Same Storm was Tracked Live by VIPIR

Van Wert Tornado Confirmed

By Peter Neumann

May 26, 2011 Updated May 26, 2011 at 6:31 PM EDT

VAN WERT, Oh. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado touched down near Van Wert Wednesday afternoon.

The storm that produced the tornado was tracked all afternoon by Indiana's NewsCenter and Pinpoint Vipir HD. Chief Meteorologist Curtis Smith, who was providing special weather coverage,on the networks of Indiana's NewsCenter, showed rotation within the same storm as it was still to the west in Indiana. and who warned of its potential danger.

The official confirmation of the tornado came in this press release from Rick McCoy, Van Wert County's Emergency Management Director:

"The National Weather Service at Northern Indiana has confirmed that a tornado with EF-0 damage struck on the North side of the City of Van Wert on Wednesday afternoon, May 25 at 3:27pm. The tornado length was two tenths of a mile long and 40 yards wide.

Emergency Management and witness reports state that the Tornado was only on the ground on Kear Road for just a number of seconds but damaged six high tension power poles and lines. Power for restored to approx. 1,000 customers Thursday morning at 6:00am and the industries affected in the area.

There was also some light damage to several trees and an apartment complex along Kear Road. This is the second Tornado to hit Van Wert County this week after Weather Service personnel confirms an EF-1 tornado on Monday south of the Village of Ohio City. EMA Director Rick McCoy advises this brings the number of tornadoes to 4 already confirmed this year and it is still very early in the severe weather season.

According to local EMA reports, the County had already been placed under a tornado watch and McCoy was tracking storm development in Indiana when the Wednesday Tornado hit. He advised the 3:27pm storm cell popped up unexpectedly before the strong storms actually hit later in the afternoon. This cell had no indications of producing anything and suddenly produced a rotating wall cloud and the tornado dropped out and struck.

Unfortunately I was not able to put a weather statement out on the storm or activate sirens because it happened so quickly, he said. This is why people should always monitor weather conditions closely particularly on a day when severe weather is expected and they should be ready to act quickly if a storm becomes severe without advanced warning.

McCoy said the next round of severe weather came at 4:33pm when the National Weather Service issued a Tornado Warning for the Western half of Van Wert County. The radar was indicating a severe thunderstorm with strong rotation in Adams County moving NE at 35 mph. Storm spotters had already been put into place for the storm and was watching skies to the southwest as the severe cell approached. The EMA Director also had direct radio contact the area school bus drivers informing them of the possibility of a tornado heading into the County. Bus drivers then took emergency precautions by stopping buses and taking students into local homes.

McCoy said he commends our area school district officials and bus drivers for staying informed on the storms and making good safety decisions for the local children. McCoy advised that he had previously contacted the schools who were delayed an extra hour from school dismissal because of the 3 hour school delay earlier in the morning from dense fog. He advised the schools that storms were tracking NE into Ft. Wayne and the timing of storms would allow buses to complete their routes before storms came into the county. McCoy said that the Adams County tornadic storm suddenly made a right turn heading directly east moving towards Van Wert and buses then had to take emergency precautions.

The Tornado warning was eventually extended for the Eastern half of Van Wert County at 5:00pm and sirens were sounded and warning statements given. The EMA Director advised that no additional damagedwas reported but did state that several gustnadoes were observed on St Rt 81 in the Eastern part of the County and also one south of Venedocia.

A gustnado which looks like a tornado and has strong rotating winds form from the ground up unlike the tornado which comes out of a cloud base. Gustnadoes are on the leading edge of a fast moving storm and are capable of producing damage similar to tornadoes. The main problem with Wednesdays storms which continued into the night not only included hail up to ping pong size and strong winds but the torrential rains which plagued the already saturated grounds across the county.

McCoy said 2.26 inches of rain fell Wednesday afternoon and evening in Van Wert bringing rainfall totals for the month in the City to 6.73 inches. There are other areas of the County which has now received between 8 and 9 inches for the month with May normally averaging 3.75 inches."

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