The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado with winds up to 125 mph struck parts of Perrysburg and Lake townships, Northwood, and Oregon during a strong thunderstorm Sunday evening.
The preliminary report from the weather service office in Cleveland said the twister formed near Lime City Road and U.S. 20 in Perrysburg Township and reached a strength of EF-2 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale near Oregon Road and State Rt. 795, where a convenience store was damaged.
The tornado continued northeast at weaker strengths before regaining EF-2 strength in Oregon, where several houses were destroyed.
Overall, the tornado traveled 12 miles over a period of about 20 minutes before dissipating near Corduroy and Wynn roads in Oregon.
The weather service also confirmed that an EF-1 tornado touched down and traveled east and northeast for about a mile along Jerry City Road in southern Wood County, damaging several houses. A third tornado, also an EF-1, first touched down about three miles east of Elmore in Ottawa County at 6 p.m. Sunday. It was on the ground for less than a mile, first touching down near Yeasting Road and State Rt. 590.
The EF-1 designation means the tornado's winds were estimated between 86 mph and 110 mph.
It was not clear from the report if the EF-2 tornado was believed to be responsible for the destruction of one of two movie screens at the Sundance Kid Drive-In on Navarre Avenue in Oregon, which would have been at least close to the twister's path if not along it.
Jim Walter, president of the company that the drive-in, said today he was out of town when he got news from an employee that the strong winds had blown down one of the outdoor theater screens.
"They got the surprise of their life," said Mr. Walter, of The Great Eastern Theater Co.
PHOTO GALLERY: Storm damage
Mr. Walter said the toppled theater tower was original to the drive-in, which was built in the 1950s.
There are plans to rebuild, Mr. Walter said.
"We like the drive-in business," Mr. Walter said. "We'll stay in it as long as we can."
Five student athletes at Owens Community College were looking outside their front window at Owens Lake Commons apartments in Perrysburg Township when they saw the storm in the distance Sunday night.
That storm caved in their brick apartment above their second floor, blew out the front door, the window they were looking out of, and collapsed the awning at the front door. All the student athletes, who are on the golf team, are OK.
"They were on the lowest level in the bathroom and rode it out," Owens Athletic Director Rudy Yovich said today. "They are shaken up right now."
The students told Mr. Yovich there was a change in air pressure they've never felt before.
Early today, after a contractor said the building was stable enough to return to, the students went inside to retrieve their personal belongs. Owens Lake Commons is providing a temporary living arrangement elsewhere.
Owens Community College's Perrysburg Township location received minor damage. A parking lot light toppled over and was destroyed. And there is "minor cosmetic damage" to the front siding of the Center of Fine and Performing Arts Center.
"Considering the damage around us, we feel fortunate that the college didn't have more damage," Owens spokesman Jared Meade said. "We are thinking of our neighbors and area businesses as they incurred much greater damages and losses."
Power was restored early today at Owens and there were no delays or cancellations with school.
Employees at utility companies in the region worked around the clock to restore power to the thousands of employees left without power Sunday night.
AEP Ohio reported mid-morning today that approximately 7,800 customers remained without power, down from the 33,500 customers without power at the height of the storm.
The hardest hit areas in northwest Ohio were Paulding and Lima, Ohio. The The majority of customers still without power are in the company’s Paulding service area, AEP Ohio reported.
Most of Toledo Edison's remaining 5,100 outages are in northern Wood County, said spokesman Hans Rosebrock.
Power should be restored to most customers by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday; the hardest-hit areas could be out until Wednesday evening, Mr. Rosebork said.
At the peak of the storm, 24,000 Toledo Edison customers were without power.
Areas that were hardest hit in northwest Ohio included Perrysburg Township, where at least seven buildings in Cedar Park, a industrial and business park near Rt. 795 and Oregon Road, were damaged and in Putnam County, where the roof of the rectory of St. Barbara’s Catholic Church in Cloverdale, Ohio, was peeled off.
The American Red Cross said today it is assisting the residents of 14 homes in Cloverdale. Ten of the homes were destroyed, three incurred major damage, and one had minor damage. The Red Cross did not have breakdown of adults and children who are being helped.
The agency is also providing on site meals at a shelter located at Oak Haven Residential Center, 125 Main St., in Cloverdale. Mobile feeding is also being provided through its Emergency Response Vehicle throughout the Cloverdale and Dupont communities.
The Ohio Department of Transportation said today that several roads in the Perrysburg Township and Oregon areas will stay closed until further notice because of downed power lines. Those roads include: State Rt. 199 between Five Point and Roachton roads and Wales Road between Broadway and Droulliard roads.
No tornado reports were confirmed, the National Weather Service in Cleveland said. However, most of the state was under a tornado watch for most of the day and into the night on Sunday.
A gas leak forced the evacuation of buildings at Cedar Park, but no one was killed or seriously injured, Perrysburg Township Fire Chief Tom Brice said.
"We have got significant damage to structures in the Cedar Park business district. Some of the buildings are completely destroyed from the assessment that I got. We also got several homes damaged in the Starbright subdivision on State Rt. 795 and Oregon Road,” Chief Brice said.
Chris Kozak, spokesman for Columbia Gas of Ohio, said service to the seven buildings in the business park was shut off as was service to three homes nearby.
A duplex in Jerry City was destroyed during the severe weather Sunday night. Two homes near the residence on the corner of Main Street and Huffman Road also were damaged, a fire official said.
Four people who were inside the duplex were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. One of those transported was a child. About eight people were inside at the time of the storm.
Only two walls remained at the duplex, Cygnet Fire Capt. Chris Rayle said. Officials were working to determine how the residence was damaged, he said.
Ahead of the storm, the Toledo Zoo announced plans to close at 5 p.m. because of the potential for severe weather. Plans call for the zoo to resume normal hours today with the zoo reopening at 10 a.m.
Sally Oberski, Diocese of Toledo spokesman, said St. Barbara Church in Cloverdale may have been slightly damaged, but the rectory incurred extensive damage. She said no one was living in the rectory, recently used to house an elderly priest.
In Oregon, several homes on Lallendorf Road near Seaman Road sustained damage and an awning on the Meijer at Wheeling Street and Curtice Roads blew off and went onto the store’s roof, where it poked holes and caused flooding in the store, Oregon Fire Chief Ed Ellis said. Oregon City Schools cancelled classes today, as did Perrysburg and Rossford.
Staff writers Taylor Dungjen, Matt Thompson, Mark Reiter, Janet Romaker, David Patch and Kris Turner contributed to this report.