News Herald from Port Clinton, Ohio on November 11, 2002 · 6
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News Herald from Port Clinton, Ohio · 6

Port Clinton, Ohio
Issue Date:
Monday, November 11, 2002
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A6 SPECIAL REPORT News Herald, Port Clinton, Ohio, Monday, November 11,2002 if . ... r""'irhh ' " - - . 1 S t -.ftiM ' -v Associated Press A car was tossed into front-row seats at the Twin Cinema in Van Wert, Ohio, when tornadoes touched down-there. wf teiGDo 'I heard a roar ...I saw a black wall ... It was coming right at me' Associated Press VAN WERT, Ohio - People caught in the path of a storm that spawned multiple tornadoes while knifing through northern Ohio and killing five people called it the black wall and the monster. The storm entered the state from Indiana about 3 p.m. Sunday, with National Weather Service spotters confirming four tornadoes hitting this town about 100 miles northwest of Columbus. The storm that packed more than 100 mph winds dropped other tornadoes as it cut a 100-mile swath through northwest Ohio farmland to Port Clinton along Lake Erie, trapping people in buildings and leaving thousands without power. Gov. Bob Taft declared a state of emergency Sunday night in Van Wert and Ottawa counties in northwest Ohio, but the storms downed power lines, closed roads and poured golf ball-sized hail in many areas of the state. Two deaths were reported in Van Wert County. Nicholas Mollenkopf, 18, of Van Wert, died after being thrown from a car during the storm, and Alfred Germann, 75, was killed when his Van Wert house collapsed. In nearby Putnam County, two people were killed and one critically injured when a mobile home overturned, said Sgt. Brad Nelson of the sheriffs office. Denver and Cretie Branham died in the trailer near Continental, and their daughter, Margie, was in critical condition at a nearby hospital, the sheriff's office said. As the storm moved east, a house collapsed in Seneca County, killing one -A2ti:' Associated Press A neighbor helps to clear Road E of debris from Nathan and Tegan Huff's mobile home after the home was destroyed by a tornado near Continental, Ohio, Suftday. person inside and injuring two others, said Maj. Tim Thwaits of the Seneca County sheriffs office. Deputies were withholding the name of the person killed in the house collapse near, Republic until faniily is notified. Brian Farris of Van Wert said he saw a tornado touch down just outside of the city and level a house. "It pulled everything off, set it down, then threw it in a field," he said. "It was on the ground at least a mile." Jon Cross, 39, was packing his cruiser to go to work as a State Highway Patrol trooper when the churning storm came at him. "I heard a roar. I saw a black wall. I could see everything spinning. It was coming right at me," he said. A young couple pulled up to his house in their car, and they all took shelter in his basement, Cross said. Earlier Sunday, severe storms killed at least five and injured more than two dozen people in Tennessee. Storms with possible tornadoes swept through rural southern Illinois and into adjoining Indiana. In Van Wert, firefighters had to cut through steel to reach a trapped worker in a collapsed building at an industrial park. All schools in Van Wert County were to be closed Monday, officials said. Lt. Gov. Maureen O'Connor planned to tour the most heavily damaged sec tion of Van Wert County on Monday where sections of a five-screen movie theater collapsed. The state of emergency declaration authorizes state agencies to assist local officials. Some of the cinema's customers were evacuated, while others laid in the aisles of the theaters in the center of the building. No of them were injured. Emergency officials in numerous Ohio counties reported widespread damage to barns, homes and businesses. About 21,000 American Electric Power customers were without power in central Ohio on Sunday night, the company said. Thousands more homes and businesses were out in northwest Ohio, including most of the city of Port Clinton and scattered outages in Toledo suburbs, FirstEnergy Corp. spokesman Mark Durbin said. Based on past experience with such storms, restoration in some areas "could be stretching into days," Durbin said. About 40 miles northeast of Van Wert in Hamler, the storm knocked rail cars off their track, the Henry County sheriff s office said. In Port Clinton along Lake Erie, the storm shattered windows at Magruder Memorial Hospital, including in the emergency room, said hospital president Dave Norwine. No one inside the hospital was injured, although people in town were coming in for treatment, Norwine said. Winds also toppled a tractor-trailer on Interstate 75 just south of Toledo. . . '";. . . " ' nmmut H Associated Press Jennifer Patrick, 13, watches the flurry of activity as friends and relatives sift through the wreckage of a trailer park on Wooten Johnson Road, Sunday in Covington, Tenn. Covington residents surfaced Sunday morning to assess damage after a brutal tornado hit, taking out trees and mobile homes along the way. Port Clinton firefighters miss own party News Herald reports PORT CLINTON Sunday night was the Port Clinton Fire Department's annual Feather Party. It's the volunteer department's main annual fund-raiser, but before the department could get things going at 6:30 p.m. at the department at the corner of East Second and Adams streets, firefighters had to get going on events around the city. The 40-plus volunteer firefighters found themselves fighting downed power lines, gas leaks and a fire they believe was caused by the massive storm cell that raged through Ottawa County Sunday night. "It's our big fund-raiser," said Lt. Kent Johnson, who wasn't sure if the depart-ment will reschedule the event. "We were hoping to raise a lot we're trying to purchase thermal imaging (equipment)." Tennessee, Alabama Associated Press CLARKSVfLLE, Tenn. -Devastating tornadoes ripped through Alabama, Tennessee and Ohio on Sunday, killing at least 16 people, trapping others in damaged buildings and leaving thousands without power, authorities said. The toll included at least six deaths in Alabama, five in Tennessee and five in Ohio. Dozens were injured, and authorities expected the number of victims to grow as they pick through the damage scattered across the region. One of the hardest-hit areas was Mossy Grove, a tiny town about 40 miles west of Knoxville where a tornado touched down at about 10 p.m. "It's mass destruction, death," said Ken Morgan, an officer in nearby Oliver Springs. "Mossy Grove is destroyed ... We're just getting bits and pieces right now, but there are several dead and several missing." Much of the damage was initially believed to be concentrated in Tennessee and Ohio, but reports began to emerge late Sunday that devastating storms had struck Alabama as well. At least six people were killed in the northern part of the state, and at at least 26 others were injured. The storms caused 25 injuries in Tennessee, and at least 21 were injured in Ohio, where a weather spotter saw at least four twisters hit rural northwestern Van Wert County. "It could have been a real tragedy," Snyder said. "We consider ourselves very lucky." People fled their homes to seek shelter in the basement of a convenience store and in a high school. "I looked up and this big pine tree was coming right at me," said Larry Longwell, who ran from his trailer to the store. "It was just a rumble." Tens of thousands of homes were without power throughout the region. Earlier Sunday in middle Tennessee, Steven Graves and his wife survived after wind rolled their Sumner County mobile home 50 feet. "The trailer bounced over and I told my wife we ought to get in the closet, and before we could get out of bed it started rolling. I just can remember it rolling for what seemed like forever," he told WSMV-TV of Nashville. "I could feel the trailer crumbling apart and I remember thinking I was going to die," said Graves, who suffered minor injuries. His wife was treated and released from a hospital. The Tennessee storms cut a path similar to tornadoes that devastated Clarksville and Jackson in 1999, killing 10 people, injuring 110 and damaging or destroying more than 2,100 buildings. Storm damage was also reported in Illinois, West Virginia and Alabama.

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