Return to Xenia, Ohio Tornado Photos


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 Radar display."
"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."
"With the 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."




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