Tornado strikes Harlem Township


GALENA — The National Weather Service (NWS) in Wilmington, Ohio, has confirmed that an EF1 tornado hit far southeast Delaware County on Wednesday.

“Most of the damage was confined to homes along Fancher Road” in Harlem Township, the NWS said on Facebook. “Maximum winds were estimated to be 90 mph” with a maximum path width of 100 yards for about a mile from 5:26 to 5:28 p.m.

“The brief tornado quickly developed and likely reached the maximum intensity near the intersection of Fancher Road and State Route 605 South causing damage to a residence on the south side of Fancher Road,” stated the NWS summary. “Multiple homes on the south side of Fancher Road were also damaged, with damage ranging from blown out windows, garage door failures to moderate roof material loss. The tornado likely weakened as it crossed Fancher Road near Hatch Road and Kean Road, causing damage to trees in the area. The last known damage was found north of Fancher Road where an outbuilding lost most of its metal panels.”

The Harlem Township Division of Fire responded Wednesday to reports of storm damage.

“The extent of the damage was roughly eight homes,” the Division of Fire said in a Facebook post. “The damage was severe, but no one was injured during the storm … On a brighter side that truly shows the community of Harlem Township, one of the homeowners who had very severe storm damage told first responders, ‘All I did was make one call to my church. I had people stopping to see if I needed any help, and countless people here to help me today.’ The homeowner was incredibly appreciative of the support around him.”

An updated post read, “This is a very rare event in Harlem Township, and we are very thankful that everyone who had damage to their homes was physically safe. Rebuilding of the homes began late last night, and efforts are still ongoing today.

“Thank you to Delaware County Emergency Management, Delaware County Building Inspectors, and Delaware County, OH 911-DELCOMM for their assistance with the event that transpired yesterday.

“As a community, Harlem Township has always been known for helping out a neighbor in their time of need. This was proven yet again last night, and the people affected by the tornado are very grateful.”

The severe storms on Wednesday also produced an EF0 tornado in Champaign County. According to the NWS, EF1 tornadoes have winds of 86 to 110 mph. The scale is EF0 to EF5 (most severe). Hail was reported in Columbus, Dublin, Galena and Westerville; and a funnel cloud was spotted in Magnetic Springs.

“Severe thunderstorms moved into the region during the mid-afternoon hours of Wednesday, April 17th, 2024,” the NWS said. “The storms intensified across central Ohio through late afternoon and early evening, producing damaging wind and large hail, along with an EF0 and EF1 Tornado.”

Assistant Editor Gary Budzak photographs and reports on stories in eastern Delaware County and surrounding areas.

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