The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on October 2, 1977 · Page 15
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The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · Page 15

Cincinnati, Ohio
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 2, 1977
Page 15
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THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, Sunday, October 1977. A-15 YoiiDo Everything You Can To He 9 j. wq&iW' w'v WSW f tt'W-w t5y vvf"(: 1 S X " i"l "W T V " WTOW'W' ? J, "ViW . iiv- 44, X- lit. - X J, u! i"?"., vL IS I, 4-r -'n .jess: , 'I Enquirer photos BY FRED STRAUB HER HOME In ruins In the ' .'; 1 background, Mrs. Wllma Seltz Is escorted by a relative and two Mack Volunteer firemen. When the tornado struck, she ran In her , nightgown to a neighbor's home : for help In locating two of her chllden, who were trapped in the home. ' ' Test Of Warning System To Follow Mixup : BY JOHN KIESEWETTER Enquirer Reporter Civil Defense Director Llore Macca- rone hopes to hear 125 storm-warn-; lng sirens wall throughout Cincinnati and Hamilton County at noon ' today. Maccarone and many residents didn't hear the sirens Saturday morning until It was far too late a , tornado spotted in Western Hamilton County already had moved out of the county. So he personally will turn the switch at the Cincinnati ; Fire Tower in Eden Park for a special one-minute test at noon. What went wrong Saturday morning? "The only thing I can attribute it to Is a power outage," said Maccarone, director of Disaster Preparedness and Civil Defense for Hamilton County. He said wires connecting the system might have been out of service at 7 a.m., when Fire Tower dispatchers said they hit the switch, although a Cincinnati Oas & Elec- . trie Co. spokesman refused to accept that reasoning Saturday evening. ; MACCARONE, WHO set up the strategy to warn everyone In the ; county of Impending dangerous storms, said everything went ac- ; cording to "the plan." Fire dispatch ers and the National Weather Service agreed. The Weather Service declared a "tornado warning" shortly before 7 a.m., called WCKY radio to Initiate the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS), and sent a bulletin by message wire to the Cincinnati Fire Tower and other area police and fire agencies. Weather service officials also called the Fire Tower on the telephone. Fire dispatchers called Maccarone at home. Maccarone said he immediately asked: "Have you set the sirens off?" Dispatchers, he said, responded: "Yes, they are going now." If they were sounded, few heard them, Including Maccarone. Most persons did not hear the warnings until after Maccarone dressed, got in his car, drove from his Coleraln Township home to his office near Drake Hospital, Hartwell, and activated the sirens from there. That was nearly 45 minutes after a tornado ripped up about 25 homes in Green Township. WHAT WENT wrong Saturday? Vincent Qrote, director of the city's civilian dispatchers for the Cincinnati Fire Department, also wanted to know. He told essentially the same story as Maccarone. Dispatchers Joseph Jones and Robert Slmms, two minutes before their shift change, got the word from the Weather Service. They opened a glass-covered case, read the Instructions and dialed a code, one man watching the other, said Grote. "They did it, just according to the plan, and It didn't work," Qrote said. "These are experienced men. They can read instructions. I have no reason to doubt their story." The dispatchers also called Maccarone, who realized soon this wasn't going to be his day. A few minutes later, his son, Ken, called. Ken, who lives on Seville Court, Green Township, told dad his neighbor's house was Just leveled by a tornado. SO MACCARONE hustled to Hartwell. It was 7:40 a.m. He flipped on the sirens anyway, "since we were still in a tornado warning system" declared by the weather service. That is why most people in the county said they heard the sirens at approximately 7:45. Maccarone said he hopes to find out why so few per-sons heard them earlier, particularly since the system has been expanded after tornados struck Greater Cincinnati on April 3, 1974. In Green Township, an area heavily damaged in 1974, trustees voted a year later to buy three warning devices. Based on reports Saturday afternoon, Maccarone said sirens "went off In some parts," but not along the Green Township rldgetop or other places. A CG&E spokesman said line crews were called out for power outages reported as early as 2:30 a.m., well beore the tornado blew through Hamilton County. But the spokesman wouldn't buy Macca-rone's theory, at least just yet. "IT'S CONJECTURE at this time. In the Interest of being accurate, we can't say definitely there was a power failure. Of course, if there was no electricity, the horns won't blow," the spokesman said. Usually the sirens would be tested at noon this Wednesday the first Wednesday of the month. Maccarone said he cannot wait until then to test the system, a good system, In his opinion. "The sirens will be activated Sunday at noon from the Fire Tower, to see if they work, with a special test for one minute," he said. "I myself will do It." Tornados Appear To Have Their 'Favorite Paths' BY JOHN W. CHACE Assistant City Editor GREEN TWP.-Llke children run- ning through neighbors' backyards, tornados "seem to have favorite paths." Greater Cincinnati's chief meteorologistJohn Roblnson-said Saturday it is apparently more than a coincidence that three tornados have struck In the same section of this Western Hamilton County township in the last three years. "The topography probably has a lot to do with it," he said, pointing out the area is very hilly and has some of the highest elevations in Hamilton County. "It's the same thing to the south of the city in the Owenton and Grant County area in Kentucky." Besides the tornados breaking out in the same general area, the heaviest rainfall with almost every storm has been occurring in that area and in the north part of the city, and then in the section about midway between Cincinnati and Lexington, he continued. THE FIRST of the three torna-dos-on April 3, 1974 did much of its damage in the' South Road-Dent area of Green Township and then dissipated In the Monfort Heights-White Oak area. The second one-on September 11, 1975 first touched down in the vicinity of LaSalle High School in Monfort Heights and then struck along the townshlp-Mt. Airy border line. The tornado Saturday touched down just west of Monfort Heights. The twister was the first ever to occur In Greater Cincinnati in October. "We've never had a tornado in the months of October, November or December," Robinson said. "These things Just aren't supposed to happen this late in the year in this area. There usually isn't this type of moisture and instability (unstable air) at this time of the year." Prior to Saturday, the only tornado that had struck the Greater Cincinnati area later In the year than early August was the one In September of 1975, Robinson said. - s 1 . ,s: H i jt 4h ' 9 . DISHEVELED DOG and master, B J and owner Jane McElroy, huddle In blankets in the early morning hours. w ..... NEIGHBORS, FAMILY gather to survey damage and console one another at the Dale McElroy residence, 5524 Seville Ct, one of 15 homes damaged in this fashionable Green township subdivison. With another dozen homes destroyed, county end township officials estimated damage more than $2 million.

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