Evidence Convinces Weather Officials That Van Wert County Belted By Tornado

By Maureen Mespell
By Scott Sarvay
By Jeff Neumeyer

May 24, 2011 Updated Nov 1, 2013 at 3:08 AM EDT

OHIO CITY, Ohio (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - Hit by a twister.

More than a dozen properties in Van Wert County sustained damage from a tornado that cut a path near Ohio City.

The mess left behind gave weather officials clues about the source of the damage.

The two ends of a pole barn owned by Jeff Clouse south of Ohio City were blown out by the high winds.

Clouse, who was home at the time, didn't hesitate to run for cover.

Jeff Clouse/Storm Victim: " You know, I knew a storm was coming and I kept looking out to the west, and I saw it hit the neighbor's down there first, and I headed for the basement."

It hit the neighbor’s property like a hammer.

An old barn to the side of Jeff and Kari Smith’s house was left in shambles by the storm.

Jeff Smith herded his wife and children to their basement.

Jeff Smith/Struck by Tornado: " We were there for maybe two minutes, and then the barn, parts of the barn, hit the house and broke windows and glass."

Kari Smith/Storm Victim: " We never heard the sound of a train, like a lot of people do, but our ears...The air pressure was playing quite a bit of havoc on our ears, but we just thank God that everybody is safe."

The Smiths say as many as a hundred people came to their aid, helping with a cleanup that will last several days.

Jeff Neumeyer: " There were big beams from the barn driven down in the ground to a depth of four feet. That's just about all the National Weather Service people needed to see to know what happened."

" We have a confirmed tornado," said Jeff Logsdon with Northern Indiana’s National Weather Service office.

Logsdon said it appears to have been an “EF0” or “EF1” strength tornado, with wind speeds under 100 miles an hour.

That's on the milder side, but it was plenty strong enough.

Storm spotters reported a rotating wall cloud to emergency management officials.

Rick McCoy/Van Wert Co. Emergency Mgt.: " And it moved in an easterly direction for approximately four miles on the ground before it lifted. It cut a path about 100 yards wide."

It was not the same complex of storms, but there was some connection to the weather system that devastated Joplin Missouri this past week-end.

Jeff Logsdon/NWS Northern Indiana: " On the larger scale, it was the same weather system, and that's just going to be hanging around, and we'll have another round Wednesday."

There were no injuries related to the Van Wert County storms.

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