GOSHEN, Ohio -- An EF-2 tornado with 130 mph winds tore through the Cincinnati suburb of Goshen, Ohio Wednesday afternoon, injuring two people and damaging dozens of buildings, including the town’s fire and police station.
The twister was one of three triggered as part of a line of severe thunderstorms that raced through the region Wednesday afternoons. An EF-1 tornado touched down about 10 minutes later near Lake Lorelei and another EF-1 impacted areas around Loveland.
Christie Trent told FOX Weather her 10-year-old son was with her parents at their home in Goshen when the storm suddenly struck moments after they received a tornado alert.
"My mom said she felt the gust of wind through the window and they took cover," Trent said. "And not even 5 minutes after that, there were busted windows. And now it’s been more than that -- cars have been damaged, the trees are gone and the house across the street -- their garage and stuff got into my Dad’s yard. It’s been a mess."
She said her son is now pretty traumatized by the event.
"He said he was very scared and upset," Trent said, adding she’s lived in the neighborhood for over 20 years and this was the first time a tornado had caused damage to her family’s home.
Krissy Neal took video of the aftermath of the storm that showed damaged businesses in the heart of the town.
Neal said summer school was in session at a nearby campus, but an email from the Goshen Local School District said all students were safe and accounted for even though buildings sustained damage during the severe storms.
Firefighter among the injured
The tornado touched down just outside Goshen just after 3 p.m. and rapidly intensified as it came into town, according to the National Weather Service storm survey.
As the tornado crossed Main Street, it tore the roof off an insurance agency and collapsed some walls. A woman who was inside the business was taken to a local hospital with what were described as "non life-threatening injuries."
The twister crossed Highway 28 and smashed into a fire station, causing significant damage and minor injuries to a firefighter.
Six more homes lost their roofs as the tornado progressed down the street with other homes losing exterior walls. The town's high school and middle school sustained damage as well.
The survey team by that point had tracked tornado damage for 2.5 miles and said they were unable to proceed further due to heavy damage and blocked roads, but suggest the tornado's official path length will eventually be extended once that damage can be properly assessed.
Overall, over 150 homes and structures suffered damage, including substantial damage to the township’s fire and police stations, which has complicated response efforts.
The local government has declared a state of emergency, but city officials said even then they were a bit lucky with the storm.
"The blessing in this was the area that was hit was our more rural part of the township," Goshen Township Administrator Steve Pegram said. "Goshen very much has suburban component and a rural component so it definitely hit on our more rural area, so the houses were on larger lots, and it’s more dispersed. So we had less homes hit because of that, but the homes that were hit have significant damage."
Tornado’s formation was sudden
Pegram was asked if tornado sirens ever sounded as the tornado seemed to strike with little warning.
He said he couldn’t speak to the county’s sirens but "I can tell you the sirens at our fire station didn’t go off," Pegram said. "But the weather alert is how we get notified to activate the sirens and the storm hit about 30 seconds after the weather alert, so there probably wasn’t even enough time to push the button. And the building that the siren is on is the building that was hit and destroyed."
FOX Weather meteorologists confirmed there was little indication of a tornado forming until a few moments before it happened. The tornado warning was issued by the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, Ohio at 3:07 p.m. ET.
"By the next radar scan there was a clear (signal of a tornado) over Goshen," said FOX Weather’s Shane Brown. "The total time from warning to touchdown was only about 90 seconds."
Brown noted the previous Doppler radar scan a few minutes before was "unremarkable."
"This is one of those instances where (the NWS) provided as much lead time as they could in an incredibly fast developing tornado," Brown said.
A shelter has been set up for displaced storm victims at a nearby high school.
EF-1 Tornado hits Lake Lorelei
A second tornado touched down in Brown County about 10 minutes after the first hit Goshen, according to the National Weather Service.
Much of the county suffered tree damage as the line of thunderstorms brought widespread wind gusts of 70 mph. But the survey team found more significant wind damage indicative of a tornado near Lake Lorelei.
Many large trees were snapped or uprooted along the western shores of the lake, some of which fell on cars and homes. Meteorologists estimated the tornado was on the ground for 3.4 miles with a peak wind speed at 95 mph, giving the tornado a rating of EF-1.
PowerOutage.US reported more than 80,000 customers lost power in the Buckeye State and an additional 30,000 were without electricity in northern Kentucky due to the storms.