RICHLAND COUNTY — The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado touched down Monday night when powerful thunderstorms roared through Richland County.

The strength and duration of the twister in a rural, southeast part of the county is still being determined, according to Richland County Emergency Management Agency Director Joe Petrycki.

“Right now, all we know is it was a tornado,” Petrycki said Wednesday afternoon. “The National Weather Service is doing further research to get into more specifics.”

He said it appears the tornado was likely not stronger than an EF1, classified by the NWS as “weak” with winds between 73 and 112 miles per hour.

Even an EF1 tornado can do moderate damage, peeling off roof surfaces, overturning mobile homes and moving autos off of roads, according to the NWS.

He said the tornado began in the area of Garver and Touby roads and then moved toward Newville and Bunker Hills roads near Ohio 95.

Petrycki said the county received numerous phone calls from residents in the area who believed a tornado had touched down.

When a damage assessment team with a drone arrived from Sandusky County to assist local officials, it was sent down to the area on Tuesday.

“They were out there every bit of four or five hours. They were out so long their batteries died,” he said.

“It took a little awhile to get the data downloaded so we could send it on to the National Weather Service,” he said. “They looked at it and told us it was a tornado. They have a lot more analysis to do.”

Petrycki said there was damage to a farm structure from the tornado, but it primarily went through fields and wooded areas.

More details are expected Thursday when Petrycki meets with county commissioners.

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