FORT LORAMIE — Strong winds ripped through Shelby County Wednesday evening, leaving behind damage to trees at Lake Loramie State Park.
“It took down trees. Some of them are uprooted, some of them just snapped. Most of the brunt of it looked like, from what I can see from the assessment through the park, is the beach and the campground area. I’m assuming it was straight-lined winds, I’m no meteorologist, but we definitely had some winds come through there,” Lake Loramie Park Manager Jason Whitman said.
According to Whitman, campers at Lake Loramie said they couldn’t see out of their campers during the storm, and the winds were beating up against their campers.
“It’s amazing what wind can do. A healthy, perfect tree, when you get that much wind, you can bet that it can take any of those healthy perfect trees down, just like that,” Whitman said.
Cleanup of the tree damage began Thursday morning and is expected to take a couple of days to get the bigger damage from split trees and fallen limbs cleaned up and cleared out.
“It takes multiple agencies to help with [cleanup], like ODOT, other parks nearby such as Grand Lakes St. Marys, volunteers, camp posts, our seasonal staff, all of our maintenance staff, and dredge staff that we have, as well as law enforcement agencies. Our effort all morning has been to clean up as much as we can. We’re making a pretty good dent in it, but we’ve still got a ways to go,” Whitman said.
Despite this, Whitman expects that, weather permitting, they’ll have the majority of the mess taken care of in the coming weeks, if not before then.
One injury was reported at Lake Loramie State Park—Adam Garlinger, 30, of Marengo, sustained injuries to his hip and back due to being trapped under a fallen tree. Fort Loramie Rescue Squad and Natural Resource officers were able to free Garlinger from the fallen tree. He was transported to Miami Valley Hospital and is currently in fair condition.
While some campers have to be relocated to a different campsite due to fallen trees and other damage, camping can resume as normal.
“We are moving full steam ahead. We got the power back on late last night, and other than having to adjust some sites where trees have been issues, we’re continuing as normal trying to keep the campground open, the beach, and the picnic areas open,” Whitman said.
Whitman added employees at Lake Loramie State Park keep an eye on the weather forecast and make sure to get the word out to their campers when severe weather is expected to come through the area, and advise them on what they can do to remain safe, such as pulling awnings in and staying inside while storms roll through.
“We’re always trying to advise our guests that information when we know a storm is coming, especially with tornadic weather, and knowing where to go around the park,” Whitman said.
According to Cheri Drinkwine, director of the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency, they received no calls regarding storm damage in Shelby County Wednesday. Drinkwine and others stayed close to the Fort Loramie area due to reports of tree damage throughout the park.
“I did drive around and take a look at a few things. We started out in the northern part of the county and went down 29, and ran into the area where it was closed where the power lines were down. We headed toward Fort Loramie and got some pictures of the trees that were down,” Drinkwine said.
Damage outside of Lake Loramie State Park included damage to a barn and downed power lines, including a top section of an electric pole on state Route 29 that was left hanging over the road due to being snapped in half by the storm. A section of state Route 29 was blocked off north of Sidney as a result, and hundreds of people in Shelby County were without power.
“I’m thankful that, as much damage as there was, for the most part people were fine, and buildings and things were unaffected,” Drinkwine said. “The damage [to the park] was there, but people were okay, that was the main thing.”