A line of storms that moved through the Akron area Tuesday unleashed a small tornado over this rural Wayne County farming community south of Orrville, downing half a dozen trees and removing part of the roof of a house on McQuaid Road.
Les Durstine, chief of the Apple Creek-East Union Township Fire Department, estimated the twister touched down about 3:05 p.m. and travelled about 200 feet.
Its visible path could be seen starting in a grassy field northeast of the home, where it churned up the ground before crossing McQuaid, striking the corner of the two-story home, then flattening cornstalks in another field to the southeast. It uprooted a few trees right before the edge of an otherwise-untouched wooded area, where Durstine guessed the twister left the ground.
No one was home when the tornado lifted part of the roof of the home, exposing a bedroom. Damage was estimated at about $80,000.
The family that rents the property declined an interview, but a previous owner of the property said the sight gave him goosebumps.
Sam Hershberger said he lived at the farm for nine years before moving out last summer.
“An old neighbor called and said, ‘You won’t believe this. Your old house just got hit by a tornado,’ ’’ said Hershberger, who now lives in nearby Wooster.
Hershberger said if he were still living at the home, given the time the tornado hit, it’s likely his two children would have been in the house with a babysitter.
He mused how surgical a tornado strike can be. A tree that always had a lean was unaffected by the fierce winds, but straighter trees next to it were completely ripped from the ground. A pine tree in the front of the property broke in two, with the top half carried several feet to a side yard.
On the other side of McQuaid, the ranch home of Emma Siers lost only a few shingles, but she and three family members were home and watched the funnel cloud form.
“We were in the house when we heard hail,” Siers said. The family ran into the back yard to tie down a trampoline when they saw a finger-shaped cloud reach down and start tearing up the field behind their house.
“We ran to the basement,” she said. “We didn’t hear anything, so after a while we came back up and looked around. Trash was all over, and then we saw the house across the street.”
Her son-in-law Adam Shilling caught a brief snippet of the tornado forming on his cellphone.
“When I saw trees coming up, I thought, uh-oh, that’s a tornado,” he said, and reached for his camera phone.
By Paula Schleis - Akron Beacon Journal (MCT)
©2013 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)
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