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Tornadoes leave trail of destruction across Ohio and Indiana

Authorities said an 81-year-old man died after a vehicle slammed into his home as apparent tornadoes pounded through western Ohio.

Storm damage in a residential neighbourhood in Vandalia, Ohio (John Minchillo/AP)
Storm damage in a residential neighbourhood in Vandalia, Ohio (John Minchillo/AP)

A rapid-fire line of apparent tornadoes has torn across Indiana and Ohio, packed so closely together that one crossed the path carved by another.

Authorities said an 81-year-old man died after a vehicle slammed into his home as apparent tornadoes pounded through western Ohio.

Celina mayor Jeff Hazel told reporters the man was among at least seven injured in the city some 80 miles north west of Dayton.

Mr Hazel said up to 40 homes were damaged on Monday night, with some houses moved off their foundations by the storms.

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Storm-damaged homes after a tornado passed through Brookville, Ohio (John Minchillo/AP)

A tally of storm reports posted online by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Centre shows that 14 suspected tornadoes touched down in Indiana, 10 in Colorado and nine in Ohio.

Six suspected tornadoes were reported in Iowa, five in Nebraska, four in Illinois, three in Minnesota, while one suspected tornado was reported in Idaho in the West.

At least half a dozen communities from eastern Indiana through to central Ohio suffered damage, according to the National Weather Service.

The storms damaged homes, blew out windows, toppled trees and left debris so thick that at one point, road crews had to use snowploughs to clear an interstate.

The National Weather Service said a “large and dangerous tornado” hit near Trotwood, Ohio, eight miles north west of Dayton.

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Tornado damage at the Westbrooke Village Apartment complex in Trotwood, Ohio (Doral Chenoweth III/The Columbus Dispatch via AP)

Several apartment buildings were damaged or destroyed, including the Westbrooke Village Apartment complex, where an aerial photo shows the roof blown off entirely.

Just before midnight, not 40 minutes after that tornado cut through, the weather service tweeted that another one was traversing its path, churning up debris densely enough to be seen on radar.

In Trotwood, mayor Mary McDonald reported “catastrophic damage” in the community of some 24,500 people.

Hara Arena, idled in recent years after decades as a popular sports and entertainment venue, sustained “a huge amount of damage”.

The mayor said five busloads of displaced residents have been taken to a church offering temporary shelter while the American Red Cross assesses needs.

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Damaged trailers after a tornado in the Northridge suburb of Dayton, Ohio (Marshall Gorby/WHIO-TV via AP)

Some of the heaviest hits were recorded in towns just outside Dayton.

In Vandalia, about 10 miles directly north of the city, Francis Dutmers and his wife were heading for the basement and safety on Monday night when the storm hit with “a very loud roar”.

“I just got down on all fours and covered my head with my hands,” said Mr Dutmers, who said the winds blew out windows around his house, filled rooms with storm debris and took down most of his trees.

But he and his wife were not injured and the house is still liveable, he said.

In Brookville, west of Dayton, the storm tore roofs off schools, destroyed a barn and heavily damaged houses.

In Montgomery County, which includes Dayton, Sheriff Rob Streck said many roads were impassable.

In Indiana, at least 75 homes were damaged in Pendleton and the nearby community of Huntsville, said Madison County Emergency Management spokesman Todd Harmeson.

No serious injuries were reported in the area or other parts of the state.

Residents in Pendleton, about 35 miles north east of Indianapolis, were being urged to remain in their homes because of dangers posed by fallen trees, downed power lines and utility poles that were also blocking roads.

The latest apparent tornadoes came two nights after a twister struck a motel and mobile home park in El Reno, Oklahoma, killing two people and injuring 29.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning that he spoke from Japan with Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt and told him that the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the “federal government are fully behind him and the great people of Oklahoma”.

PA

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