Enon and Mad River Township roads and homes did not escape the ravages of Mother Nature when severe thunderstorms hit the Miami Valley shortly after 4:00 p.m. on Friday.
Dark clouds and thunder could be seen and heard as the storm approached. Winds gusted to over 40 MPH leaving downed trees and power lines around the township. According to weather reports following the storm, the system is known as a Derecho. This type of storm is widespread, long-lived and violent. It is induced by straight-line winds that are associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms. The squall line usually takes the form of a bow echo on radar. The wind is sustained and increases in strength behind the “gust” front.
As drivers tried to make their way home after the storm had passed around 5:30, they found trying to detour more difficult than normal. Most of the major routes through the western half of Mad River Township were blocked by downed trees and power lines. A tree in the 5500 block of Rebert Pike was quickly moved by homeowners using a chain and tractor to allow traffic to move on. Rocky Point and Old Mill Roads were both blocked near the intersection due to well-established, mature trees bringing down utility lines and blocking both lanes of traffic. Fairfield Pike, east of Tecumseh Road, was also blocked by a large tree.
Homeowners in the northern part of the Green Meadows subdivision, along with the small shopping plaza that houses Subway and the Post Office, were without power starting around 4:30 p.m., just minutes after the storm began. Homeowners who were available, expressed concerns for the habitual loss of power to this part of the township when storms impact the area. The power company reportedly came through the subdivision two years ago cutting back and removing trees near power lines, declaring that the work was being done to prevent outages. Phone lines were also impacted by the storm. Following the storm, First Energy reported over 800 homes in Mad River Township were without power. The website provided the promise of restoration of service by late in the evening on Sunday.
Touring the township on Saturday, residents found road blocks at Fairfield and Rocky Point and Old Mill both north and south from Rocky Point Crews from the forestry division of First Energy were attempting to clear the downed trees so that crews could return electrical service. Homeowners were busy cleaning up debris in yards and using tarps to cover roofs damaged by the storm.
Local realtor Dee Harrison was spotted at a home on Rocky Point Road where a tree service was working to uncover her new car from the branches of a downed tree. According to Harrison, she had gone to the property to meet clients for a home tour around four o’clock. Within minutes the storm passed through the area, leaving them shocked to find the car crushed under the tree located near the parking pad. Many of the trees destroyed by the storm appear to have been twisted about three feet off of the ground, similar to damage seen in areas of tornado damage in other parts of the country.
By 3 p.m. on Sunday, electric company crews from as far away as Pennsylvania had begun to make progress in restoring service to the township. Only 143 homes remained without power. Just before 5 p.m. a second, perhaps more powerful storm, hit the area bringing high winds, heavy rain and lightning to pound the already struggling community, lasting over 30 minutes. In the wake of this storm, 1,778 township residents were reported to have lost power by 8 p.m. Two additional trees fell in the same spot, closing Rocky Point again just hours after a power crew had been working in the area. A large tree blocked Enon-Xenia and Conway Drive, however the most damage appeared to be the loss of several power poles along Dayton Road west of Security National Bank. Wires could be seen down along the road with some in the roadway.
Parts of Clark County were heavily damaged to the north and east of Mad River Township leaving work crews to begin the process anew. Residents just beginning to recover from the first storm will now have to deal with heading back to work and figuring out how to clean up the damage. The estimated time for restoring power changed from hours on Sunday to days on the First Energy website as of late Sunday evening.