DARKE COUNTY — A line of severe thunderstorms made their way through the Miami Valley on Saturday evening.
Two tornados were spotted in the state; one in Eastern Darke County, south of Gettysburg and Bradford and another in Northern Delaware County, in the vicinity of Delaware State Park.
“Based on eyewitness reports and dual-polarization radar data, it is believed that tornadoes were responsible for the damage in both of these locations,” confirmed the National Weather Service (NWS) in Wilmington.
Around 6 p.m. severe weather began hitting the area prompting emergency crews to be on alert.
At the Darke County Fairgrounds, emergency personnel were telling Junior Fair participants in the animal barns to seek shelter in the Coliseum building. One fire department official stated that funnel clouds were spotted over the fairgrounds, but Greenville sirens never went off.
According to Darke County Emergency Management Director Mindy Saylor, Greenville, where the fairgrounds are located, was never part of a tornado warning from the NWS.
Damage from the storm occurred to a farm at 5267 Gettysburg-Pitsburg Road, south of Gettysburg, where it is believed a tornado hit. The severe weather destroyed a man’s property, but left his house standing.
“First thing coming through my mind … looked like a bomb went off,” said property owner Gene Garber.
For Garber the damage was devastating.
“Just got a phone call. Came home as quick as I could. It’s a mess,” Garber said.
Heavy winds and rains pounded the area destroying his insulation business.
“It’s amazing,” Garber said.
Severe weather overturned his box truck and heavy machinery, ripped his barn to shreds, and demolished crops.
Gettysburg Fire Chief Tom Hill said he believes damage is estimated at $60,000-$70,000. Hill was at the Darke County Fair when he got the call.
“The property damage we have is the barn here and the contents, but we have crop damage for about four and a half miles,” Hill said.
But the chief said it could have been much worse.
“There was no damage to the house. That was good,” Hill said.
“I’m just glad I wasn’t hurt or anybody else wasn’t hurt,” Garber said.
After the storm, a rainbow beamed brightly over the path of destruction Mother Nature left.
According to the NWS, teams were planning to conduct ground surveys Sunday to confirm the tornadoes and determine details regarding the magnitude and location of damage. No injuries were reported.
— WDTN contributed to this story