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‘Destructive’ tornado slams heavily populated region of Ohio

Updated May 28, 2019 - 4:33 am

BROOKVILLE, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Transportation is using snow plows to remove debris off an Ohio highway after a “large and dangerous” tornado hit the area late Monday.

Transportation spokesman Matt Bruning said its crews are using several plows to scrape debris off to the side of southbound Interstate 75, trying to get the highway reopened as soon as possible. “We’ll do a more thorough cleaning after we get lanes opened,” he told the Associated Press via text early Tuesday. He said tow trucks eventually will have to deal with damaged vehicles along the roadway, too. He said other crews are also clearing debris northwest of Dayton in Mercer and Darke counties. Trying to clear the debris in the middle of the night is a difficult task, complicated by darkness and downed power lines, Bruning said.

The National Weather Service confirmed Monday night that a “large and dangerous tornado” hit near Trotwood, Ohio, 8 miles (12 kilometers) northwest of Dayton.

In Montgomery County, which includes Dayton, Sheriff Rob Streck is asking people to stay off the roads in areas affected by the storm. His office said many roads in those areas are impassable because of damage.

The Montgomery County sheriff’s office initially said the Northridge High School gymnasium would serve as an emergency shelter in Dayton but later said it wasn’t useable.

The service tweeted that the situation was extremely dangerous and for residents in northern Montgomery County to take cover.

It later tweeted that there were new tornado threats for the extreme northern part of the county and southern Miami County with another possible threat near the county line.

Another suspected tornado near Vandalia, Ohio, crossed the path of the first tornado, lifting debris in the air, the service said.

An Indiana town was also heavily damaged by storms, including reports of two tornados.

But Emergency Management spokesman Todd Harmeson said Tuesday morning that, “We do not know at this time if this was a tornado, straight-line winds or what the cause was” of damage in Pendleton, 35 miles (56 kilometers) northeast of Indianapolis.

He said there are several videos floating around that show funnel clouds but that the National Weather Service will make that determination.

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