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April 11-12, 1965
Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak

The tornado outbreak of April 11-12, 1965 (commonly known as the Palm Sunday outbreak) brought a significant amount of destruction to the midwestern United States. Six tornadoes occurred within the area now served by the National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio.

All of the text below is from the original April 1965 NWS Storm Data publication, presented as written. County lists and Fujita scale ratings were acquired from the Storm Prediction Center's severe weather database.
Palm Sunday Tornadoes

With the passage of a severe squall line across Ohio from northwest to southeast during the evening and night of April 11, at least 12 separate tornadoes struck within the state. The majority were the most destructive ever to visit their respective parts of the state. Because of their severity and exceptionally long paths, the loss of life was heavy, totaling 57 for the state. If it had not been that paths of destruction lay in rural areas, for the most part, the loss of life could have been made higher.

The first one crossed the Indiana line just south of Willshire, Ohio at about 9:15 PM EST followed within a few minutes by another in the northern part of Toledo. With progress southeastward, th e time of occurrence became later until the last one struck just south of Columbus shortly after midnight.

Details of each separate tornado are given below.



WILLSHIRE
Counties Affected: Blackford IN, Wells IN, Adams IN, Mercer OH, Van Wert OH

Rating: F4
Local Standard Time: 9:20 PM
Path Length: 20 miles
Path Width: 400 yards
Fatalities: 2
Injuries: Many
Estimated Property Damage: $500,000 to $5,000,000

This apparently was the same storm that a few minutes before had struck Berne, Ind., crossing the Ohio line about 4 miles south of Willshire. It maintained its identity for a distance in Ohio of about 20 miles. It traveled through farming country, passing just south of the towns of Willshire, Ohio City, and Venedocia. Where-ever it struck, destruction of homes and barns was virtually complete. A mother and small son were killed just south of Willshire as their home was demolished.



SHELBY COUNTY
Counties Affected: Shelby OH

Rating: F4
Local Standard Time: 10:00 PM
Path Length: 20 miles
Path Width: 300 yards
Fatalities: 3
Injuries: 50
Estimated Property Damage: $500,000 to $5,000,000

The 20-mile path of this tornado traversed almost the entire width of the county from a mile or two east of Ft. Loramie east northeastward to just north of Maplewood. Its course took it over open farming country, barely missing the communities of Ft. Loramie, Anna, Swanders, and Maplewood. It first appeared near the western end of Lake Loramie, then moved to near Swanders where violent winds tore 53 freight cars from the middle of a 68-unit train. It proceeded on across open country to near Maplewood. The first fatality occurred near Maplewood. A total of 40 homes were demolished, or heavily damaged, in the storm along with many barns and outbuildings.

At the same time a second funnel developed about 5 miles north of the main tornado. This one had a 4-5 mile path, ending at Lakeview where two people were injured as their house trailer was overturned.



EATON
Counties Affected: Preble OH

Rating: F1
Local Standard Time: 11:15 PM
Path Length: short
Path Width: narrow
Fatalities: 0
Injuries: 0
Estimated Property Damage: $5,000 to $50,000

A small, isolated funnel dipped from the clouds near Eaton, lifting the roof from the Producers Livestock Building. Other damage in the area was minor.



RADNOR
Counties Affected: Union OH, Delaware OH, Morrow OH

Rating: F2
Local Standard Time: 11:30 PM
Path Length: 25 miles
Path Width: 400 yards
Fatalities: 4
Injuries: 25
Estimated Property Damage: $500,000 to $5,000,000

This tornado is identified by a town name because all of the fatalities occurred in this community. The funnel first touched the ground in Union County near Magnetic Springs. From there it passed through Radnor and Westfield, finally lifting from the ground in Morrow County just north of Fulton. Heaviest propery damage was sustained as the storm passed oevr northwestern Delaware County. In Radnor several houses were heavily damaged, and 4 people were killed. In Westfield there was damage to 25 houses, 7 trailers, a church, and the township house. While there were no fatalities in this town, many people sustained injuries. This tornado also was accompanied by a second funnel which touched down briefly at Richwood 6 miles north of the main storm path where a house trailer was blown over.



CEDARVILLE
Counties Affected: Greene OH

Rating: F1
Local Standard Time: 11:50 PM
Path Length: short
Path Width: narrow
Fatalities: 0
Injuries: 0
Estimated Property Damage: $5,000 to $50,000

A small twister dipped down briefly within the city limits of Cedarville doing relatively minor damage to trees and roofs on Bridge, Chillicothe, and Main Streets.



ASHVILLE
Counties Affected: Pickaway OH, Fairfield OH, Perry OH

Rating: F1
Local Standard Time: 12:30 AM
Path Length: 28 miles
Path Width: 300 yards
Fatalities: 0
Injuries: 20
Estimated Property Damage: $500,000 to $5,000,000

This comparatively mild tornado was the last of 10 major storms which visited the northern half of Ohio during Palm Sunday evening and night. It occurred about 13 miles south of Columbus, and had an unusually long path. Touching down lightly near Darbyville, it did little damage until reaching the Scioto River. From that point on for a distance of 8 miles just north of Ohio Route 752 it maintained contact with the ground, doing extensive damage to farm buildings along the way. After crossing Ohio Route 674 it followed a hit-skip course north of Lancaster, finally lifting entirely near Somerset. At Dumontsville extensive damage was done to a dozen or more trailers in a sales lot, and finally two house trailers were damaged at Somerset. If this were all the work of a single funnel, its path from Darbyville to Somerset was more than 40 miles long.


Source:
Storm Data
April 1965
Volume 7 No. 4
Published 5/28/65

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