Twisters blast Cincy suburbs

BY GEORGE PIPER | MONTGOMERY, OH | April 9, 1999


MONTGOMERY, OH (April 9, 1999) -- Two affluent Cincinnati suburbs lie

partially in ruin Friday after an early morning tornado leveled 25 homes,

killing at least one person and injuring more than a two dozen.

The deadly twister continued a two-day national pattern of destruction as

four other states reported tornadoes on Thursday.

Residents in the Montgomery and Blue Ash communities on Cincinnati's

northeast side were shaken from their beds around 4:30 a.m. by the storm

system. The lone death occurred when the storm lifted an automobile and

slammed it into a retaining wall on Interstate 71. Half-million dollar homes

and two shopping centers are among the structural damage according to early

reports.

The Cincinnati-area Salvation Army has three mobile canteens and counselors

in the affected areas, said area coordinator Maj. Philip DeMichael. The

Cincinnati-based Chiquita Company is donating juice, while Kroger Foods has

offered food and will be collecting cleaning supplies, said DeMichael,

noting that offers have been pouring in all morning.

The amount of relief needed in the area is still uncertain, said George T.

Siddall Jr., a Church World Service disaster resources consultant living in

Cincinnati. Homes in the $350,000 to $600,000 range are common in the Blue

Ash and Montgomery areas hit by the storm, and there is a lower income

community just west of Montgomery that may also have been affected, Siddall

said.

At Lakeview United Church of Christ, located near the disaster area, Pastor

Dave Schwab said his congregation apparently came through the storm okay,

but noted that two Baptist churches suffered damage. He expects local

churches to be involved in some way as relief efforts become organized, and

added that the spirit of volunteerism is already strong.

In the meantime, he is working with local United Church of Christ members to

organize cleanup teams. Siddall, who lives just four miles from the disaster

area, spent early morning hours huddled in his basement listening to a

weather radio.

But Ohio wasn't the only state to feel nature's wrath as storms raged across

the country on Thursday.

One elderly woman died when a suspected tornado struck a mobile home park in

Ashland, IL. Three others were injured. The scene was similar scene in

Cisco, where a woman died and three others were injured when strong winds

destroyed a farmhouse.

Tornadoes destroyed farm buildings and equipment and downed power lines near

Pittsfield, while twisters in Janesville and near Charleston caused minor

damage. Strong winds also blew down mobile homes and knocked out power

throughout central Illinois. In Missouri, Fifty homes in between Eugene and

Wardsville in Cole County were damaged, but no injuries were reported. A

tornado blew the roofs of two homes destroyed a grain bin in Novelty.

Also in Missouri, a home was destroyed in Linn by a twister. In Midway, at

least two people suffered injuries as tornadoes damaged homes and downed

several trees and power lines, while in nearby Hallsville, three buildings

sustained damage. Twisters damaged several homes in Louisiana and

Lewistown, where a man was carried two blocks in his pickup truck.

Officials reported several farm structures destroyed in Lewis County.

Several twisters tore across the Iowa landscape and leveled rural structures

in its path. Meanwhile, farm buildings bore the brunt of tornadoes in four

Nebraska communities when midday twisters hit the Cornhusker State.

Posted April 9, 1999


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