Tornado hits Ohio’s Amish country

damaged buggy

This buggy, which was used for display at a bed and breakfast, received heavy damage from the high winds.

By Bruce Stambaugh

Around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 5, 2010, the National Weather Service issued a Tornado Warning for Holmes County, the heart of the world’s largest Amish population.

Sirens sounded as the storm rapidly approached. As a Skywarn spotter, I scanned the sky from the safety of my home. As the rain intensified, the sky looked ominous, and the sirens sounded again. However, it appeared that the worst of the storm had gone south of me. A friend alerted me to possible damage in the Berlin area.

I grabbed my camera, put on my waterproof shoes and headed south. I didn’t get very far. Fallen trees only two miles south of my home blocked the road. The fierce winds had ravaged old-growth woods behind a friend of mine’s home west of Berlin. A few homes were slightly damaged, a shed was completely destroyed and many trees were toppled.

I followed the damage into the west side of Berlin, where again trees were down, some laying in opposite directions. A home had the upper half of a large tree on its roof and the wind sent a limb through the roof of a nearby motel.

The next damage was east of Berlin near Hiland High School. Much of the damage there was from straight-line winds. Roofs were damaged; metal storage buildings buckled and signs were blown onto cars, damaging eight vehicles. Fortunately on one was injured.

Firefighters spotted a funnel cloud west of Walnut Creek, where the first official touchdown was recorded. A large garage at a bed and breakfast was destroyed. The storm continued east-southeast through Walnut Creek Township. A combination of straight-line winds and tornado winds downed trees, and damaged sheds and two houses near Walnut Creek, and then hit metal storage buildings south of Walnut Creek. The tornado touched down again at Gerber Valley Farms on CR 144 southeast of Walnut Creek where it damaged two barns. The tornado did minor damage to a few homes on a township road near the county line.

Once the tornado passed into Tuscarawas County at Sugarcreek, it intensified into an EF-1 tornado, according the Pittsburgh office of the National Weather Service, which has jurisdiction for Tuscarawas County and points east. They estimated the tornado winds at 95 m.p.h.

The tornado did major damage to Skyline Mobile Home Company on SR 93 north and to a home across the road. Several large trees were toppled. From there, the storm hit Uhrden Corporation and Zinck’s Fabric warehouse on the northeast side of Sugarcreek. It crossed the flooded Sugar Creek, causing heavy damage to both the old and new sewer treatment plant buildings of the village. Just east of there it hit a home and caused major damage to Sugarcreek Pallet.

The tornado continued east, striking four homes along SR 39 on the eastern edge of Sugarcreek. All four had roof damage. The tornado crossed SR 39, hit another industrial building and destroyed a large barn on the Lorenz farm south of Dutch Valley Restaurant. At that point, the tornado lifted.

In all, I spent five hours taking pictures. The shots below are representative of the damage that occurred in the path of this storm.

Damaged trees

Old-growth trees were splintered and tossed like sticks west of Berlin, OH.

damaged car

This was one of several cars damaged by a large sign that was blown onto them east of Berlin.

damaged garage

High winds destroyed this garage halfway between Berlin and Walnut Creek, OH.

damaged home at Robert J. Yoder farm.

The tornado hit at the Robert J. Yoder farm near Walnut Creek, OH.

Gerber Valley Farm

Neighbors and workers began replacing the roof of this broiler house near Walnut Creek shortly after the tornado hit.

Skyline Mobile Homes

The tornado buckled the south wall at Skyline Mobile Homes, Sugarcreek, OH.

Inside Skyline

The tornado peeled much of the roof off Skyline Mobile Homes, Sugarcreek, OH.

Uhrden Company

The tornado blew out every wall of the north section of Uhrden Company, Sugarcreek, OH.

flooding at Sugarcreek, OH

Flooding in Sugarcreek, OH was a problem both before and after the tornado hit the buildings in the background and the tree in the water.

Lorenz barn

The tornado destroyed the main barn on the Lorenz farm east of Sugarcreek, OH.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Tornado hits Ohio’s Amish country

  1. Unbelievable destruction! Poor people!

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    • Yes, Suzy, there was a lot of destruction. But it could have been much worse if those factories had had employees in them at the time. Good thing it was a Saturday. Thankfully no one was injured.

      Bruce

      Like

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