CRIDERSVILLE — Ned Myers watched the roof of a nearby business fly toward his house. When Wednesday’s storm was all said and done, it left four holes in his roof and a huge mess in his yard.
But it still was a pretty good day for the 83-year-old and his wife, Janice.
“We were lucky. The good Lord is not ready for us,” said Myers, who was trapped after multiple trees hit his house of nearly 60 years and sent the ceiling crashing down.
“It was a good day,” he added Thursday while looking around his property. “Not so good now.”
The village of Cridersville was in clean-up mode Thursday after 80 mph winds came through Wednesday afternoon. The buzz of chainsaws seemed a constant as residents piled tree branches and stumps in their tree lawns for pick up.
Trees were split, utility wires down, and blue tarps covered portions of rooftops. A trampoline remained high in a tree. A church steeple is gone.
“I was just coming home from work and drove into this madness,” Tom Little said Thursday as he and neighbors worked to repair broken windows and clean up his yard. “It looked like every tree in the neighborhood was in our yard.”
The National Weather Service hadn't classified the storm as a tornado late Thursday, but Police Chief John Drake said the evidence was leaning in that direction.Nearly 70 homes and businesses were affected by the storm, Drake said. He said five or six suffered major damage and another three or four likely can’t be repaired.
Reichelderfer and Graham Lumber took one of the worst hits Wednesday. Roofs on two of the buildings were torn off, with pieces scattered around nearby yards.
Damage in eastern Allen County in Maysville near the Hardin County line was caused by “gustnados,” Allen County Emergency Management Agency Director Russ Decker said. The National Weather Service confirmed the cause Thursday afternoon.
Gustnados are associated with shelf clouds on the forward side of a thunderstorm; they can cause damage similar to an F0 or F1 tornado, according to the National Weather Service. They are short-lived shallow vortexes that may extend only 30 to 300 feet above the ground with no apparent connection to clouds above.
“They are these little down-bursts that create some rotation,” Decker said. “That clicks with the damage we see on the ground and our witness reports. They have a lot of power when they hit, even though they’re on the ground a short time.”
No storm-related injuries were reported, except in Cridersville where wind picked up a US. Postal worker and threw him across the street. Drake said the man suffered shoulder injuries, but he did not have any additional information.
The people of Cridersville have been through tough storms before. In November 2010, a tornado with winds of 115 mph touched down there. It was one of two tornadoes to hit Auglaize County. They affected 55 properties, including destroying seven homes and a barn.
“This one was a lot worse,” Little said of the storm that hit just a half a block north of the 2010 tornado. “It is a lot more damaging and a lot more to fix up.”
Wednesday’s wind flipped and threw his motorcycle and blew windows out of the upstairs of Little’s house. Upstairs bedrooms were full of glass, shingles and aluminum siding that had come through the windows. Clothes, shoes and even furniture were flown around the rooms.
“It was like a wind tunnel. The whole interior was a wreck,” he said. “My daughter chased her comforter about two blocks down sitting in a tree.”
David Bowers escaped the 2010 tornado with little damage. That was not the case Wednesday, when a 30-plus foot evergreen tree fell on his roof. The tree had been there 62 years, when his family first moved to the house. The storm pulled the tree roots right out of the ground.
“If not for all the rain lately, I think the tree might have stayed up,” Bowers said.
Residents are asked to put tree branches on the tree lawn and to move debris toward the street for village crews to pick up. Trees also be taken to the parking lot behind the old school; debris can be taken to Tower Park.
Drake said the village plans to have Main Street cleaned up before tonight’s Fireman’s Jamboree. He said residents have been great at helping each other out.
“There were over 100 people down here last night just helping to clean up brush,” he said. “We stick together. We are a little tight knit-community, and we help each other out.”
Reporter Heather Rutz contributed to this report.