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Ohio Ag News Headlines
Wooster, Luckier This Time, Sees Second Tornado in 7 Years
Ohio Ag Connection - 11/10/2017

Mother Nature, or Lady Luck, might seem to have it in for the historic Barnhart Rice Homestead in northeast Ohio.

The restored two-story sandstone block home, built in the 1820s and located on the Wooster campus of The Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), bore the brunt of the damage when a small tornado briefly touched down on the campus just before 6 p.m. on Nov. 5.

The house, used for campus events and unoccupied at the time, lost half its roof and suffered extensive water damage inside.

CFAES officials said several other buildings and greenhouses on the campus suffered moderate to light damage in the storm. Nearly 80 trees are down in the campus's Secrest Arboretum. No injuries were reported.

"We're thankful there was no damage to our residence halls and that all of our undergraduate and graduate students are safe," said Cathann A. Kress, Ohio State's vice president for agricultural administration and CFAES dean.

Located about 60 miles south of Cleveland, the campus was never closed because of the storm, and on Monday, classes and work resumed as normal.

Brian Hanna, CFAES's capital planning director, said the total cost of the damage remains to be determined. Damage assessments are still underway.

The campus is home to the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), which supports scientific studies by more than 600 faculty, staff, graduate students and visiting scholars, and the Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute (Ohio State ATI), a two-year degree-granting unit within CFAES with an enrollment of about 725 undergraduate students.

A little more than seven years ago, in September 2010, an EF-2 tornado struck and caused major damage to the northern, OARDC portion of the campus. Among other things, it damaged the Agricultural Engineering Building beyond repair and toppled about 2,000 trees, most of them in the arboretum. But it likewise caused no injuries. In that storm, the Barnhart Rice home lost most of its roof and saw major interior damage, but was repaired.

The National Weather Service said Sunday's tornado, spawned by a strong storm front that sped across northern Ohio, was an EF-1, the second weakest type of tornado on the Fujita scale. It was about 50 yards wide, had winds of 100 mph and was on the ground for a quarter of a mile. It was one of at least 10 tornadoes touching down that evening across northern Ohio and northwest Pennsylvania.

Dave Benfield, Ohio State's associate vice president for agricultural administration and director of the Wooster campus, said rain fell inside the partly deroofed Barnhart Rice home for about 12 hours after the twister, with some walls, floors and furnishings damaged because of it.

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