This e-mail was sent to me
by Don E. Halsey, Meteorologists
I viewed your collection of pictures
of the Xenia, Ohio tornado with interest.
I am one of the Meteorologists
that was on duty at the Vandalia Weather Service Office that fateful day.
"In those days, the NWS did not
deem it necessary to outfit each office with state of the art equipment such
as Doppler Radar. We relied on the old WSR-57 radar at Cincinnati, and
a piece of equipment called the "RaDiD", or " Radar Display Device."
This was nothing more than a Facsimile machine tied in to the Cincinnati
"Hook Echoes" were very
difficult to pick out on the display, but the Meteorologist-in-Charge,
Mr. Chester Rathfon, played a hunch that what he saw was a hook.
Even the WSO at Cincinnati couldn't determine with great accuracy
that a tornado echo was indeed near Xenia. Mr. Rathfon made the
decision to issue a warning, and I typed it on the teletype for
dissemination to media and emergency management. We called the
Greene Co. Sheriff by telephone, since that was the most expedient
method of dissemination at the time."
"My daughters still
lived in Xenia, and I remember calling them before sending the
warning on teletype. I remember the time on the TTY message was
1620EST. Fifteen minutes later, Xenia was decimated."
"I and Mr. Rathfon made
our first investigation of the path and damage 2 days after the tornado.
We took many pictures. The picture that amazed me the most was of an
automobile rolled up into a near perfect ball. A young lady from
Wilberforce drove directly into the path."
"I still owned
a house in Xenia-- on June Dr. in Laynewood. Half of the roof
was ripped off cleanly, and diagonally."
25th anniversary of the event coming up next week,
I may search my personal archives. I remember saving
pictures, teletype dispatches, and RADID facsimile pictures for a long time."
Site Created and Maintained by Homer G. Ramby