Multiple tornadoes were confirmed to have hit Highland County and its surrounding area last Friday, according to National Weather Service (NWS) in Wilmington.
According to the NWS, the two touchdowns in the county area were found west of Hillsboro and south of New Vienna. According to the Highland County Emergency Management Agency, as of Saturday at 8 a.m., 2,457 customers were still without power and no estimates were available for when power would be restored.
The NWS said the Hillsboro area tornado originated at 5:26 p.m. about six miles northwest of Mowrystown and ended around three miles south southeast of New Vienna at around 5:40 p.m. The NWS said this tornado was rated to be an EF1 with a maximum wind speed of 100 mph, a maximum path width of 400 yards and a path length of 14.4 miles.
The NWS report said that it touched down specifically in a field located southwest Certier Road, three miles northeast of Buford. The tornado impacted a property on the road where it caused significant damage to several barns, then generally moved in a north-northeast direction.
The tornado continued onto Ruble Cemetery Road and Hollowtown Road where tree damage and “minor structural damage” were reported, with more significant damage found at a couple of properties on S.R. 131. A property with an attached garage was “compromised” due to the wind, with the garage becoming detached from the house’s main structure and its walls mostly flattened. At other properties adjacent to this one, “significant roof and tree damage were seen.”
Damage was much sparser north of S.R. 131, as minor tree damage was noted on Dawson Road and north of Barr Cemetery Road, as well as a downed power pole on Sherry Road.
“Overall, while the tornado did travel through mostly open fields north of S.R. 131, it is likely that it weakened or briefly lifted during this time period,” the NWS report said.
Following that a more concentrated area of damage was found near the intersection of Danville/Russell Road and U.S. 50. Some tree damage was found on the west side of the roads, while on the east side more extensive damage was found.The Fairview Church of Christ on the south side of U.S. 50 was “heavily damaged” and had the “majority” of the east side of its roof removed. North of the church, an outbuilding sustained damage, with some adjacent trees taking significant damage and snapping.
North of U.S. 50, the damage became sparser, becoming more significant and widespread in Willettsville. There, tree and structural damage were “extensive,” as the location had multiple homes and outbuildings with roof damage, with one home having an attached garage collapse.
“Minor roof and tree damage was observed as the tornado turned slightly to the right, moving northeast,” the NWS report said. “A few properties had roof damage on Panhandle Road west of S.R. 73, and some minor tree damage was found near S.R. 73, where the tornado is believed to have dissipated.”
The NWS said the New Vienna area tornado first started at 5:35 p.m. about three miles south southwest of New Vienna and ended around three miles south of New Vienna at around 5:37 p.m. The NWS said this tornado was rated to be an EF0 tornado with a maximum wind speed of 80 mph, a maximum path width of 150 yards and a path length of 0.9 miles.
The NWS report said the tornado was “believed” to have touched down near Panhandle Road, west of Wolfe Road. Multiple properties sustained damage including a house on Panhandle Road that had siding damage on its east-facing wall and a shed behind another home that was “largely demolished” as its debris was “strewn about a quarter mile” into the field north-northwest away.
The NWS also said that a “few homes” sustained roof and siding damage, with one home taking siding damage on its east and north-facing walls. Minor tree damage was seen near a bend at Wolfe Road, but no other damage was found further to the north.
“This tornado is separate from the larger EF1 tornado that was confirmed in Highland County,” the NWS report said. “Both tornadoes were on the ground at the same time. At the time of touchdown for the tornado described in this statement, the larger tornado is believed to have been located approximately three miles to the south.”
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.