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APRIL 11, 1965

As April 11, 1965, wound to a conclusion, devastation from the Nation’s largest tornado outbreak moved from Indiana and Michigan into Ohio . Residents of Illinois , Wisconsin , Indiana and Michigan were able to catch their breath as storms moved out of their areas. Strong low pressure had intensified over Iowa that Sunday afternoon and moved into southern Michigan that evening. By dusk, those storms reached Ohio , where 55 residents died in tornadoes spawned in late hours.

Weather researchers later identified 18 separate tornado-producing systems in the six-state outbreak area, with six of those “tornado families” affecting Ohio . The first tornado to hit Ohio originated over eastern Indiana at about 8:20 p.m., and entered Mercer County , where two residents died as their farm home was leveled. That tornado traversed parts of Mercer and Van Wert counties in northwest Ohio.

Another cluster of storms dropped four tornadoes across northwest and north-central Ohio in about two and a half hours (9-11:30 p.m.). As tornadoes continued to develop, six people were killed near Cairo and seven near Bluffton.

At around 9:30 p.m., a tornado that eventually reached F4 intensity, touched down in Toledo -the only major city in Ohio hit during the outbreak- and carved a six-mile path of destruction. Near the end of its path, this tornado picked up a bus and tossed it back on its top, killing five passengers. The tornado killed several other people, including Erma Jean Lashaway, who had been Miss Toledo in 1937.

At 10:15 p.m., a tornado touched down southwest of Tiffin in Hancock County and followed a 20-mile path to Reed Township. At about 11 p.m., another twister touched down near Oberlin and went through three small towns before reaching the Cleveland suburb of Strongsville. The damage path was half a mile wide. All buildings in the community of Pittsfield were leveled by the tornado and every tree was broken off. About the only thing left standing in the town was a Civil War monument, but even the statue of Gen. Sherman was knocked off its pedestal.

Northern Delaware County and western Morrow County were hit just after 11 p.m., by a tornado that killed three people in the little town of Radnor . Just after midnight, another spate of tornadoes began along a 28-mile path near Ashville and Lancaster. Other tornadoes touched down at 11:30 in Preble County, just before midnight in Greene County and at about 1 a.m., on April 12 in Harrison County.

Media contact:

Pat Slattery, NOAA National Weather Service: (816) 891-8914



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  Page last modified: 11-Mar-2010 9:35 AM