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TWISTED

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Two tornadoes touch down April 23

By Jamie Baker-Nantz

Bright, warm sunlight peeped through the clouds briefly on Easter Sunday as John and Carol Cuneo took advantage of a break in the rain showers to survey the mess at their Folsom Jonesville Road home.

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Twenty-four hours earlier, John Cuneo watched a tornado touch down in his side yard, veer around a barn and head for his house.

“I was standing on the back deck and I heard this woo, woo, woo sound and then I saw it sit down right there,” he said, pointing to the barn about 200 feet from his wooden, frame home.

“I said, ‘Let’s take cover,’ so we ran inside the house and could hear the wind banging things around,” he said.

The National Weather Service confirmed an EFI tornado touched down in Folsom and in Gardnersville near the Grant/Pendleton County line on April 23.

At the Cuneo’s, the strong winds, ranging from 86 to 110 miles per hour, blew out the side of the garage and toppled the garage door onto Cuneo’s car. The wind also knocked tree limbs down onto Cuneo’s truck sitting in front of the house.

“It was just seconds and then it was gone,” he said.

The twister bounced across the road and ripped underpinning from the mobile home of Cuneo’s neighbor.  

It traveled west on Warsaw Road and knocked the sides out of a barn.

Cuneo’s garage was completely destroyed, including many of his tools.

“I don’t even know how much money was in there in all of my tools,” he said.

Carol Cuneo wept softly as she looked at the corner of her home. The wind knocked the roof off the walls and with each rain, water poured into the living room.

“There’s a big crack running down the whole house,” she said.

The Cuneo’s did not have renter’s insurance on the home they were purchasing on a lease to own arrangement.
John said the couple had finally gotten back on their feet after he lost his factory job due to the economy.

“Things were just looking up for us and we were getting ahead a little, but now I don’t know,” said Carol.

Horse trapped in barn
Jerry Stith wasn’t home when a tornado ripped down Eckler Road in Dry Ridge, so he was surprised to come home and find the barn behind his brick home flattened.

“It was smashed,” he said. “I was a little surprised and shocked.”

What’s even more surprising was the fact that the barn collapsed on Stith’s four-year-old horse, Jackson and the horse survived.

“Believe it or not, he’s OK,” Stith said.

Jackson suffered from some cuts and scratches where he jumped from his stall and was caught on the timbers.

Stith had to use a chainsaw to free the horse from the rubble.

“He was definitely scared,” Stith said.

The winds scattered tin roofing and timbers 500 feet away from the barn. Some landed in the lake below Stith’s house.

Stith said he believes his three tractors, two bush hogs, wagons and other equipment that were inside the barn were not damaged despite the barn’s collapse, but he won’t know for sure until the rain stops and he can clean up the mess.

“I don’t think it’s a total loss, but can’t tell until we get in there,” he said.

Stith has lived on Eckler Road about 40 years and said the area often gets high winds, but nothing like those that ripped through Grant County on April 24.

He said that other storms had caused damage to his neighbor’s property, but he had been lucky up to this point.

“I guess it was the wrong time for me and the right time for the wind,” he said.

Because the barn was constructed from 8X8 timbers, Stith said the only way to clean up the debris will be to bring in a boom and lift it.

“They are so heavy,” he said. “There’s no way they can be lifted by hand so we’re going to have to bring in some equipment.”

Other damage
Further down Eckler Road, broken tree limbs littered front yards mixed amongst toys and garbage cans than were overturned,

Ricky Hopperton’s barn was destroyed when the wind ripped a large section of roof and a shed off.

A metal camper was also picked up from one yard and flung into the neighbor’s yard.

The camper was a total loss.

U.S. 25 closed

After the tornado and high winds whipped through Grant County, a stretch of U.S. 25 near Hill Crest Cemetery in Dry Ridge was closed for four hours as telephone and electric company employees worked to remove poles that had been snapped, as well as move fallen lines from the road way.

While emergency crews worked on the problem, traffic was diverted onto Dry Ridge Road.

The downed lines also caused a power outage along Broadway. Several businesses were without power.

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