RICHLAND TWP. – Heavy storm damage was reported Thursday evening in the small rural community of Dawn as a fast-moving storm system passed through the area toppling trees and power lines as well as causing structural damage to a privately owned grain storage facility.
At approximately 11:15 p.m., deputies from the Darke County Sheriff’s Office along with the Ansonia Fire Department responded to the report from a CSX crew of a possible large structure blocking the railroad tracks off of US Route 127 near the community of Dawn. Upon further investigation, Darke County Deputies found what appeared to be heavy storm damage in the form of downed large diameter tree limbs, power lines and a small structure blocking the roadway located in the 6000 block of Demming Road. Deputies also discovered a CSX train traveling westbound that had been forced to make an emergency stop due to debris from two large grain silos that were blocking the northbound tracks of the double railway passing through the community.
“I woke up to the sound of the storm and thought to myself, oh my God,” stated Marsha Paris a resident of Dawn who suffered damage in the storm. A gazebo in her back yard was destroyed. “I went to look out my bathroom window and the hail started to come down like I had never seen before in my life,” she continued. “I heard the wind, a loud roar and just like that, it was over. It happened that fast.”
According to a representative from CSX on the scene, heavy equipment was used by CSX crews to remove what was described as two 20,000 bushel grain bins from the railway, once part of the former Dawn Feed and Grain Company. The silos were lifted off their foundations and blown onto the tracks by what could only be described as “extreme high winds.” Rail traffic was able to pass through the area using the south side of the double tracks however the train stopped on the north side of the tracks had to back nearly 17 miles to a relay switch located in Russia to be able to continue its journey. Crews from the Ansonia Fire Department and CSX worked through the early morning hours of Friday to remove debris from both the railway and the roadway.
Prior to the discovery of the storm damage, a Special Weather Statement was issued by the National Weather Service at 10:28 p.m. lasting until 11 p.m. that warned residents of northeast Darke County of a strong thunderstorm indicated by radar near Ansonia moving southeast at 40 mph. Although a strong storm was noted, it is still unclear what type of weather event may have caused the severe storm damage.