Tornadoes hit Ohio’s Amish country again

Secrest Garden by Bruce Stambaugh

The entrance to the Secrest Garden and Arboretum after the tornado.

By Bruce Stambaugh

For the second time this summer, tornadoes caused significant damage in Ohio’s Amish country.

Shortly before 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 16 a powerful tornado touched down on the south edge of Wooster, Ohio along Prairie Lane. The tornado, which the National Weather Service rated an EF2, proceeded east destroying businesses and homes, and crossed Madison Ave. onto the campus of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, a division of The Ohio State University.

The tornado caused extensive damage to campus buildings, including some historical homes used as offices. It also destroyed the machine shop and heavily damaged parts of Secrest Garden and Arboretum, where many people love to walk and relax among the roses, ornamental shrubs and old age trees. The tornado clipped off dozens of the huge trees 20 to 30 feet above the ground.

The Wooster Twp. Fire chief reported that only one person was slightly injured. But she refused transport to the hospital.

The tornado continued on an east northeast path destroying and damaging several other homes and farm buildings. It did considerable damage to the Riceland Golf Course on U.S. 30 south of Orrville. Altogether, the NWS reported that the tornado was on the ground for 12 miles and reached wind speeds of 130 m.p.h. It left a path of destruction 200 yards wide.

Around 6 p.m., an EF1 tornado hit near the rural town of Farmerstown, Ohio in Holmes County about 25 miles south of Wooster. Several homes and barns were destroyed or damaged there. But again, no one was injured, although some farm animals had to be put down. The tornado was on the ground for three miles and reached a maximum speed of 100 m.p.h. It ranged from 50 to 75 yards wide.

As a Skywarn severe weather spotter for north central Holmes County, the Cleveland office of the National Weather Service asked me to photograph the damage at the OARDC. This was prior to knowing of the tornado in Holmes County. No tornado warning was issued for Holmes County.

I arrived at the OARDC shortly before 7 p.m., which left me a little more than a half an hour to take pictures before dark. I shot as many pictures as I could, but due to darkness, was unable to make it entirely around the campus. As I walked back to my car, parked in the arboretum a half mile east of the damaged OARDC buildings, I cut through open fields. I found several places where debris had hit the ground, leaving large gouges in the fields and grass.

The first tornado of the summer hit Holmes County and continued into Tuscarawas County on June 5. The EF1 and EF2 tornado caused extensive damage along its 10 mile path.

A gallery of some of my shots at the OARDC is shown below. Information about the Farmerstown tornado can be found here: http://www.holmescountyjournal.com/.

brick house by Bruce Stambaugh

Trees were snapped and the old Rice House heavily damaged at the OARDC in Wooster, Ohio.

damaged OARDC building by Bruce Stambaugh

One of the many OARDC buildings destroyed by the tornado

View of damaged OARDC building by Bruce Stambaugh

Another view of the building shown above.

Debris and stripped trees at the OARDC by Bruce Stambaugh

Debris and stripped trees at the OARDC.

Large trees down by Bruce Stambaugh

The tornado toppled large trees on the OARDC campus.

The OARDC's machine shop was heavily damaged by the tornado.

The OARDC's machine shop was heavily damaged by the tornado.

Machine shop destroyed by Bruce Stambaugh

Following the tornado's path to the machine shop at the OARDC.

Damage at the OARDC by Bruce Stambaugh

Damaged farm equipment and trees at the OARDC.

More damage around the machine shop by Bruce Stambaugh

More damage around the machine shop at the OARDC.

Another destroyed building at the OARDC by Bruce Stambaugh

Another destroyed building at the OARDC.

Destroyed machine shop by Bruce Stambaugh

The destroyed machine shop at the OARDC.

Debris littered the OARDC campus by Bruce Stambaugh

Debris from the tornado littered the OARDC campus.

OARDC police station by Bruce Stambaugh

Damage was extensive at the building that housed the campus police station.

The agricultural engineer building by Bruce Stambaugh

The agricultural engineering building was destroyed.

Rose garden by Bruce Stambaugh

The OARDC rose garden was heavily damaged.

4 Comments

Filed under article, photography

4 responses to “Tornadoes hit Ohio’s Amish country again

  1. David Wiesenberg

    Thanks, Bruce for your coverage. Carol and I were on the OARDC campus about 5:50 and were stunned by the destruction, but also knew we should leave. A very beautiful and significant place for us much ravaged.

    with warm regards,
    —David

    Like

  2. Wow. The destruction is terrible. Thank you for the story and the photos.

    Like

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