10th Anniversary of Van Wert Tornado

By Eric Dutkiewicz


6 photos

November 10, 2012 Updated Nov 2, 2013 at 12:06 PM EDT

VAN WERT, Ohio (www.incnow.tv) - A decade has passed since an F4 tornado ripped through Van Wert, Ohio. Four people across Northwest Ohio died in the storms that left $50 million dollars in damage.

On Sun., Nov. 10, 2002, dangerous storms moved their way across the mid-section of the country, and into the viewing area. Van Wert County Emergency Management officials say prior to the tornado hitting Van Wert, and F0 tornado passed through Blackford County, Ind. and an F3 tornado was spotted in Adams County, Ind.

Around 3:30 p.m., a powerful F4 tornado touched down near the movie theater complex in Van Wert, packing winds up to 260 miles per hour. The tornado built up to a half-mile wide, and stayed on the ground for 29 minutes, emergency management director Rick McCoy says.

One of the strongest twisters in U.S. history, the Van Wert tornado destroyed nearly 50 homes; debris from scattered as far away as 130 miles.

But McCoy stresses that people heading warnings saved many more lives.

"This is a strong community," McCoy says. "People work together and look after each other. When the warnings were issued, folks were contacting friends, relatives, neighbors making sure everyone knew the tornado was coming."

In the months and years that followed, Van Wert Emergency Management agency has received numerous national awards for their storm preparations, warning system and readiness.

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