornado has been rebuilt, including the homes along Main Street that were demolished.

Gilbert said only one home, where three people died, was not rebuilt.

“It does bring all that back,” said Gilbert. “And you know exactly what those folks are going through at this point in time, the search and rescue phase, trying to convert over into recovery phase and all the emotions that come along with it. So yes, we’re actually feeling what they’re going through right now.”

In 2010, the National Weather Service said the tornado was Ohio’s strongest in eight years. According to Gilbert, it was the worst ever in Wood County.

The tornado left behind an estimated $100 million in damage and at least 100 homes were destroyed or severely damaged.

For extended coverage on the Oklahoma tornadoes, click here.

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