OHIO'S SECOND DEADLIEST TORNADO DAY:
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
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.
Pat Slattery, NOAA National Weather Service: (816) 891-8914