LOWELLVILLE Residents, officials assess damage from tornado
Officials say the damage was four miles long.
By PAUL WHEATLEY
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
LOWELLVILLE -- Residents such as Michael and Jackie Griffith took time to tally the damage and count their blessings the day after a tornado swept through the village.
The Griffiths' garage at 105 Sixth St. was destroyed by what officials from the National Weather Service in Cleveland labeled an F-2 class tornado that hit the village around 2:45 p.m. Monday. Tornadoes are rated on a scale of one to five, five being the most dangerous.
The structure's cinder-block walls were collapsed on their sides, like white Legos. The roof sat in shambles a few yards away -- the wood skeleton of an attic Griffith recently built inside is the only piece intact. A new garage door was crumpled a few feet away.
All that remains is their silver 1973 Corvette, which had a broken rear window and some scratches but was otherwise unharmed. The Griffiths found their dog frightened, but alive, next to the car.
A neighbor's clock radio was sent through the window of Griffith's truck.
Windows that were just installed at their home were busted.
Griffith said everything else appeared to be fine.
Lucky to be late: But the Griffiths are most grateful that their four children arrived home from school late. They usually get dropped off in the driveway, where the tornado struck.
"They got here shortly after it happened," said Michael. "The Lord works in mysterious ways."
Despite being embarrassed by the mess, the Griffiths had to let it sit Tuesday as they waited for an insurance agent's appraisal. After the cleanup, they'd like to get a stress test done on their home.
"It's like a nightmare, to tell you the truth," he said. "I just want to wake up and have it all be back together."
Village Administrator Phillip Alfano said village vehicles and property came out of the storm in good shape; a citywide cleanup of downed trees and debris would probably take three or four days.
"I've never seen anything like it," said Alfano, who witnessed the storm from the village garage.
Assessing damage: National Weather Service officials toured Lowellville on Monday to determine the tornado's magnitude and the amount of damage.
Walter Duzzny, Mahoning County Emergency Management Agency director, said the storm brought 115 mph to 120 mph winds and left a path of damage 75 yards wide and four miles long.
"Winds that are 118 to 120 mph will knock you or me down," said Duzzny.
He said about 15 homes were damaged and estimated losses at $200,000. A local disaster team from the Home Builders Association was scheduled to visit the village Tuesday to conduct building assessments.
No injuries were reported.